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Kristine L. Haugen

Professor of English
Kristine Haugen headshot
Contact information for Kristine L. Haugen
Contact Method Value
Mail Code: MC 101-40
Phone: 626-395-1774
Administrative Assistant:
B.A., University of Chicago, 1996; M.A., Princeton University, 1998; Ph.D., 2001. Assistant Professor, Caltech, 2005-11; Professor, 2011-.

Research Interests

British literature of the 17th and 18th centuries; history of literary criticism; humanism


Intellectual History; Literature and History


Kristine Haugen's research has ranged from Alexander Pope's satires to scholarship and disorder in the English universities to prison writing in 15th-century Rome.  She has published extensively on the history of reading poetry, literary humanism, and the afterlife of classical antiquity in Britain and in Europe.  She is currently completing books on the rise of the discipline of poetic meter in 18th-century England and on intellectuals in prison from Marco Polo to Nelson Mandela.

Before arriving at Caltech, Haugen was assistant professor at the University of Washington in 2004-2005 and Frances Yates Fellow at the Warburg Institute in London in 2001-2004.  She has received awards for the best articles published annually in Renaissance Quarterly (2007), the Sixteenth Century Journal (1999), and the Journal of the History of Ideas (1998).


En 118.  Classical Mythology.  Poetry written by experts for an audience of experts; we investigate an entire literary world of repetition, competition, and information overload.

En 119.  Displacement.  Stories of people on the move and out of place, from Aeneas fleeing ancient Troy to Art Spiegelman's graphic novel about the Holocaust.

En 121.  Literature and Its Readers.  How did generations of Europeans react when they were told that Homer's Iliad, the violent and chaotic epic about the Trojan War, was one of the greatest poems in history?

En 122.  Early History of the Novel.  It took many centuries for novels to become "realistic."  What did they look like before, and how committed are we to realistic storytelling today?

Hum/En 22.  Inequality.  A writing-intensive course about gods and humans, kings and subjects, visions of race, people and machines.


En 118. Classical Mythology. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Why did the Greeks and Romans remain fascinated with the same stories of gods and demigods for more than a thousand years? On the other hand, how did they adapt those stories to fit new times and places? Starting with the earliest Greek poems and advancing through classical Athens, Hellenistic Alexandria, and Augustan Rome, we consider the history of writing poetry as a history of reading the past; the course also serves as an excellent introduction to ancient literary history at large. Readings may include Homer's 'Odyssey,' Hesiod, Aeschylus, Euripides, Apollonius Rhodius, Ovid, and Seneca. Not offered 2017-18.
En 119. Displacement. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. The literary fascination with people who change places, temporarily or permanently, over a short distance or across the globe, in works dating from our lifetimes and from the recent and the remote past. How readily can such stories be compared, how easy is it to apply traditional categories of literary evaluation, and, in the contemporary world, how have poetry and prose fictions about migration survived alongside other media? 21st-century works will receive considerable attention; other readings may include Virgil, Swift, Flaubert, Mann, Achebe, Nabokov, Didion, Morrison. Not offered 2017-18.
En 121. Literature and Its Readers. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. The course will investigate readers who have made adventurous uses of their favorite works of literature, from Greek antiquity through the 20th century. Sometimes those readers count, at least temporarily, as literary critics, as when the philosopher Aristotle made Sophocles' Oedipus the King the central model in his wildly successful essay on the literary form of tragedy. Other readers have been even more experimental, as when Sigmund Freud, studying the same play, made the "Oedipus complex" a meeting point for his theory of psychology, his vision of human societies, and his fascination with literary narrative. It will discuss some basic questions about the phenomenon of literary reading. Does a book have a single meaning? Can it be used rightly or wrongly? Not offered 2017-18.
En 122. Early History of the Novel. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. The realistic novel is a surprising, even experimental moment in the history of fiction. How and why did daily life become a legitimate topic for narrative in the 18th century? The realistic turn clearly attracted new classes of readers, but did it also make the novel a better vehicle for commenting on society at large? Why were the formal conventions of realistic writing so tightly circumscribed? Authors may include Cervantes, Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Walpole, Boswell, and Austen. Not offered 2017-18.
Hum/En 22. Inequality. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Throughout the history of Europe, America, and beyond, poets and philosophers have asked hard questions about unequal relationships, whether between kings and subjects, gods and humans, men and women, rich and poor, or machines and people. Our authors take no single point of view; our goal is to analyze sophisticated and often surprising arguments and to enter new cultural worlds. Readings may include Ovid, Milton, Sei Shonagon, Machiavelli, Rousseau, and Alexievich. Instructor: Haugen.