Dr. Rebecca Rainof is an Associate Professor of English specializing in Victorian literature. She joined the faculty in 2008 after completing her doctorate at Princeton University. Dr. Rainof’s research interests include the relation between literature and the visual arts, religion and British literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, novel and narrative theory, as well as gender and authorship. She has written on representations of midlife in the Victorian era, on art and literature, and on how theological concepts shape formal literary developments.
Currently, these interests are explored in two books, either completed or in progress. Her first book, Fictions of Maturity: Plot, Purgatory, and the Victorian Novel of Adulthood (Ohio UP, 2015) charts an alternative novelistic tradition, novels about midlife, to challenge a longstanding bias towards the bildungsroman in theories of plot and novel criticism. Her second book-in-progress, Van Gogh and the Victorians explores how Vincent van Gogh responded to Golden Age Dutch painters by way of an unexpected intermediary source: his favorite Victorian writers, George Eliot, Dickens, and Carlyle, who were also seeking to reinterpret and revive the Dutch masters in prose.
Courses: At the undergraduate level, Dr. Rainof teaches the department’s required core course on the history of the novel, Intensive Readings: Narrative (Eng 333), as well as electives including Jane Austen (Eng 379), Film and Fiction: 19th-Century Adaptations (Eng/Media 377), 19th-Century British Literature (Eng 373), and 20th-Century British Literature (Eng 374)
For graduate students, Dr. Rainof teaches advanced seminars including Narrative Middles: The Novel and Development (Eng 852) and Women Writers and the Critical Tradition (Eng 882). She also teaches the department’s required course for incoming graduate students, Introduction to the Profession of Letters (Eng 721).
Fictions of Maturity: Plot, Purgatory, and the Victorian Novel of Adulthood (Ohio UP, 2015)
“George Eliot’s Screaming Statues, Laocoon and the Pre-Raphaelites,” SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 (Autumn 2014)
“Victorians in Purgatory: Newman’s Poetics of Conciliation and the Afterlife of the Oxford Movement,” Victorian Poetry (Summer 2013)
“Dickensian Portraiture in a Dutch Context: Van Gogh, Hard Times and The Graphic’s
“Heads of the People” Series, North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA), Honolulu, July 2015
“Dutch Art Redux: Van Gogh and George Eliot’s Silas Marner,” Invited Talk, English Department, Princeton University, February 2014
“Tracing Evidence, Trace as Evidence: Golden Age Dutch Painting, Unfinished Art, and the Pastoral Sketches of George Eliot and Vincent van Gogh,” NAVSA, Pasadena 2013
“Delayed Beginnings and Arrested Developments: How to Jump Start a Dickens Novel,”Modern Language Association (MLA), Seattle 2012
“Victorians in Purgatory: The Poetics of Conciliation, Or Why The Dream of Gerontius was so Popular,” Northeast Victorian Studies Association (NVSA), Princeton, NJ, April 2010
Advising and Administration
Dr. Rainof is the faculty advisor for graduate students specializing in 19th-century British literature and advises students interested in modernism and novel studies. She has served as the English department’s Direct of Graduate Studies and Director of Job Placement for graduate students. She organizes the Alumni in the Profession speaker series for the department.
Dr. Rainof’s research has been supported by fellowships and awards including the Curran Fellowship from the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, faculty grants from the Catholic University of America, the Josephine De Kármán Fellowship, the Harold W. Dodds Honorific Fellowship at Princeton University, and the Donald and Mary Hyde Fellowship for research in the United Kingdom.