Shoshana Milgram Knapp

Shoshana Milgram Knapp

Shoshana Milgram Knapp

Associate Professor


227 Shanks Hall
181 Turner St. NW
Blacksburg, VA 24061


(540) 231-8462


Department Membership



  • Victorian/Edwardian novelists (George Eliot, E. L. Voynich, Victoria Cross)
  • 19th-century Russian Fiction (Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov)
  • Ayn Rand (Life, Texts, Contexts)
  • Classical Narrative Cinema (Hawks, Hitchcock)
  • 19th-century French Fiction (Hugo)

Professional Activities

  • Modern Language Association
  • American Association, Teachers of Slavic/East European Languages
  • Educational Testing Service
  • Ayn Rand Institute and Archives
  • Nevil Shute Norway Foundation


  • Ph.D. Stanford University
  • B.A. Barnard College (Columbia University)
  • B.H.L. Jewish Theological Seminary

Research Interests

    Selected Publications

    “Ayn Rand: Reading, Writing, and Other Life Events.” A Companion to Ayn Rand. Edited by Allan Gotthelf and Greg Salmieri. Oxford, England: Blackwell, 2016. 22-45.

    “Re-Contextualizing Richard Wright’s The Outsider: Hugo, Dostoevsky, Max Eastman, and Ayn Rand.” Richard Wright in a Post-Racial Imaginary. Edited by Alice Craven, William Dow, and Yoko Nakamura. New York: Bloomsbury, 2014.  99-111.

    “`Nothing was ever created by two men’: Parallel Passages in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and John Steinbeck’s East of Eden.” John Steinbeck, Global Dimensions. Edited by Kyoko Ariki, Luchen Li, and Scott Pugh. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2007.  25-38.

    “The Lesson of Jean Valjean: Lolita and Les Misérables.” Nabokov Studies 9 (2005), 65-75. 

    Additional Information

    My main research focus has been nineteenth-century fiction—American, British, French, and Russian—with some attention to related twentieth-century writers. I also work with the Hebrew Bible, film, and non-fictional prose. In studying the responses of one writer to another, I have published on such subjects as Leo Tolstoy’s reading of George Eliot, George Eliot’s reading of Victor Hugo, Anton Chekhov’s reading of Herbert Spencer, Harold Pinter’s cinematic adaptation of a novel by John Fowles, and the impact of William James and Fyodor Dostoevsky on Ursula K. Le Guin. Some of my research is a kind of literary detection. I wrote the first scholarly articles about the mysterious “Victoria Cross” (whose dates—1868-1952—and actual name had never before been documented). My long-term study of the life of Ayn Rand up to 1957 (i.e., from her birth in St. Petersburg, Russia, to the publication of her final novel, Atlas Shrugged) involves the examination of texts, the exploration of the relationships between texts, and archival detective work regarding the facts and principles of her public and private life.