Jonathan D. Culler

Class of 1916 Professor of English (English/Comparative Literature)
Graduate Faculty Member

Oxford University, D. Phil
Oxford University, B. Phil
Cambridge University, M.A
Harvard University, B.A.
Jonathan D. Culler


Jonathan Culler came to Cornell in 1977 as Professor of English and Comparative Literature and in 1982 succeeded M.H. Abrams in the Class of 1916 Chair.

His Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics, and the Study of Literature, won MLA’s Lowell Prize and established his reputation as analyst and expositor of critical theory. Now known especially for On Deconstruction and Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (which has been translated into some 20 languages), he has completed a book entitled Theory of the Lyric, to be published by Harvard University Press in the spring of 2015..

Professor Culler has been President of the American Comparative Literature Association and chair of the departments of English, Comparative Literature, and Romance Studies at Cornell, as well as Senior Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and to the American Philosophical Society in 2006. He currently serves as Secretary of the American Council of Learned Societies.

Research and Teaching Interests

  • Literary Theory
  • 19th century French literature
  • English poetry
  • Theory of the lyric

Current Projects

  • A book entitled Theory of the Lyric
  • A book on Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal