Joshua Kotin is Associate Professor of English at Princeton University. His research and teaching focus on poetry and poetics, global modernism, and American literature. He received his BA from McGill University in 2002 and his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2011. From 2005 to 2008, he was editor of Chicago Review.
He is the author of Utopias of One (Princeton University Press, 2018). The book examines the connection between aesthetic and personal autonomy from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. (Chapters focus on Henry David Thoreau, W.E.B. Du Bois, Osip and Nadezhda Mandel’shtam, Anna Akhmatova, Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, and J.H. Prynne.) A concern throughout is how utopian desire survives the failure of utopian experiments. Kotin is also the Director of the Shakespeare and Company Project (2014–present), a digital humanities initiative based on the records of Sylvia Beach’s bookshop and lending library in interwar Paris.
Currently, he is writing three books. LeRoi Jones in Harlem focuses on Amiri Baraka’s life in 1965, the year he co-founded the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School. The book provides a new literary history of New York in the 1960s, and intervenes in debates about art and politics. Articles connected to the book have appeared in Critical Inquiry (“Poems That Kill”), American Literary History (“Funding the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School”), and Post45 (“A Friend, an Enemy”). A second book, Rejection Letters, presents a history and theory of editorial judgment. Part one examines publisher archives to excavate a lost canon of American literature. Part two discusses the importance of negative judgments of value for aesthetics. Part three interviews authors and editors about their experiences of rejection. A third book, Reading at Shakespeare and Company, investigates how what we read influences the lives we lead. Chapters discuss the reading practices of members of the Shakespeare and Company lending library, including Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Dolly Wilde, Walter Benjamin, and Aimé Césaire.
Kotin is also the author of shorter pieces on twentieth- and twenty-first century writers: John Ashbery, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost and Wallace Stevens, Peter Gizzi, Ernest Hemingway, Devin Johnston, Phillip Lamantia, J.H. Prynne, Stephen Rodefer, Ed Sanders, James Schuyler (forthcoming), Keston Sutherland, Genya Turovskaya, Helen Vendler, and Anne Waldman. Recently, he has co-edited special issues for the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies on digital archives and avant-garde periodicals and for Post45 on contemporary literature and culture, How to Be Now. Currently, he is co-editing a feature about Shakespeare and Company that will be co-published by Journal of Cultural Analytics and Modernism/modernity in 2023.
Kotin’s recent undergraduate courses include “Language to Be Looked At,” “Contemporary Poetry,” “James Joyce’s Ulysses,” and “Melville and His Readers.” Recent graduate courses include “1922,” “Paris, Modern,” “Postwar New York,” “The Avant-Garde,” and “Ezra Pound and Modern Poetry.” At Princeton, Kotin is an affiliated faculty member in the Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (REEES); and an associated faculty member at the University Center for Human Values (UCHV). He also works with Special Collections at Firestone Library to develop collections of little magazines and concrete and visual poetry.
Utopias of One (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018). [JSTOR]
Shakespeare and Company Project Dataset: Lending Library Members, version 1.2 (Jan. 2021). Co-authors: Rebecca Sutton Koeser et al.
Shakespeare and Company Project Dataset: Lending Library Books, version 1.2 (Jan. 2021). Co-authors: Rebecca Sutton Koeser et al.
Shakespeare and Company Project Dataset: Lending Library Events, version 1.2 (Jan. 2021). Co-authors: Rebecca Sutton Koeser et al.
“Funding the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School,” American Literary History (ALH) 34.4 (2022): 1358–1388.
“Shakespeare and Company Project Data Sets,” Journal of Cultural Analytics 2 (Feb. 2022): 1–35. Co-author: Rebecca Sutton Koeser.
“Poems That Kill,” Critical Inquiry 47.3 (Apr. 2021): 456–476.
“Shakespeare and Company: Publisher,” Publishing Modernist Fiction and Poetry, ed. Lise Jaillant (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019), 109–134.
“The Fuck You Press Cantos: A Census,” RealityStudio (Sept. 2018).
“The Cantos and Pedagogy,” Modernist Cultures 12.3 (2017): 345–390, published with critical responses from Charles Altieri, Michael Coyle and Steven Yao, Alan Golding, and Marjorie Perloff. Co-author: Michael Kindellan.
“Osip and Nadezhda Mandel’shtam and Soviet Utopianism,” Modernism/modernity 24.1 (2017): 161–183.