Kathleen Renk

Kathleen Renk

Department Chair
19th, 20th and 21st-Century British literature, Postcolonial literature, Women’s literature

Office: RH 231
Email: krenk@niu.edu

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. University of Iowa; 1995
  • B.S. University of Iowa; 1978
  • B.A. University of Northern Iowa; 1975

Professional Interests

  • Caribbean Women Writers, including Jean Rhys and Dionne Brand
  • Post-colonial and Post-imperial literature
  • Literature and the History of Science

Selected Publications


Magic, Science, and Empire in Postcolonial Literature: The Alchemical Literary Imagination. New York: Routledge, 2012. (single author)

Caribbean Shadows and Victorian Ghosts: Women’s Writing and Decolonization. Univ. Press of Virginia, 1999. (single author).


“‘Blackberrying in the Sun’?: Modernism and the Ageing Woman in Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight, Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and Sackville-West’s All Passion Spent. Women: A Cultural Review. (U.K.) 27: 3 (2016): 317-328.

“Interrogating the Book of Terror: Pauline Melville’s Eating Air.” Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies. 4: 2 (2016): 56-68.

“Erotic Possession, the “Phantasm,” and Platonic Love in Two Neo-Victorian Novels.” Critique:  Studies in Contemporary Fiction. 56 (2015): 576-585.
“Imperial Fantasies: Mourning the Loss of Empire in the Novels of Penelope Lively and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.”  Ariel: A Review of International English Literature. 42:3-4 (July-October 2012): 217-36.   

“‘Disaster Capitalism’ and Anti-Globalization in Pauline Melville’s The Migration of Ghosts.” Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies. 17: 1 (April 2011): 65-79.
“Debating Darwin: The Alchemy of A.S. Byatt and Pauline Melville,” Restoring the Mystery of the Rainbow: Literature's Refraction of Science. Cedric Barfoot and Valeria Tinkler, eds., New York: Rodopi, 2011, 467-485. 

“Magic that Battles Death: Pauline Melville’s Marvelous Realism,” Journal of Commonwealth Literature. 44: 1 (March 2009): 101-115.

“Jane Eyre as Hunger Artist,” Women’s Writing. (U.K.) 15: 1 (May 2008): 1-12. 

“‘A World Turned Upside Down’: The Hermetic Visions of Pauline Melville, Peter Ackroyd,  and Lindsay Clarke.” Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies. Vol. 13: 1, (Fall 2006): 33-52.

“Myopic Feminist Individualism in A.S. Byatt’s Arabian Nights’ Tale: ‘The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye’” Journal of International Women’s Studies. Vol. 8:1 (Nov. 2006). http://www.bridgw.edu/soas/jiws/Nov06/index.htm. 

“A.S. Byatt, the Woman Artist, and Suttee.” Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal.   33:5 (July-August 2004): 613-28. 

“Rewriting the Empire of the Imagination: Peter Carey’s and A. S. Byatt’s Post-Imperial Gothic Fiction.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature. 39: 2 (June 2004): 61-71.

“‘I Can Make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven’: Jean Rhys’s Heresy,” Journal of Caribbean  Literatures. 3:3 (summer 2003): 143-50. (invited article in special issue on Jean Rhys).

“Resurrecting the Living Dead: The Poetic Vision of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh,” Studies in Browning and His Circle. 23 (May 2000): 40-49. 

“‘Her Words Are Like Fire: The Storytelling Magic of Dionne Brand,” Ariel: A Review of International English Literature 27:4 (October 1996) 97-111. 

Contact us

Northern Illinois University
Department of English
Reavis Hall, Room 215
DeKalb, IL 60115

815-753-0606 (Fax)