Anthony Kemp

Associate Professor of English
Pronouns He / Him / His Email kemp@usc.edu Office THH 443 Office Phone (213) 740-3730

Research & Practice Areas

My teaching and writing mainly center on the religious and anti-religious aspects of culture, and particularly on how religion transforms into romanticism. I’m also interested in the interrelations between literature and philosophy. A dilettante of many fields, I find it difficult to stick to one period. I’m an Americanist with special interest in the transatlantic 17th century, though I also teach American 19th century and modernism, and, at least on an undergraduate level, classics and medieval. I’m interested in all culture from the most ancient texts to contemporary performance art. My first book, “The Estrangement of the Past,” is about the transformations in the Christian picture of world history from the 3rd century to the beginnning of the 20th, and how the present’s attitude to the past was reversed from identification to estrangement. I have two books in progress, “The Materialist Ideology: Bacon to Sade,” about the extremeties of early materialism, and “The School of the Dead,” a novel of gothic horror (not for reading alone on stormy nights). I am also a collector of medieval swords and a student of their use.

Biography

My teaching and writing mainly center on the religious and anti-religious aspects of culture, and particularly on how religion transforms into romanticism. I’m also interested in the interrelations between literature and philosophy. A dilettante of many fields, I find it difficult to stick to one period. I’m an Americanist with special interest in the transatlantic 17th century, though I also teach American 19th century and modernism, and, at least on an undergraduate level, classics and medieval. I’m interested in all culture from the most ancient texts to contemporary performance art. My first book, “The Estrangement of the Past,” is about the transformations in the Christian picture of world history from the 3rd century to the beginning of the 20th, and how the present’s attitude to the past was reversed from identification to estrangement. I have two books in progress, “The Materialist Ideology: Bacon to Sade,” about the extremities of early materialism, and “The School of the Dead,” a novel of gothic horror (not for reading alone on stormy nights). I am also a collector of medieval swords and a student of their use.

Education

  • Ph.D. English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, 1989
  • M.Phil. English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, 1984
  • M.A. English Literature, Drew University, 1981
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Associate Professor of English, University of Southern California, 1994 –
    • Assistant Professor of English, University of Southern California, 1988 – 1994

    Research, Teaching, Practice, and Clinical Appointments

    • Adjunct Instructor in English, Pace University, 1994-1995
    • Teaching Assistant in English and American Literature and Language, Harvard University, 1984-1988

    Visiting and Temporary Appointments

    • Visiting Scholar, Harvard University, 1991-1992

    Other Employment

    • Research Consultant, Library of America, 1985-1996
    • Research Associate, Library of America, 1983-1988
    • Editorial Assistant, Columbia University Press, 1981-1982
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Professor Kemp researches American literature and culture, medieval and Renaissance literature, philosophy, critical theory, 18th and 19th centuries and religious culture.

    Research Keywords

    American literature and culture, medieval literature, Renaissance literature, historiography, philosophy, critical theory, eighteenth century, nineteenth century, religion, materialist history

  • Conference Presentations

    • Homer’s Architectonics of War: Atrocity and Symmetry , Tales of War: Expressions of Conflict and ResolutionTalk/Oral Presentation, University of Bucharest, 2011-2012
    • “‘The Miller’s Tale’ as an Example of an Integrative Genre , Genres and HistoricityKeynote Lecture, Invited, University of Bucharest, Spring 2010
    • Cognitive Peril: How Do We Know What Is Real? , Dreams, Illusions, and Other RealitiesKeynote Lecture, Thematic Option Research Conference, Invited, USC, Spring 2009
    • Sade and the Terminus of Satire , Eleventh International Congress on the EnlightenmentTalk/Oral Presentation, Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Invited, University of California Los Angeles, Fall 2003
    • Full History, Empty History , Claremont Consortium for Medieval and Early Modern Studies/Institute for Antiquity and ChristianityTalk/Oral Presentation, Claremont Graduate University, Spring 2003
    • Marx Goes to Carnival: What Does Materialist History Bring to Medieval Literature? , International Medieval CongressTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, University of Leeds, Spring 2001
    • Spectacular Darkness, Observer’s Eucharist, and the Scatalogical Kiss in The MIller’s Tale , Medieval Association of the PacificTalk/Oral Presentation, Claremont Graduate University, Spring 1999
    • Spectacular Darkness, Observer’s Eucharist, and the Scatalogical Kiss in The MIller’s Tale , International Medieval CongressTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, University of Leeds, Spring 1999
    • C. S. Lewis’s Pagan Fictions Talk/Oral Presentation, Aurora Institute, Invited, New York NY, Fall 1998
    • Fierce with Dark Keeping: Francis Bacon’s Conflict with the Past , Group for Early Modern Cultural StudiesTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Newport RI, Fall 1998
    • The Dog in the Court of Love: The Misdirected Kiss and Sacramental Parody in The Miller’s Tale Talk/Oral Presentation, Grendel Society, Invited, Claremont McKenna College, Spring 1998
    • How Are Old Worlds Destroyed? , New Worlds for OldTalk/Oral Presentation, American Comparative Literature Association, Puerto Vallarta Mexico, Spring 1997
    • Antigone and Heroic Death Talk/Oral Presentation, Invited, University of Southern California School of Theater, Fall 1995
    • The Negation of the Past and the Creation of American Radicalism , Modern Langauge Association of AmericaTalk/Oral Presentation, San Diego CA, Fall 1994
    • Augustine, Paulus Orosius, and the Structure of Time Talk/Oral Presentation, Invited, University of California Los Angeles, Spring 1993
    • Signs of Trouble: Response to Anthony Grafton and Stephen Greenblatt , Books in Chains, Bodies in Flames: Religion and Culture in the English RenaissanceTalk/Oral Presentation, University of California Los Angeles/The Huntingto, Invited, University of California Los Angeles, Spring 1993
    • Prosthetic God: Fred’s Reductive Genealogy , Society for Literature and ScienceTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Atlanta GA, Fall 1992
    • The Empty Cipher:Some Hermeneutic Problems in the Doubloon Chapter of Moby-Dick Talk/Oral Presentation, Invited, New York University, Spring 1992
    • Historical Consciousness and the Creation of Modernity Talk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Claremont Graduate University, Spring 1991
    • Franklin’s Pilgrim’s Progress: The Landscape of Epistemic Dissonance Talk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Boston College, Fall 1990
    • The Arch to the Labyrinth: Henry Adams’ Renunciation of Scientific History , Society for Literature and ScienceTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Portland OR, Fall 1990

    Other Presentations

    • Fundamentalism and Redemption, What Matters to Me and Why, USC, 2007-2008
  • Book

    • Kemp, A. (2010). The Materialist Ideology: Bacon to Sade.
    • Kemp, A. (1991). The Estrangement of the Past: A Study in the Origins of Modern Historical Consciousness. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Book Review

    • Kemp, A. (1999). Inventiones:Fiction and Referentiality in Twelfth-Century Historical Writing. Speculum. pp. 235-237.
    • Kemp, A. (1994). Habits of Thought in the English Renaissance: Religion, Politics, and the Dominant Culture. ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews.
    • Kemp, A. (1991). Fleeting Moments: Nature and Culture in American History. Journal of the Early Republic. pp. 545-546.
    • Kemp, A. (1990). The Last American Puritan: The Life of Increase Mather. ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Nates and Reviews. pp. 183-186.

    Journal Article

    • Kemp, A. (2012). Sade and the Terminus of Satire. Language, Literature and Cultural Studies; Langue, litterature et etudes culturelles. Vol. 4 (1), pp. 16.
    • Kemp, A. (2011). Homer’s Architectonics of War: Atrocity and Symmetry. University of Bucharest Review. Vol. 1 New Series (2), pp. 8.
    • Kemp, A. (1995). The Negation of the Past and the Creation of American Radicalism. Early American Literature. Vol. 30 (2), pp. 145-187.
    • Kemp, A. (1984). The Greek Joke in Poe’s Bon-Bon. American Literature. Vol. 56 (4), pp. 580-583.

    Poem

    • Kemp, A. (1992). The Carnival in Venice. Boston MA. Salamander: A Magazine for Poetry,Fiction, and Memoirs.

    Novels

      • USC or School/Dept Award for Teaching, Mortar Board Senior Honor Society Teaching Award, 1996-1997
      • Ph.D. awarded Distinction, Columbia University, 1989-1990
      • Harvard-Danforth Award for Distinction in Teaching, Harvard University, 1986-1987
      • President’s Fellow, Columbia University, 1981-1983
    • Administrative Appointments

      • Director of Graduate Studies, 2006 – 2009
      • Director of Graduate Placement, 1999 – 2003