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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Paul Lewis

english department

Paul Lewis


A.B., City College of New York
M.A., University of Manitoba
Ph.D., University of New Hampshire

Stokes Hall S449
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Mass. 02467

Phone: 617-552-3710
Fax: 617-552-4220

Academic Profile

Academic specializations: Literary Boston; American Humor Since 1980; American Literature: 1790-1860; Gothic Fiction.

Current Project

Forgotten Poems 1789-1820

Publications (selected)

  • Editor, The Citizen Poets of Boston: A Collection of Forgotten Poems, 1789—1820, University Press of New England, 2016.   NPR Sunday Edition    Boston Globe   
    WBUR Radio Boston   Boston Globe West
  • Cracking Up: American Humor in a Time of Conflict, The University of Chicago Press, 2006.
  • Comic Effects: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Humor in Literature, State University of New York Press, 1989.
  • Curator, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Frederick Douglass: Texts and Contexts, John J. Burns Library, Boston College, October 15, 2015–January 24, 2016.
  • Curator, Forgotten Chapters of Boston's Literary History, An exhibition at the Boston Public Library and Massachusetts Historical Society, March 28-July 30, 2012.
  • Curator, The Raven in the Frog Pond: Edgar Allan Poe and the City of Boston, Boston Public Library, December 17, 2009-March 31, 2010.
  • "Who Let 'The Pigs' Out? Or Why Edgar Allan Poe Wouldn't, or Couldn't, or Almost Certainly Didn't Write the Most Snarky American Poem of 1835," New England Quarterly, March 2015, 126–140.
  • Open Source with Christopher Lydon (WBUR) program on Poe and Boston, October 27, 2014.
  • Radio Boston (WBUR) interview on the Poe statue project, April 16, 2014.
  • “Longfellow’s Serenity and Poe’s Prediction: An Antebellum Turning Point,” New England Quarterly 86:1 (March 2012): 144-158. Received the James Gargano award for the best article on Poe published in 2012.
  • “The Raven in the Frog Pond: Edgar Allan Poe and the City of Boston,” in Seth C. Bruggeman, Ed., Born in the U.S.A.: Birth and Commemoration in American Public Memory, University of Massachusetts Press, Public History in Historical Perspective Series, 2012. (co-authored)
  • "The Great, the Good, and the Deliciously Awful: Why Boston Needs a Literary Trail," Boston Globe, April 1, 2012, K,12.
  • “What’s So Funny about a Dead Terrorist? Toward an Ethics of Humor for the Digital Age,” in A Decade of Dark Humor: Humor, Irony, and Post-9/11 Politics, Ted Gournelos and Viveca Greene, Eds. University of Mississippi Press, 2011.
  • "Quoth the Detective: Edgar Allan Poe’s Case against the Boston Literati," Boston Globe, March 6, 2011.
  • WGBH Radio interview on Poe and Boston, November 25, 2011.
  • Great Poe Debate, Free Library of Philadelphia, January 13, 2009 [Podcast]
  • Editor, “The Muhammad Cartoons and Humor Research” in HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 21-1 (2008): 1-46.
  • "(Mis)reading Borat: The Risks of Irony in the Digital Age, Electronic Journal of Communication 18:2, 3, & 4 (2008).
  • "Stephen Colbert, Character and Candidate" (op-ed), Providence Journal, October 31, 2007.
  • "Beyond Empathy: Sarah Silverman and the Limits of Comedy," Tikkun, September-October, 2007, 88-89.
  • "Painful Laughter: The Collapse of Humor in Woody Allen's Stardust Memories," reprinted in Charles L. P. Silet, ed., The Films of Woody Allen: Critical Essays, Scarecrow Press, 2006.
  • "And divided we laugh: the year in humor," Boston Globe, December 29, 2006.
  • "Meanwhile: Laughing all the way to the war," International Herald Tribune, December 8, 2006.
  • "Funny Thing About Elections," Philadelphia Inquirer, September 8, 2006.
  • "A 'Wild' and 'Homely' Narrative: Resisting Argument in 'The Black Cat'" Poe Studies/Dark Romanticism, 35 (2002):1-14.
  • "Hamlet: A Mature Reading," Washington Post, February 26, 1997.
  • "The Sweet Cycle: From Blossom to Berry to Jam," New York Times, September 23, 1992.
  • "Disaster as a Laughing Matter," Chicago Tribune, March 26, 1986.


Additional Professional Information

Lewis is the president of the Poe Studies Association, the curator of three exhibitions on literary Boston, and the neologist who coined such words as "Frankenfood" and "lackspertise." He served as chairman of the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston from its inception in 2010 through the installation of the Rocknak statue in 2014 and as a founding member of the editorial board of HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research


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