University of Calgary

Faye Halpern

  • Associate Professor

Office Hours

via Zoom

Currently Teaching

Professional Description

Faye Halpern teaches and researches narrative theory and nineteenth-century American literature, including courses on unreliable narrators, narrative ethics, nineteenth-century American women writers, the North American slave narrative, and American literary realism. But in whatever English class she's teaching, she encourages students to develop their own interpretations of what they read by giving them the tools they'll need to do so. 

Her book, Sentimental Readers: The Rise, Fall, and Revival of a Disparaged Rhetoric (University of Iowa Press, 2013) puts nineteenth-century American sentimental women authors like Harriet Beecher Stowe and Louisa May Alcott in the context of the professional male orators of the time as a way to uncover the strange properties of sentimental rhetoric. The book then uses those strange properties to explore contemporary issues in writing pedagogy and literary criticism. She has also published on uncritical reading, unreliable narrators, and sympathy in such journals as College English, Narrative, PMLA and others.  

Her current project, funded by a SSHRC Insight grant, is entitled, "The Afterlife of Sympathy: Reading American Literary Realism in the Wake of Uncle Tom's Cabin." It explores what happens to sentimentality after the Civil War by examining how different American realist authors relied on sentimental rhetoric in their work, despite their own and later critics' claims to the contrary. The Afterlife of Sympathy also argues that when we tell the story of the rise of realism as the vanquishing of sentimentality, we mirror and reinforce a problematic story that English professors tell in their classroom: that students need to grow out of their own habits of sympathetic identification and become critical readers.  

Faye Halpern is also co-editor of the scholarly journal ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature and co-editor of the book series "Theory and Interpretation of Narrative" put out by Ohio State University Press. 


  • BA
    Harvard University
  • PhD
    Brown University
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