Joshua Kotin

Joshua Kotin
Joshua Kotin
Associate Professor | Director of Graduate Studies
53 McCosh Hall
(609) 258-6846
Office Hours: 
Fall 2021: Tuesdays 2:30 - 4:30 p.m., and by appointment.

I am Associate Professor of English at Princeton University. I am also 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). I direct of the Shakespeare and Company Project.

My research and teaching focus on American literature, modernism, and poetry and poetics. I received my BA from McGill University in 2002 and my PhD from the University of Chicago in 2011. From 2005 to 2008, I was editor of Chicago Review.

My first book, Utopias of One (Princeton University Press, 2018), examines the connection between aesthetic and personal autonomy in three contexts. Part one focuses on the United States, and Henry David Thoreau and W.E.B. Du Bois; part two on the Soviet Union, and Osip and Nadezhda Mandel’shtam, and Anna Akhmatova; and part three on the “world,” and Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, and J.H. Prynne. The coda focuses on Emily Dickinson. A central concern throughout is how utopianism survives the failure of utopia.

My second large-scale project, the Shakespeare and Company Project (2014–present), is a digital humanities initiative based on the records of Sylvia Beach’s bookshop and lending library in interwar Paris. Version 1.0 of the Project was released in 2020, and work is ongoing. For additional information, see the Project’s press page. For a list of my collaborators, see the Project’s credits.

I am now working on three books. LeRoi Jones in 1965 focuses on Amiri Baraka’s life and work during the year he co-founded the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School (BARTS) in Harlem. Articles connected to the book have appeared in Critical Inquiry and Post45: Contemporaries. A third article, detailing how BARTS was funded and the implications of that funding, is in progress.

A second book-in-progress, Rejection Letters, is about negative judgments of value, and their importance to aesthetics and literary history. The book uses an array of sources—from decision theory to the archives of Houghton and Scribner’s—to investigate how we value literature and why. I have presented work from the book at various conferences and talks.

A third book-in-progress, tentatively titled, How We Read, is based on the Shakespeare and Company Project, and examines the reading practices of patrons of the bookshop and lending library, and the impact of reading on their lives. Chapters focus on Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Dolly Wilde, Margaret Woodrow Wilson, and Aimé Césaire, among others. A central question: what is the connect between what we read and who we are?

Recently, I have co-edited two special journal issues: one for the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies on digital archives and avant-garde periodicals and one for Post45 on contemporary literature and culture, How to Be Now. I am currently co-editing a joint feature for the Journal of Cultural Analytics and Modernism/modernity about Shakespeare and Company.

My recent undergraduate courses include “Language to Be Looked At,” “Contemporary Poetry,” “James Joyce’s Ulysses,” “Melville and His Readers,” and “American Literary History.” Recent graduate courses include “Paris, Modern,” “Postwar New York,” “The Avant-Garde,” and “Ezra Pound and Modern Poetry.” For the last six years, I have been working with Special Collections at Princeton’s Firestone Library to build collections of little magazines and concrete and visual poetry.

Selected Publications: 


Utopias of One (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018). [JSTOR]

DH Project and Data Sets

Shakespeare and Company Project, version 1.5.1. Center for Digital Humanities, Princeton University, 2021. In collaboration with Rebecca Sutton Koeser et al.

Shakespeare and Company Project Dataset: Lending Library Members, version 1.1 (Jan. 2021). Co-authors: Rebecca Sutton Koeser et al.

Shakespeare and Company Project Dataset: Lending Library Books, version 1.1 (Jan. 2021). Co-authors: Rebecca Sutton Koeser et al.

Shakespeare and Company Project Dataset: Lending Library Events, version 1.1 (Jan. 2021). Co-authors: Rebecca Sutton Koeser et al.


“A Friend, An Enemy,” Post45: Contemporaries (May 2021). Postscript (June 2021).

“Poems That Kill,” Critical Inquiry 47.3 (Apr. 2021): 456–476.

“T.S. Eliot’s Enclosures to Emily Hale: Three Uncollected James Joyce Letters,” James Joyce Quarterly 58.3 (Spring 2021): 343–353. Co-authors: Ronan Crowley, Frances Dickey, Robert Spoo.

“On Genya Turovskaya’s Calendar,” From the Vaults: Ugly Duckling Presse (2020).      

“Shakespeare and Company: Publisher,” Publishing Modernist Fiction and Poetry, ed. Lise Jaillant (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019), 109–134.

“Introduction: How to Be Now,” Post45 2 (2019). Co-authors: Sarah Chihaya and Kinohi Nishikawa.

“Digital Archives, Avant-Garde Periodicals: An Introduction,” Journal of Modern Periodical Studies 8.2 (2019): v–viii.

“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.

“Stevens v. Frost,” The Wallace Stevens Journal 41.1 (2017): 81–89.

“On Reading and Rereading Contemporary Poetry,” Chicago Review 60:2 (2016): 194–199.

“The Contemporary’ by the Numbers,” Post45: Contemporaries (2016). Co-authors: Sarah Chihaya and Kinohi Nishikawa.

“Wallace Stevens’s Point of View,” PMLA 130.1 (2015): 54–68.

“The Archives of A. Walton Litz,” Make It New: The Ezra Pound Society Magazine 1.3 (2014): 55–58.

“Helen Vendler’s On Extended Wings Today,” The Wallace Stevens Journal 38.2 (Fall 2014): 153–157.

“Blood-Stained Battle-Flags: Ezra Pound, J.H. Prynne, and Classical Chinese Poetry,” News from Afar: Ezra Pound and Contemporary British Poetry, ed. Richard Parker (Bristol: Shearsman, 2014), 133–141. 

“Philip Lamantia’s Practical Politics,” Colloquium 1 (2012).


“A Conversation with Sally Foss about Emily Hale,”  Time Present: The Newsletter of the International T. S. Eliot Society 100 (2020): 2, 18–23. Conducted with Susan Stewart.

“Oral History Initiative: Interview with Anne Waldman,” March 14, 2018, Harvard University.

“The Art of Poetry No. 101: J.H. Prynne,” Paris Review 218 (2016): 174–207. Conducted with Jeff Dolven.

“An Interview with Stephen Rodefer,” Chicago Review 54.3 (2009): 8–28. Conducted with Michael Kindellan and V. Joshua Adams.


Review of The Teaching Archive: A New History for Literary Study, by Rachel Sagner Buurma and Laura Heffernan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020), American Literary History (ALH), forthcoming.

Review of Poetical Works: 1999–2015, by Keston Sutherland (London: Enitharmon Press, 2015), The Cambridge Humanities Review 15 (2017): 13–14.

Review of Wallace Stevens Among Others: Diva-Dames, Deleuze, and American Culture, by David R. Jarraway (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015), ESC: English Studies in Canada 43.1 (2017): 116–118.

Review of Concepts and Conception in Poetry, by J.H. Prynne (Cambridge: Critical Documents, 2014), The Wallace Stevens Journal 39.1 (2015): 128–130.

Review of In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems, 1987–2011, by Peter Gizzi (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2014), Chicago Review 58:3/4 (2014): 336–340.

Review of Wallace Stevens, New York, and Modernism, ed. Lisa Goldfarb and Bart Eeckhout (New York: Routledge, 2012), Modernism/modernity 21.1 (2014): 381–383.

“The Authentic Hemingway,” Review of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Vol. 2: 1923–1925, ed. Sandra Spanier et al. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), Los Angeles Review of Books (January 1, 2014).

Review of Writing against Time, by Michael Clune (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013), 10 (2013).