Abby Coykendall

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English Language and Literature

603J Pray-Harrold


[email protected]


  • Ph. D. English Literature, State University of New York at Buffalo, 2002
  • MA, English Literature, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1997 (qualifying exams in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British novel and critical theory)
  • BA, English Literature, Summa Cum Laude, University of Arizona, 1992 (Philosophy second major, Psychology minor)

Interests and Expertise

Abby Coykendall is professor of English language and literature at Eastern Michigan University specializing in narrative theory, sexuality and gender studies and eighteenth-century British literature. Her book collection entitled Heteronormativity in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture, co-edited with Ana de Freitas Boe, was published by Ashgate Press in 2015. Along with editing the international peer-reviewed journal JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory, she is currently working on a monograph entitled Queer Masculinities: Class Camp and the Queer Imaginary. Her article "Bodies Cinematic, Bodies Politic" won the Florence Howe award from the Modern Language Association in 2000 for outstanding feminist scholarship. In addition to teaching courses on eighteenth-century literature, she has offered special topics courses on film, sexuality, globalization, the gothic novel, Freud and Hitchcock and the figure of the cannibal in literature and popular culture.

From reviewers:

"Heteronormativity in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture is an important intervention, making critically visible both 'the heteronormative legacy of the eighteenth century as a historical period' and the continuing presence of heteronormativity in eighteenth-century studies. As the editors note, the chapters ... 'set out to reconfigure our sense of how gender and sexuality have become mapped onto space; how public and private have been carved up, and gendered and sexual bodies socially sanctioned; and how narrative conventions have been put in the service of affirming or subverting cultural orthodoxies about sex, gender, and sexuality.'"-- Caroline Gonda, St Catharine’s College, Cambridge University

"[The] collection maintains a continual, generative tension between the 1700s and the present day. These essays look backward, interrogating how present-day heteronormativity obviates accurate critical encounters with the 1700s; at the same time, they gesture forward, tracing how eighteenth-century heteronormativities shaped more modern institutions of sex, gender and sexuality. This transhistorical approach positions the volume as a considerable contribution both to eighteenth-century studies and to queer historiography writ large."---Kevin Bourque, Elon University


Graduate Courses
  • Literature 592 Globalization, Contact Zones and Cultures Plural
  • Literature 592 Feminist Thought (cross-listed with Women's and Gender Studies)
  • Literature 592 Gothic Novel
  • Literature 563 Novel Geographies (Eighteenth-Century Fiction Special Topics)
  • Literature 561 Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature
  • Literature 511 Literary Criticism
Undergraduate/Graduate Courses
  • Literature 480/592 Cannibalism, Consumerism and the Cultures of Cruelty (cross-listed with Women's and Gender Studies)
  • Literature 455/555 Sexualities in Literature and Culture (cross-listed with Women's and Gender Studies)
  • Literature 450/592 Major Authors: Freud and Hitchcock
  • Literature 400/500 Narrative in Literature and Film
  • Literature 420 Studies in the British Novel
  • Literature 315 Eighteenth-Century Literature
  • Literature 241 Global Images, Narrative Worlds
  • Women's and Gender Studies 202 Introduction to Gender and Sexuality
  • Literature 101 Imaginary Worlds: Introduction to Fiction
  • Literature 100 Introduction to Literature

See other courses taught on her personal webpage.

Publications and Presentations

Select Publications

  • JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory, editor
  • Queer Masculinities: Class Camp and the Queer Imaginary, book in progress
  • Heteronormativity in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture, book collection co-edited with Ana de Freitas Boe, Ashgate 2015.
  • "Queer Counterhistory and the Specter of Effeminacy," in Heteronormativity and the Eighteenth Century (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2015), 111–30.
  • "Towards a Queer Feminism; Or Feminist Theories and/as Queer Narrative Studies," Feminist/Queer Narrative Theory, ed. Susan S. Lanser and Robyn R. Warhol (Ohio State University Press, 2015).
  • "Chance Enlightenments, Choice Superstitions: Walpole's Historic Doubts and Enlightenment Historicism," Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 54.1 (Spring 2013): 53–70.
  • "Realism in Retrospect," two-volume special issue of JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory, co-edited with Audrey Jaffe 36.3 (Fall 2007) and 37.3 (Winter 2008).
  • "Bodies Cinematic, Bodies Politic: The 'Male' Gaze and the 'Female' Gothic in De Palma's Carrie" (reprint), Diversifying the Discourse: The Florence Howe Award for Feminist Scholarship, 1989–2004 (New York: Modern Language Association, 2006), 196–217.
  • "Gothic Genealogies, the Family Romance, and Clara Reeve's Old English Baron," special issue of Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Fiction and the Family / Genre romanesque et la famille 17.3 (April 2005): 443–80.