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Bette London

Bette London

  • Professor of English for the Department of English

PhD, University of California, Berkeley



Bette London's research has been largely concerned with questions of authorship, broadly conceived, in the context of 19th and 20th-century British writing, especially the novel. She has explored such issues as the cult of authorship surrounding modernist and feminist icons; the construction of voice as a contested site of cultural and aesthetic authority; modes of literary production; and reception history. She regularly engages debates within feminist, gender, and postcolonial theory, and explores the usefulness of these critical practices for the production of close textual readings. While much of her work has focused on highly canonical texts and authors, she has also been interested in authorial practices that have not generally been celebrated, sometimes not even recognized as such. This has led her to the non-canonical writings of some of the most canonized writers: the juvenilia of the Brontës, for example, or the automatic writing of W. B. and Georgie Yeats. And it has prompted her investigation of alternative writing practices, such as literary collaboration and mediumship—practices, she argues, that deserve a more prominent place in our understanding of the social construction of authorship and its literary history. She is currently developing a project on posthumous writing.