Catherine Frank

Cathrine O. Frank, Ph.D.

Professor of English

Coordinator, Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities


Marcil Hall 105



The George Washington University
University of Cincinnati
Wake Forest University


British literature
Law literature
Liberal studies


Current research

 A book-length study of legal and literary constructions of personhood called Character, Writing and Reputation in Victorian Law and Literature

Selected publications


Character, Writing, and Reputation in Victorian Law and Literature (under contract with Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh Critical Studies in Law, Literature and the Humanities )

Law, Literature, and the Transmission of Culture in England, 1837-1925. Burlington, VT and London: Ashgate,  2010.

Edited Collections

Teaching Law and Literature. with Austin Sarat and Matthew Anderson. New York: Modern Language Association, 2011.

Law and the Humanities: An Introduction. with Austin Sarat and Matthew Anderson. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009

Invited Article/Guest Editor

“Victorians and the Law: Literature and Legal Culture.” Introduction to special issue on Victorians and the Law. Victorian Network 5.2 (Winter 2013): 1-11. Web. <>

Articles and Book Chapters

“Literacies for a New Canon.” Law, Culture and the Humanities, First Published Dec 12, 2019, doi:10.1177/1743872119893320.

"Narrative and Law."  Law and Literature. Ed. Kieran Dolin. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2018, pp. 42-57. 

"Gossip, Hearsay and the Character Exception in Victorian Law and Literature." Law and Humanities 9.2 (Fall/Winter 2015): 172-202.

"Riot and Revolution in Elizabeth Gaskell's Fiction." Law, Culture, and the Humanities  10.3 (2014): 421-39.

"Privacy, Character, and the Jurisdiction of the Self: A 'Story of the Door' in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Special issue on Jurisdiction. English Language Notes 48.2 (Fall/Winter 2010): 215-24.

"Trial Separations: Divorce, Disestablishment, and Home Rule in Phineas Redux." College Literature Special issue on Law and Literature. 35.3 (2008): 30-56.

"Of Testaments and Tattoos: The Wills Act of 1837 and Rider Haggard's Mr. Meeson's Will (1888)." Law and Literature 18.3 (2006): 323-42.

"Fictions of Justice: Testamentary Intention and the (Il)legitimate Heir in Anthony Trollope's Ralph the Heir and E.M. Forster's Howards End." English Literature in Transition 47.3 (2004): 311-30.

"Tinklers and Time Machines: Time-Travel in the Social Fantasy of E. Nesbit and H.G. Wells." Utopian and Dystopian Writing for Children and Young Adults. Eds. Elaine Ostry and Carrie Hintz. New York: Routledge, 2003.

"Wandering Narratives and Wavering Conclusions: Irreconciliation in Frances Burney's The Wanderer and Walter Scott's Waverley." European Romantic Review 12 (2001): 429-456.

Book Reviews (Solicited)

“Murder for Kids: The Making of an American Tradition.” Review of Bloody Murder: The Homicide Tradition in Children’s Literature by Michelle Ann Abate (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2013). Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures  6.2 (2014): 162-67.

Review of Criminal Law and the Modernist Novel: Experience on Trial by Rex Ferguson (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2013). Review of English Studies 65 (2014): 953-55.

Review of The Cambridge Companion to Anthony Trollope, edited by Carolyn Dever and Lisa Niles (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011). Victorian Studies 55.1 (2013): 162-64.

“Victorian Murder Poems: From the Scaffold to the Hearth.” Review of Crime in Verse: the Poetics of Murder in the Victorian Era by Ellen L. O’Brien (Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2008). Papers on Language and Literature 46.1 (Winter 2010): 102-08.

Other scholarly activity


“Forming Victorian Character: History, Narratology, Law and Literature,” North American Victorian Studies Association. October 17-19, 2019; Columbus, OH.

“Defamation of Character: Anthony Trollope and the Law of Libel,” Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities, March 2018, Washington, D.C.

“When Gossip Becomes Libel: Writing, Reputation, and the Protection of Victorian Character.” North American Conference on British Studies. November 11-13, 2016; Washington, D.C.

“Teaching and Tutoring: Reflections from a Writing Fellows Initiative.” Organizer, Chair, and Presenter. Engaging Practices: A UMass-Boston Conference on the Teaching of Composition,” Mar. 28, 2015. Boston, MA

Funded grants

National Endowment for the Humanities, $165,000 grant to co-direct (with Matthew Anderson) a Summer Institute for College and University Professors: "The Rule of Law: Legal Studies and the Liberal Arts." Summer 2009.

Research interests

Legal history and the Victorian and Edwardian novel (e.g. testamentary law, married womens property law, illegitimacy, charitable trusts, trials), literary history, realism and modernism, law and the humanities

Research topics

American and British Literatures
British Literature
Law, Literature, and the Humanities