Shoshana Milgram Knapp
Department of English
227 Shanks Hall
181 Turner Street NW
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Shoshana Milgram Knapp is an associate professor in the Department of English. Her main research focus has been nineteenth-century fiction — American, British, French, and Russian — with some attention to related twentieth-century writers. She also works with the Hebrew Bible, film, and non-fictional prose.
In studying the responses of one writer to another, she has 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 Knapp’s research is a kind of literary detection. She wrote the first scholarly articles about the mysterious “Victoria Cross,” whose dates — 1868 to 1952 — and actual name had never before been documented.
Knapp’s 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.
- 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)
- Ph.D., Stanford University
- B.A., Barnard College (Columbia University)
- B.H.L., Jewish Theological Seminary
- American Name Society
- Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts
- Social Science History Association
- George Eliot Fellowship
- Lyrica Society for Word-Music Relations
- Modern Language Association
- American Association, Teachers of Slavic/East European Languages
- Educational Testing Service
- Ayn Rand Institute and Archives
- Nevil Shute Norway Foundation
- “Utopianism, History, Freedom and Nature: Shaw’s Theory of ‘Creative Evolution’ in Saint Joan.” Rivista Italiana di Filosofia Politica 3 (2022): 31-56. [with Anna Rita Gabellone]
“‘Capitalism’: When and How Ayn Rand Embraced the Term.” Illuminating Ayn Rand, edited by Tom Bowden and Elan Journo, Santa Ana, CA: Ayn Rand Institute Press, 2022, 13-32.
- “Here Be Dragons: George Eliot’s Self-Made Heroes.” Still Crazy about George Eliot 200 Years Later: A Joyful Celebration of Her Novels and Writing. Edited by Paul Davies. Goring, UK: 2019. 196-204.
- “Ayn Rand's Anthem: Self-Naming, Individualism, and Anonymity.” Names: A Journal of Onomastics 64.2 (June, 2016), 78-87.
- “The Life of Ayn Rand: Writing, Reading, and Related Life Events.” A Companion to Ayn Rand. Edited by Allan Gotthelf and Greg Salmieri. Oxford, England: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016. 22-45.
- “Nabokov’s Switzerlands: Discovery, Recover, and Ayn Rand’s Atlantis.” Nabokov Studies 13 (2014/2015). 67-78.
- “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.
- “Educating Kira and Leo: Alisa Rozenbaum’s Courses at the University of Petrograd.” Essays on Ayn Rand’s WE THE LIVING. Edited by Robert Mayhew. 2nd edition. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2012. 85-111.
- “Who Was John Galt?: The Creation of Ayn Rand’s Ultimate Ideal Man” and “The Spirit of Francisco d’Anconia: The Development of a Unique Characterization.” Essays on Ayn Rand’s ATLAS SHRUGGED. Edited by Robert Mayhew. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2009. 53-78, 79-103.
- “`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 Fountainhead from Notebook to Novel: The Composition of Ayn Rand’s First Ideal Man” and “Three Inspirations for the Ideal Man: Cyrus Paltons, Enjolras, and Cyrano de Bergerac.” Essays on Ayn Rand’s THE FOUNTAINHEAD. Edited by Robert Mayhew. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2006. 3-40, 177-99.
- “Anthem in Manuscript: Finding the Words” and “Anthem in the Context of Related Literary Works: `We are not like our brothers.’” Essays on Ayn Rand’s ANTHEM. Edited by Robert Mayhew. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2005. 3-23 and 119-71.
- “From Airtight to We the Living: The Drafts of Ayn Rand's First Novel” and “We the Living and Victor Hugo: Ayn Rand’s First Novel and the Novelist She Ranked First.” Essays on Ayn Rand’s WE THE LIVING. Edited by Robert Mayhew. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2004. 3-45, 223-56. Revised and republished in 2nd edition, 2012. 1-44, 245-78.
- "Difference and Sameness: Tarchetti's Fosca, Scola's Passione d'Amore, and Sondheim's Passion." Reading Stephen Sondheim: A Collection of Critical Essays. Edited by Sandor Goodhart. New York: Garland, 2000. 101-19.
- "Victoria Cross" and “Ethel Voynich.” Late Victorian and Edwardian Novelists, vol. 197 of Dictionary of Literary Biography series. Edited by George Johnson. Detroit/London: Gale Research, 1999. 79-87, 292-301.
- "`Too intensely French for my taste': Victor Hugo as Read by George Eliot and George Henry Lewes." George Eliot and Europe. Edited by John Rignall. Hants, England: Scolar Press, 1997. 190-209.
- "Revolutionary Androgyny in the Fiction of Victoria Cross." Seeing Double: Revisioning Edwardian and Modernist Literature. Edited by Carola M. Kaplan and Anne B. Simpson. New York: St. Martin's, 1996. 3-19.
- "Victoria Cross." British Short-Fiction Writers, 1880-1914: The Realist Tradition, vol. 135 of Dictionary of Literary Biography series. Edited by William B. Thesing. Detroit/London: Gale Research, 1993. 75-84.
- "Real Passion and the Reverence for Life: Sexuality and Anti-Vivisection in the Fiction of Victoria Cross." Rediscovering Forgotten Radicals: British Women Writers 1889-1939. Edited by Angela Ingram and Daphne Patai. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1993. 156-71.
- “Rising in Love: Monna Vanna as Magnificent Drama” (90-minute lecture). Objectivist Conferences, Austin (2021).
- “O. Henry: Austin’s Storyteller and America’s Spirit” (60-minute lecture). Objectivist Conferences, Austin (2021). Online recording of in-person event.
- “Dostoevsky, Ayn Rand, and the Drama of Ideas That Matter” (60-minute lecture). Objectivist Conferences, Austin (2021).
“Mickey Spillane, Crusader for Justice” (90-minute lecture). Objectivist Conferences, Washington, D.C. (2022).
- “Frank Lloyd Wright and The Fountainhead: The Full Story” (60-minute lecture). Objectivist Conferences, Newport Beach (2018). Online recording of in-person event.
- “Victor Hugo and You: The Art of Spiritual Splendor” (90-minute lecture). Objectivist Conferences, Cleveland (2019). Online recording of in-person event.
- “Ivo van Hove’s Theatrical Adaptation of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead” (panel discussion in Manhattan, following the performances of Toneelgroep’s Production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music). New York (2017) Online recording of the in-person event.
- “Literature: A Window to the Soul” (two-person presentation and Q & A). London Ayn Rand Centre, London (2020). Online presentation.
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