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Cindy A. Weinstein

Eli and Edythe Broad Professor of English
Cindy Weinstein
Contact information for Cindy A. Weinstein
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Administrative Assistant:
B.A., Brandeis University, 1982; Ph.D., University of California, 1989. Assistant Professor of Literature, Caltech, 1989-95; Associate Professor, 1995-2004; Associate Professor of English, 2004-05; Professor, 2005-16; Broad Professor, 2016-; Executive Officer, 2008-14; Vice Provost, 2014-18, 2019-21; Chief Diversity Officer, 2015-18, 2019-21.

Research Interests

Nineteenth-century American Literature and Culture; the Antebellum Period; the Fiction of Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe, and Bestselling Women Writers of the Time


Literature and History


Cindy Weinstein's work is informed by the notion that literature and the interpretive tools of literary criticism contribute to an understanding of the world outside of literature. Her first book, The Literature of Labor and the Labors of Literature: Allegory in Nineteenth-Century American Fiction (Cambridge University Press, 1995), focuses on how allegory—as a highly self-conscious literary mode of representation—intersects with and challenges prevailing ideas about the nature of an author's work and, more broadly, the meaning of work itself in nineteenth-century American society. Weinstein's second book, Family, Kinship, and Sympathy in Nineteenth-Century Literature (Cambridge, 2004), analyzes the literary notion of sympathy in relation to nineteenth-century ideals of sympathy, and specifically maternal love. While writing this book, Weinstein also edited The Cambridge Companion to Harriet Beecher Stowe (2004).

In addition to editing the book American Literature's Aesthetic Dimensions with Christopher Looby, Weinstein completed a third monograph, When Is Now? Time in American Literature. This new work, which spans the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, focuses on how narratives represent time. Of particular interest are texts that don't know what tense to use in telling their stories. The argument offers both a close, micro-reading of how vacillating tenses produce oddities in a text's form and structure and a macro-reading that explains why a text written at a particular moment in time might be unsure about the best tense to use in telling its story. Weinstein's articles have appeared in top journals in literary criticism, including American Literature, ELH, and Novel: A Forum on Fiction. Most recently, she has co-edited, with Robert S. Levine, the Norton Critical Edition of Herman Melville's Pierre: or, The Ambiguities.

weinstein book 2021 A Question of Time Weinstein Book Pierre

time-tense-and-american-literature-when-is-now-cambridge-studies-in-american-literature-and-culture-kindle-edition_27093593.jpg weinstein_front.jpg Concise Companion to American Fiction book cover

Family, Kinship, and Sympathy Harriet Beecher Stowe Weinstein%20-%20Labors%20of%20Lit.jpg


En 131. Poe's Afterlife. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. This course focuses on Edgar Allan Poe and the considerable influence his works have had on other writers. Authors as diverse as Charles Baudelaire, Jules Verne, Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov, John Barth, and Philip Roth have used Poe's stories as departure points for their own work. We shall begin by reading some of Poe's s classic short stories, including "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym," "The Purloined Letter," and others. We shall then explore how and why Poe's stories have been so important for authors, despite the fact that his reputation as a great American writer, unlike Hawthorne's and Melville's, for example, is a relatively recent phenomenon.

Selected Publications


  • Finding the Right Words: A Story of Literature, Grief, and the Brain, with Bruce L. Miller, MD (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021).
  • A Question of Time: American Literature from Colonial Encounter to Contemporary Fiction (Cambridge University Pres, 2018).
  • Pierre: Or, The Ambiguities, co-edited with Robert S. Levine (W. W. Norton & Company, 2017).
  • Time, Tense, and American Literature: When Is Now? (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
  • American Literature's Aesthetic Dimensions, co-edited and co-written introduction with Christopher Looby (Columbia University Press, 2012).
  • The Concise Companion to American Literature, 1900-1950, co-edited and co-written introduction with Peter Stoneley (Blackwell Press, 2008), 1-16.
  • Family, Kinship, and Sympathy in Nineteenth-Century American Literature, (Cambridge University Press, December 2004).
  • The Cambridge Companion to Harriet Beecher Stowe, editor (Cambridge University Press, 2004).
  • The Literature of Labor and the Labors of Literature: Allegory in Nineteenth Century American Fiction (Cambridge University Press, 1995).

Articles and Essays

  • "'What did you Mean?': The Language of Marriage in The Fatal Marriage and Family Doom" in E.D.E.N. Southworth:  Recovering a Nineteenth-Century Popular Novelist, ed. Melissa J. Homestead and Pamela T. Washington (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2013): 265-283.
  • "When is Now?: Poe's Aesthetics of Temporality" in American Literature's Aesthetic Dimensions, ed. Christopher Looby and Cindy Weinstein (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012): 197-218.
  • "Heaven's Tense: Narration in The Gates Ajar" in NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 45, no. 1 (spring 2012): 56-70.
  • "Sentimentalism," in The Cambridge History of the American Novel, ed. Leonard Cassuto (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 20122), 209-220.
  • "What did you Mean?: Marriage in Southworth" Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, 27, number 2 (2010), 43-60.
  • "1854:  The Lamplighter, Maria Cummins," in A New Literary History of America, ed. Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009), 302-306.
  • "We are Family: Melville's Pierre" reprinted in Herman Melville, edited and with an introduction by Harold Bloom (New York: Bloom's Literary Criticism, 2008): 227-248.
  • "When is Now?: Poe's Aesthetics of Temporality" Poe Studies, 41, number 1 (October 2008): 81-107.
  • Introduction to the Oxford Classical Edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (Oxford, 2007) ix-xxxii.
  • "The Slave Narrative and Sentimental Literature," in The Cambridge Companion to Slave Narratives, ed. Audrey Fisch (Cambridge University Press, 2007), 115-134.
  • "Artist at Work: Redburn, White-Jacket, Moby-Dick, and Pierre," in Blackwell Companion to Herman Melville, ed. Wyn Kelley (Blackwell, 2006), 378-392.
  • "Crane and the Body Count," in What Democracy Looks Like: A New Realism for a Post-Seattle World, ed. Cecelia Tichi and Amy Lang (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2006), 53-67.
  • "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "The Birth-mark," essays for American History through Literature, ed. Janet Gabler-Hover and Robert Sattelmeyer (New York: Scribner?s, 2006).
  • "From True Woman to New Woman to Virgin," in Henry Adams and the Need to Know, ed. William Merrill Decker and Earl N. Harbert (University of Virginia Press, 2005), 300-314.
  • "We are Family: Melville?s Pierre," Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 7, no. 1 (March, 2005): 19-40.
  • The Norton Critical Edition of The Scarlet Letter and Other Writings, ed. Leland Person (2005). Reprint from The Literature of Labor and the Labors of Literature: Allegory in Nineteenth-Century American Fiction, 82-86.
  • "Labor and Fiction," Blackwell Companion to American Fiction, ed. Shirley Samuels, Blackwell's (October 2004).
  • "Uncle Tom's Cabin and the South," in The Cambridge Companion to Harriet Beecher Stowe, Cambridge University Press (June 2004).
  • "How Many Others are there in the Other Half? Jacob Riis and the Tenement Population," Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 2002 Vol. 24 (2): 195-216.
  • "`A Sort of Adopted Daughter': Family Relations in The Lamplighter," ELH 68 (2001): 1023-1047.
  • "Melville, Labor, and the Discourses of Reception," The Cambridge Companion to Herman Melville, ed. Robert S. Levine, Cambridge University Press (1998): 202--223.
  • "From True Woman to New Woman: Henry Adams and Women," Henry Adams Newsletter 5, no. 2 (Fall 1997): 110.
  • "Melville at the Machine of Allegory," Praxis, (1990): 109127.
  • The Calm Before the Storm: Laboring through Mardi. American Literature 65 (1993): 239--253.
  • "The Invisible Hand Made Visible -- 'The Birth-mark,'" Nineteenth-Century Literature 48, no. 1 (1993): 44-73.
  • "Sentimentalism" in The Cambridge History of the American Novel, ed. Leonard Cassuto (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press).
  • "1854" in A New Literary History of American, ed. Werner Sollors and Greil Marcus (forthcoming, Harvard University Press).