Sylvia Onorato


Sylvia Claire Onorato is a PhD candidate who joined the Department of English in 2019. In the same year, she earned a BA from Cornell University, graduating summa cum laude with a major in English (with concentrations in American Literature and Creative Writing) and a minor in Spanish. Her Honors Thesis, titled "'Christ! What Are Patterns For?': The Polyphonic Prose of Amy Lowell," examines the roles of lyric, narrative, and epic modes in a composite genre that simultaneously demands and resists classification.

Sylvia's fascination with this paradoxical genre has led her to further explorations in her dissertation, tentatively titled "Modern Landscapes: Journeys through American Prose Poetry," in which she questions whether motion across landscapes in prose poetry reflects progress. The progress she focuses on can be literal, and it can also refer to political movements in the late 1800s and early 1900s, including but not limited to workers' rights, civil rights, and gender equality.
In addition to poetics and modernism, Sylvia's interdisciplinary interests include ecocriticism, art, history, world mythology, and transatlantic 19th century novels. At Cornell, she was a teaching assistant for BIOEE 1540: Introductory Oceanography. At Princeton, she has been a preceptor for ENG 345: 19th-Century Fiction, and is currently teaching Art 100: An Introduction to the History of Art: Meanings in the Visual Arts.