Recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and author of five scholarly books, a textbook, and a volume of poetry, Keen brings her love of literature to interdisciplinary empathy research, in which she is a recognized authority. A feminist narrative theorist, she co-edited the Oxford University Press journal, Contemporary Women’s Writing, significantly expanding its collection of interviews with women writers: https://academic.oup.com/cww/pages/interviews. Her best-known work is her 2007 book, Empathy and the Novel. Google Scholar rated Keen’s 2006 article, “A Theory of Narrative Empathy,” #1 Classic Paper of 2006 in Literature and Writing: https://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=list_classic_articles&hl=en&by=%202006&vq=hum_literaturewriting. Her 2014 book, Thomas Hardy’s Brains: Psychology, Neurology, and Hardy’s Imagination, was a finalist for the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s 2015 Christian Gauss Award. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0124-0415. She previously served as a Professor of English at Washington and Lee University and as Professor of Literature at Hamilton College, as well as in administrative roles: Dean of the College at Washington and Lee, VPAA and Dean of Faculty at Hamilton College, and briefly, as the 10th President of Scripps College.
- A.B. English Literature (Honors) and Studio Art, Brown University, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.
- A.M., Creative Writing, Brown University.
- Ph.D., English Language and Literature, Harvard University.
- Narrative empathy
- The novel in English
- Narrative theory
BooksEmpathy and Reading: Affect, Impact, and the Co-Creating Reader. Routledge, 2022.
Narrative Form, revised and expanded 2nd edition. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
Thomas Hardy’s Brains: Psychology, Neurology, and Hardy’s Imagination. The Theory and Interpretation of Narrative. Ohio State UP, 2014.
Empathy and the Novel. Oxford UP, 2007; paperback edition, 2010.
Narrative Form. Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
Romances of the Archive in Contemporary British Fiction. U of Toronto P, 2001; paperback, 2003.
Victorian Renovations of the Novel: Narrative Annexes and the Boundaries of Representation. Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture 15. Cambridge UP, 1998; paperback edition, 2005.
Edited journal issuesStyle special issue, co-editor with Monika Fludernik. Perspective and Interior Description before 1850, Style 48.4 (winter 2014).
Contemporary Women’s Writing, an Oxford University Press journal. Co-editor (2012-18).
Poetics Today, guest editor, Narrative and the Emotions (I). Poetics Today 32.1 (Spring 2011); Narrative and the Emotions (II). Poetics Today 32.2 (Summer 2011).
PoetryMilk Glass Mermaid. Lewis Clark P, 2007.
Individual poems published in: Agni; Ararat; ARTS Literary Anthology. A Selection of Works by ARTS Writing Awardees, 1980-1985; The Broadside; Chelsea; Clerestory; Dissonance: A Journal of Women’s Voices; The English Journal; The Graham House Review; The House Mountain Review; New & Selected 30th anniversary anthology of The Ohio Review; Notus: New Writing; The Ohio Review; Quarterly West; The Rhode Island Review; The Six Seasons Review; and Standing on the Verge.
Selected articles and essays“Narrative Empathy and the Challenge of the Unrelatable.” Special issue: Rethinking Empathy. Between Ethics and Aesthetics. Bollettino Filosofico 37 (December 2022). http://www.serena.unina.it/index.php/bolfilos/. Open access.
“Ancient Characters and Contemporary Readers.” Cognitive Narratology and New Testament Narratives: Investigating Methodology Through Characterization, ed. Jan Rüggemeier and Elizabeth Shively. Biblical Interpretation (Brill). Published online 12 Nov. 2021. https://doi.org/10.1163/15685152-29040003. Open access.
“Empathic Inaccuracy in Narrative Fiction.” Topoi 39.4 (Sept. 2020): 819-825. Published online 31 Jan. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11245-018-9622-9.
“Probable Impossibilities: Historical Romance Readers Talk Back.” A response to a target essay by James Phelan. Style 52. 1-2 (2018): 127-32.
“Narrative Empathy: A Universal Response to Fiction?” Literary Universals Project. Ed. Patrick Hogan.http://literary-universals.uconn.edu/2017/10/07/narrative-empathy-a-universal-response-to-fiction/. Published 7 Oct. 2017.
“Lifewriting and the Empathetic Circle.” Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies 42.2 (Sept. 2016): 9-26. DOI: https://doi.irg/10.6240/concentric.lit.2016.42.2.02
“Pivoting towards Empiricism: A Response to Fletcher and Monterosso.” Narrative 24.1 (January 2016): 104-11.
“Interior Description and Perspective in Deloney and Bunyan.” Narrative Perspectives and Interior Spaces in Literature Prior to 1850. Style 48.4 (winter 2014): 496-512.
“Introduction: Narrative Perspectives and Interior Spaces in Literature Prior to 1850,” co-authored with Monika Fludernik. Narrative Perspectives and Interior Spaces in Literature, Style 48.4 (winter 2014): 453-60.
“Empathy in Reading: Considerations of Gender and Ethnicity.” Focus on Reception and Reader Response. Anglistik: International Journal of English Studies 24. 2 (2013): 49-65.
“Response to Alan Palmer.” Style 45.2 (Summer 2011): 357-9.
“Readers’ Temperaments and Fictional Character.” New Literary History 42.2 (Spring 2011): 295-314.
“Empathetic Hardy: Bounded, Ambassadorial, and Broadcast Strategies of Narrative Empathy. ” Poetics Today 32.2 (2011): 349-89.
“Introduction: Narrative and the Emotions.” Poetics Today 32.1 (2011): 1-53.
“Fast Tracks to Narrative Empathy: Anthropomorphism and Dehumanization in Graphic Narratives.” SubStance #124. 40.1 (2011): 135-55.
“Strategic Empathizing: Techniques of Bounded, Ambassadorial, and Broadcast Narrative Empathy.” Deutsche Vierteljahrs Schrift 82.3 (Sept. 2008): 477-93.
“A Theory of Narrative Empathy.” Narrative 14.3 (October 2006): 207-36. “Quaker Dress, Sexuality, and the Domestication of Reform in the Victorian Novel.” Victorian Literature and Culture 30. 1 (2002): 211-36.
“Narrative Annexes in Charlotte Bronte’s Shirley.” The Journal of Narrative Technique 20. 2 (1990): 107-19.
“Inescapable Responsibility.” Special issue on poet Michael S. Harper. Callaloo 13.4 (1990): 815-16.
Selected chapters and contributions“Einfühlung and (E)motion.” Exhibition catalog. Sarah Oppenheimer: Sensitive Machine. Ed. Tracy Adler. The Wellin Museum of Art. Delmonico Books, 2022.
“Colonialism and Postcolonialism.” Routledge Companion to Literature and Emotion. Ed. Patrick Colm Hogan, Bradley Irish, and Lalita Pandit Hogan. Routledge, 2022.
“British Psychology in the Nineteenth-Century.” Routledge Companion to Victorian Literature. Ed. Talia Schaffer and Dennis Denisoff, 2019. 377-88.
“Affect and Empathy Studies.” Oxford Companion to Law and the Humanities. Ed. Simon Stern, Maksymilian Del Mar, and Bernadette Meyler, 2019. 181-97.
“Twenty-First-Century Fictional Experiments in Emotion and Cognition.” New Approaches to the Twenty-First Century Anglophone Novel. Ed. Sibylle Baumbach and Birgitt Neumann. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. 59-77.
“Digital Humanities in the Teaching of Narrative.” Teaching Narrative. Ed. Richard Jacobs. Teaching the New English. Palgrave, 2018. 139-154.
“Empathy Studies.” A Companion to Literary Theory. Ed. David Richter. John Wiley & Sons, 2018. 126-38.
“Narrative and the Embodied Reader.” The Edinburgh Companion to Narrative Theories. Ed. Zara Dinnen and Robyn Warhol. Edinburgh UP, 2018. 43-55.
“Novels and Readers.” The Cambridge Companion to the Novel. Ed. Eric Bulson. Cambridge UP, 2018. 138-51.
“Affective Trollope.” Routledge Research Companion to Trollope. Ed. Deborah Denenholz Morse, Margaret Marwick, and Mark Turner. Routledge, 2017. 166-76.
“Intersectional Narratology: Queer, Feminist, Cognitive, and Affective Crossings.” Narrative Theory Unbound: Queer and Feminist Interventions. Ed. Robyn Warhol and Susan S. Lanser. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2015. 123-46.
“Novel Reading and the Empathetic Angel of our Nature.” Rethinking Empathy through Literature. Ed. Meghan Marie Hammond and Sue J. Kim. London and NY: Routledge, 2014. 21-33.
“Human Rights Discourse and Universals of Cognition and Emotion.” The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Literary Studies. Ed. Lisa Zunshine. Oxford and NY: Oxford UP, 2014. 347-65.
“Narrative Empathy.” Handbook of Narratology, 2nd. ed., 2 vol. Ed. Peter Hühn, Jan Christoph Meister, and John Pier. Berlin: DeGruyter, 2014. Vol. 2. 521-30.
“Personnage et tempérament: l’empathie narrative et les theories du personage.” Empathie et Esthétique. Ed. Alexandre Gefen et Bernard Voillloux. Paris: Éditions Hermann, 2013. 207-28.
“Magical Values in Recent Romances of the Archive,” Literature, Libraries, and Archives. Ed. Sas Mays. Routledge, 2013. 115-29.
“Narrative Empathy.” The Living Handbook of Narratology. Ed. Peter Hühn, et al. Hamburg: Hamburg UP. Web, 2012.
“The Series Novel: A Dominant Form.” The Cambridge History of the English Novel. Ed. Robert Caserio and Clement C. Hawes. Cambridge UP, 2012. 724-39.
“‘Altruism’ Makes a Space for Empathy, 1852.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Ed. Dino Franco Felluga. http://www.branchcollective.org/?ps_articles=suzanne-keen-altruism-makes-a-space-for-empathy-1852 . Published 15 July 2012.
“Strategic Empathizing: Techniques of Bounded, Ambassadorial, and Broadcast Narrative Empathy.” Empathie und Erzählung. [Empathy and Narrative], ed. Claudia Breger and Fritz Breithaupt. Freiburg/Breisgau: Rombach, 2010.
“Narrative Empathy.” Toward a Cognitive Theory of Narrative Acts. Ed. Frederick Aldama. Austin: U of Texas P, 2010. 61-93.
“The Undergraduate Literature Classroom.” Teaching Narrative Theory. Eds. James Phelan, Brian McHale, and David Herman. MLA, 2010. 19-32.
“The Historical Turn in British Fiction.” A Concise Companion to Contemporary British Fiction. Ed. James English. Blackwell, 2006. 167-87.
“‘I cannot eat my words but I do’: Food, Body and Word in the Novels of Jeanette Winterson.” Scenes of the Apple: Food and the Female Body in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Women’s Writing. Ed. Tamar Heller and Patricia Moran. Feminist Theory and Criticism Series. SUNY P, 2003. 167-79.
Selected lectures and interviews of the past decade“How to Bring Storytelling into the Workplace, Part 3.” The Nexus Podcast, Suzanne Keen interviewed by Chris Nelson. https://thenexuspodcast.com/. Nexus Communications. 11 November 2022.
“Affective Resonance and Narrative Immersion.” Invited lecture. Institut für Philosophie, Universität Duisburg-Essen. Essen, Germany. May 2022.
“Relatable: Empathy, Novels, and Picky Readers.” Invited lecture. Empathy and its Boundaries colloquium. Mandel Scholion Center and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. December 2020; Centre for English Studies, SOAS University of London. June 2019; also at City of Asylum’s Alphabet City, Pittsburgh, PA. October 2018.
“Empathy and Immersion Reading (on paper and on screen).” Invited lecture. Carnegie Mellon University. October 2018; previously at Why the Humanities? Kent State University, Kent, Ohio. July 2015.
“Narrative Personal Distress.“ Plenary lecture. Narrating Emotions, Kultur und Sozialwissenschaftliche Facultät Philosophisches Seminar. Universität Luzern, Switzerland, April 2017.
“Recuperating Einfühlung for Narrative Empathy.” Keynote. The Role of Empathy and Emotion in Understanding Fiction, University of Göttingen Summer School. Göttingen, Germany. March 2017.
“Narrative and the Embodied Reader.” Keynote. The Role of Empathy and Emotion in Understanding Fiction, University of Göttingen Summer School. Göttingen, Germany. March 2017.
“Empathy and Einfühlung in Patrick Rothfuss’s The Slow Regard of Silent Things (2014).” The Objects of Empathy: Perspectives from Ethics, Aesthetics and Neuroscience. University of Stuttgart, Germany. July 2016.
“Strategic Empathizing.” Imagination and Legal Reasoning. Queen Mary University of London. June 2016.
“Lifewriting and the Empathetic Circle.” Life Writing and/as Empathy: A Symposium on Narrative Emotions. University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain. October 2015.
“Narrative Form and the Emotions.” Emotions, Empathy, and the Arts Colloquium, Helsinki, Finland. January 2015.
“Narrative Empathy: What’s Known and What’s Still to be Discovered.” Emotions, Empathy, and the Arts Colloquium, Helsinki, Finland. January 2015.
“Lost in a Book: Empathy and Immersion in Fiction.” Public lecture. Reykjavik, Iceland. April 2014.
“The Feeling of Reading.” Center for Cultural Analysis, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. October 2012.