Alfred Bendixen received his Ph.D in 1979 from the University of North Carolina and taught at Barnard College, California State University, Los Angeles, and Texas A&M University before joining the Princeton faculty in 2014. Much of his scholarship has been devoted to the recovery of 19th-century texts, particularly by women writers, and to the exploration of neglected genres, including the ghost story, detective fiction, science fiction, and travel writing. His teaching interests include the entire range of American literature as well as courses in science fiction, graphic narrative, and gender studies.
His early scholarship focused on the rediscovery of works by American women writers, resulting in several collections that have enlarged the literary canon, including Haunted Women(1985), which drew attention to the importance of the Gothic mode for American women writers; an edition of The Whole Family (1986, republished by Duke, 2001), a composite novel by twelve authors including Henry James and some of the most popular male and female writers of the time; the edition of Harriet Prescott Spofford (1989) for the American Women Writers series of Rutgers University Press; and Edith Wharton: New Critical Essays (1992; republished by Routledge, 2016). He was also the Associate Editor of the Continuum Encyclopedia of American Literature (1999). His most recent work focuses on the development of genre in a democratic society and includes several important edited and co-edited volumes: The Cambridge Companion to American Travel Writing (2009); the Blackwell volumes, A Companion to the American Short Story (2010) and A Companion to the American Novel, (2012); The Cambridge History of American Poetry, co-edited with Stephen Burt (2015); and most recently The Centrality of Crime Fiction in American Literary Culture (Routledge: 2017), co-edited with Olivia Carr Edenfield. He is currently writing the volume on American literary realism for the new Blackwell Literary History of the United States, completing a book on the Sources of Terror in American Culture, and beginning work on a new project which will explore the portrayal of birds in American literature.
Professor Bendixen may be best known as the founder of the American Literature Association, the most important scholarly organization in his field, which he continues to serve as Executive Director and as a frequent director of its national conferences.