Greg Chase

photo (6)_Chase

My dissertation, “‘The Silent Soliloquy of Others’: Language and Acknowledgment in Modernist Fiction, 1910-1952,” argues that modernist fiction displays sustained interest in the epistemological stance of acknowledgment, a term I adopt from Stanley Cavell. Scholars have often understood modernist novels as what Philip Weinstein calls works of “unknowing,” which respond to disruptive historical events by challenging the formal and epistemological assumptions of previous literary and intellectual paradigms. My own project turns to the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein, a contemporary of the modernists and perhaps the seminal figure in analytical philosophy’s so-called “linguistic turn.” Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language enables a productive new approach to the epistemological issues modernist fiction foregrounds. According to Cavell’s interpretation of his work, Wittgenstein endeavors to shift the focus of philosophical inquiry away from “knowledge” and toward “acknowledgment”; while Wittgenstein readily admits that we cannot know with certainty the inner experiences of other people, he emphasizes that language nonetheless provides a crucial tool for acknowledging and responding to others’ pain.
In my dissertation, I discuss novels by Forster, Ford, Woolf, Larsen, Faulkner, Wright, and Ellison, examining how these writers represent the inner lives of characters who struggle to gain acknowledgment in the face of oppressive social circumstances. I contend that these formally experimental representations of interiority attempt to capture what Wittgenstein calls “the silent soliloquy of others.” These works explore and test the linguistic limits of knowledge, effecting acknowledgment between characters and readers. You can view my CV here.

Ph.D., English and American literature, Boston University, in progress
M.A., English and American literature, Boston University, 2013
B.A., Yale University


Peer-reviewed journal articles:

“Acknowledging Addie’s Pain: Language, Wittgenstein, and As I Lay Dying.” Twentieth-Century Literature 63.2 (June 2017): 163-90.

“‘Ah just cant quit thinking’: Modernist Narrative Voice in Faulkner and Ellison.” Arizona Quarterly 71.3 (Autumn 2015): 111-37.

Book chapters:

“‘Speaking no language which the other understood’: The Search for Acknowledgment in William Faulkner’s South.” Finite, Singular, Exposed: New Perspectives on Community and the Modernist Subject. Ed. Gerardo Rodríguez-Salas, María J. López, and Paula Martín Salván. Routledge, forthcoming. 164-80.

Courses taught:

As instructor of record:

WR100 Literature in Crisis, 1918-30, Fall 2017.
EN120: American Fiction: Race and Representation, Fall 2015
WR150: “I have such doubts!”: Literary Examinations of Certainty and Uncertainty, Spring 2015
WR100: “I have such doubts!”: Literary Examinations of Certainty and Uncertainty, Fall 2014
EN125: Readings in Modern Literature, Spring 2014
EN125: Readings in Modern Literature, Fall 2013

As TA:
EN344 Modern British Fiction, Spring 2017
EN546: The Modern American Novel, Spring 2016