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Robert Polhemus

Emeriti Faculty
Ph.D., UC Berkeley, 1963
At Stanford Since: 


Robert Polhemus has interests in the workings of literary history; 19th-century British literature--especially the novel; 20th-century British fiction; the visual arts (including film); and cultural psychology. He is particularly interested in desire, love, comedy, inter-generational psychology, and the seeking and rendering of faith in literature and art. His work centers on fiction and art as a means for exploring, expressing, and satisfying the longing for secular faith in the last two centuries. The novelists he has written on include Austen, Scott, Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Thackeray, George Eliot, Lewis Carroll, Hardy, Meredith, D.H. Lawrence, Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Beckett. His major publications are Lot's Daughters: Sex, Redemption, and Women's Quest for Authority; Erotic Faith: Being in Love from Austen to Lawrence ; Comic Faith: The Great Tradition from Austen to Joyce; and The Changing World of Anthony Trollope. He is presently writing a book on the history of tensions between religion and art, A Device to Root out Evil, and one on Woody Allen.