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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Christopher P. Wilson

english department

Christopher P. Wilson

Director of the English Department Literature Core

A.B., in English, Princeton University 1973
Ph.D., American Studies, Yale University 1979                    

Stokes Hall S417
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Mass. 02467

Phone: 617-552-3719
Fax: 617-552-4220
Personal website

Academic Profile

Specializes in American literature, U.S. print culture, and representations of crime and police power in U.S. cultural history.  Currently his work focuses on experimental narrative forms in classic and contemporary literary journalism.



  • Learning to Live with Crime: American Crime Narrative in the Neoconservative Turn.  Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2010.
  • Cop Knowledge: Police Power and Cultural Narrative in Twentieth Century America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.  
  • White Collar Fictions: Class and Social Representation in American Literature, 1885-1925. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992.
  • The Labor of Words: Literary Professionalism in the Progressive Era. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1985.

Articles in Scholarly Journals

  • "Orphans of Our Reading:  The Literary Journalism of Foster Care," forthcoming in College Literature
  • "A Rumor of Noir:  Calvin Trillin About Town(s)," in Journalism:  Theory, Practice, & Criticism, 1 (2016): 1-16.
  • "When Noir Meets Nonfiction," Twentieth-Century Literature 61:4 (December 2015): 484-510.
  • “Going to Ground(s):  The War Correspondent’s Memoir,” Journal of Transnational American Studies6:1 (2015): 1-23.
  • “Michael Lewis and the Business of Sport,” Raritan 43 (Fall 2014): 112-129.
  • “Finding Emma Larkin,” Literary Journalism Studies 6 (Fall 2014): 49-72.
  • "'Ridiculous Impingements of Normalcy': Home Fronts, Good Soldiers, and War Correspondents," War, Literature and the Arts 24 (Spring 2012): 1-25.
  • “’He fell just short of being news:’  Gatsby’s Tabloid Shadows,” American Literature, Volume 84, Number 1, March 2012:  119-149.
  • “The Underwater Narrative:  Joan Didion’s Miami,” Literary Journalism Studies 3 (Fall 2011): 9-29.
  • "Lost Boys and Recovered Classics: Literary and Social Memory in Lorenzo Carcaterra's Sleepers (1995)," Journal of American Studies 42 (2008): 107-31.
  • “Where’s Whitey?” Ethnic Criminality and the Problem of the Informant,” Crime, Law, and Social Change (March 2005):  175-198.
  • “Undercover: White Ethnicity and Police Exposé in the 1970s.” American Literature 77 (June 2005): 349-77.
  • “’Let’s Work out the Details:’ Putting Interrogation in Prime Time.” Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture 12 (Spring 2005): 47-64.
  • “The Time of the Crime: Cold Case Squads and American Social Memory.” Prospects: An Annual of American Cultural Studies 28 (2004): 497-518.
  • "Framing the Shooter: The Globe and the Streets,” Cultural Studies 11 (1997): 390-417.
  • "True and True(r) Crime: Cop Shops and Crime Scenes in the 1980s.” American Literary History 9 (Winter 1997): 718-43.
  • "Stephen Crane and the Police." American Quarterly 48 (June 1996): 273-315.
  • "Unleavened Bread: The Representation of Robert Grant." American Literary Realism 22 (Spring 1990): 17-35.
  • "Containing Multitudes: Realism, Historicism, American Studies." American Quarterly 41 (Sept. 1989): 466-495.
  • "Broadway Nights: John Reed and the City." Prospects 13 (1988): 273-94.
  • "Markets and Fictions: Howells' Infernal Juggle." American Literary Realism 20 (Spring 1988): 2-22.
  • "Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Steady Burghers: The Terrain of Herland." Women's Studies 12 (1986), 271-92. Republished in Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Woman and Her Work. Ed. Sheryl Meyering (U. Rochester 1989).
  • "Tempests and Teapots: Harriet Beecher Stowe's The Minister's Wooing" New England Quarterly, 58 (Dec. 1985), 554-577.
  • "Sinclair Lewis and the Passing of Capitalism." american studies, 24 (Fall 1983): 95-108
  • "'The Pace of Youth': Stephen Crane's Rhetoric of Amusement."  Journal of American Culture 6 (Summer 1983): 31-38.
  • "American Naturalism and the Problem of Sincerity," American Literature 54 (Dec. 1982): 511-527.
  • "The Era of the Reporter Reconsidered: The Case of Lincoln Steffens." Journal of Popular Culture 15 (Fall 1981): 41-49.

Articles in Public Journals

  • "The Making of a Best Seller, 1906" [Essay about Upton Sinclair], New York Times Book Review, Dec. 22, 1985, pp. 1, 25, 27.

Articles in Collections

  • “Rough Justice: Crime, Corruption, and Urban Governance,” in Christine Bold, ed. U.S. Popular Print Culture, 1860-1920 (Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • “Risk Management: Frank Abagnale, Jr. and the Shadowing of Pleasure,” in Bran Nicol, Patricia Pulham, Eugene McNulty, eds. Crime Culture: Figuring Criminality in Literature and Film. London & New York: Continuum, 2011.
  • “'The Secrets of the Master’s Deedbox': Class and American Fiction.” The Blackwell Companion to American Fiction. Ed. Robert Lamb and G.R. Thompson. Marlboro, MA.: Blackwell, 2005). 340-55.
  • "The Mulatto in the Iron Mask: Mark Twain and Alexandre Dumas." Reading Without Maps: Cultural Landmarks in a Post-Canonical Age. Ed. Christophe Den Tandt. Brussels:  PEI, 2005. 319-336.
  • "'Out There': Transnationalism and the Other America." Through the Looking Glass: American Studies in Transcultural Perspective. (Amsterdam: VU University Press, 1999). 244-257.
  • "Labor and Capital in Jennie Gerhardt." Dreiser's Jennie Gerhardt: New Essays on the Restored Text. Ed. James L. W. West III. Philadelphia: U. Penn Press, 1995. 103-114.
  • "Plotting the Border: Pancho Villa, John Reed, and Insurgent Mexico," in Cultures of U.S. Imperialism. Ed. Donald Pease and Amy Kaplan. Durham: Duke University Press, 1993.
  • "'Unlimn'd They Disappear': Recollecting Yonnondio:  From the Thirties." Ed. Richard W. Fox and T.J. Jackson Lears. The Power of Culture Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1993. 39-63.
  • "The Rhetoric of Consumption: Mass Market Magazines and the Demise of the Gentle Reader." The Culture of Consumption: Critical Essays in American History, 1880-1980. New York:  Pantheon, 1983). 39-64. also reprinted in Japanese edition by Keiso Shobo 1986).

Additional Professional Information

  • 2013 Susan Greenberg Research Prize for Literary Journalism Studies from the International Association of Literary Journalism Studies
  • A past Director of American Studies at Boston College, Professor Wilson has served on the editorial boards of American Literature and American Quarterly, and was associate editor of The Columbia History of the American Novel in 1993.
  • In 2006 he received a "Teaching with New Media" award from BC's Instructional Design and eteaching Services. 
  • In 2007 he received the Geoffrey A. Marshall Mentoring Award, from the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools.
  • In 1999 he received the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award from the Boston College chapter
  • In 1982 he received the M.L.A's Norman Forester Prize for the best essay in American Literature