Joshua Kotin is Associate Professor of English at Princeton University. His research and teaching focus on poetry and poetics, global modernism, and US literature. He received his B.A. from McGill University and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
He is the author of Utopias of One (Princeton University Press, 2018), which 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 the book is how utopian desire survives the failure of utopian projects. Recently, he collaborated with Jeff Dolven on a short book of experimental criticism, The Parkland Mysteries (The Last Books, forthcoming), about J.H. Prynne’s Parkland (2020). Kotin is 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 and work in 1965, the year he co-founded the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School. 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, examines negative judgments of value, and presents a new history of US literature based on archives of rejected manuscripts. An article connected to the book is forthcoming in American Literary History (“Archives of Rejection”). A third book, The World of Shakespeare and Company, tells the story of Sylvia Beach’s bookshop and lending library through the lives of her patrons. Chapters focus on Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Dolly Wilde, Walter Benjamin, and Aimé Césaire, among others. A central concern is the connection between bibliography and biography—what we read and who we are.
Kotin has published articles, reviews, and interviews on many twentieth- and twenty-first-century writers: John Ashbery, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Peter Gizzi, Ernest Hemingway, Devin Johnston, Hugh Kenner, Phillip Lamantia, J.H. Prynne, Stephen Rodefer, Ed Sanders, James Schuyler (forthcoming), Keston Sutherland, Genya Turovskaya, Helen Vendler, and Anne Waldman. He has also co-edited special issues of the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies on digital archives and avant-garde periodicals, and Post45 on contemporary literature and culture, How to Be Now. Currently, he is co-editing a feature with Rebecca Sutton Koeser about Shakespeare and Company to be co-published by Journal of Cultural Analytics and Modernism/modernity in 2023. From 2005 to 2008, he was Editor of Chicago Review.
His recent undergraduate courses include “Language to Be Looked At” (co-taught with Irene Small), “Contemporary Poetry,” “James Joyce’s Ulysses,” and “Melville and His Readers.” Recent graduate courses include “1922,” “Paris, Modern” (co-taught with Effie Rentzou), “Postwar New York,” “The Avant-Garde,” and “Ezra Pound and Modern Poetry.” At Princeton, Kotin is an affiliated or associated faculty member in the Program of European Cultural Studies; the Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies; and the University Center for Human Values. He also works with Special Collections at Princeton’s Firestone Library to develop collections of little magazines and concrete and visual poetry.
The Parkland Mysteries (The Last Press, forthcoming). Co-author: Jeff Dolven.
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.
“Archives of Rejection,” American Literary History (ALH), forthcoming.
“A Counterfactual Canon,” Modernism/modernity and Journal of Cultural Analytics, forthcoming. Co-author: Fedor Karmanov.
“Living with Complicity,” Paideuma, forthcoming.
“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.