Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Laura Tanner

english department

Laura Tanner


B.A., Colgate University
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Stokes Hall S425
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Mass. 02467

Phone: 617-552-2495
Fax: 617-552-4220

Academic Profile

Specializes in modernism, American fiction of the last century, and theories of the body. Recent courses include Contemporary American Women Writers, Literature and Social Change, American Dreams, Everyday Fictions, Bodies and Borders, and American Modernisms. She is currently at work on a book project on Marilynne Robinson’s fiction.

Publications (selected)


Selected Articles

  • “Concrete Sensations: Imagining Feeling in A Farewell to Arms.” Modern Fiction Studies 62.3 (Fall 2016): 444 – 461.
  • "Living Breast Cancer: The Art of Hollis Sigler" in Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, Spring 2014, Vol. 33, No. 1, 219-239.
  • “Holding on to 9/11: The Shifting Grounds of Materiality.” PMLA: Journal of the Modern Language Association of America. 127.1 (January 2012): 58-76.
  • "Uncomfortable Furniture: Inhabiting Domestic and Narrative Space in Marilynne Robinson's Home." Contemporary Women’s Writing. 2011; doi: 10.1093/cww/ vpr013.
  • "Intimate Geography: The Body, Race and Space in Nella Larsen's Quicksand.”
    Texas Studies in Literature and Language
    . 51-2 (Summer 2009): 179-202.
  • ’Looking Back from the Grave’: Sensory Perception and the Anticipation of Absence in Gilead.” Contemporary Literature. 48.2 (Summer 2007).
  • “Bodies in Waiting: Representations of Medical Waiting Rooms in Contemporary American Fiction.” American Literary History. 14.1 (Spring 2002): 115-130.
  • “Haunted Images: Photographic Representations of People with AIDS.”  Genre. 29.1-2 (Spring/Summer 1997): 135-159.
  • “Death-Watch: Terminal Illness and the Gaze in Sharon Olds’s The Father.” Mosaic: A journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature. 29.1 (Spring 1996): 103-122.
  • “Speaking with ‘Hands at our Throats’: The Struggle for Artistic Voice in The Blithedale Romance.” Studies in American Fiction 21.1 (Spring 1993): 1-19.
  • "Sweet Pain and Charred Bodies: Figuring Violence in The White Hotel.” Boundary 2: an international journal of literature and culture 18.2 (Summer 1991): 130-149.
  • "Reading Rape: Sanctuary and The Women of Brewster Place.” American Literature 62.4 (December 1990): 559-582.
  • Reprinted in Gloria Naylor: Critical Perspectives, Past and Present. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and K. Anthony Appiah. Cambridge: Amistad Press, 1993.
    Reprinted in Douze Lectures de Sanctuaire.  Ed. Andre Bleikasten. Rennes: PU de Rennes, 1995, 187-204.
  • Exposing the Sacred Juggle: Revolutionary Rhetoric in Robert Rogers’ Ponteach” (co-authored with J. Krasner). Early American Literature 24.1 (Spring 1989): 4-19.
  • Uncovering the Magical Disguise of Language: The Narrative Presence in Richard Wright’s Native Son.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 29.4 (Winter 1987): 412-431.
    Reprinted in Major Literary Characters: Bigger Thomas. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1990.
    Reprinted in Richard Wright: Critical Perspectives, Past and Present. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and K. Anthony Appiah.  Cambridge: Amistad Press, 1993.
  • “Self-Conscious Representation in the Slave Narrative.” Black American Literature Forum 21 (Winter 1987): 415-24.