Nicholas Dames is the Theodore Kahan Professor of Humanities in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he teaches nineteenth-century fiction, the history and theory of the novel, the history of reading, and the aesthetics of prose fiction from the eighteenth century to the present. His interests center on the long history of novelistic form in Britain and Western Europe.
He is the author of Amnesiac Selves: Nostalgia, Forgetting, and British Fiction, 1810-1870 (2001), and The Physiology of the Novel: Reading, Neural Science, and the Form of Victorian Fiction (2007). He has written on contemporary fiction, novel reading, and the humanities for The Atlantic, n+1, The Nation, New Left Review, The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, and Public Books, and his scholarly articles have appeared in Representations, Novel, Nineteenth-Century Literature, and Victorian Studies. He has been a recipient of Columbia’s Presidential Teaching Award (2005), a Charles Ryskamp Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (2005-6), the Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award (2008), and the Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching (2013). In 2009-2010 he was chair of the MLA’s Division on Prose Fiction Executive Committee. From 2011-2014 he was chair of the Department of English and Comparative Literature.
Dames is currently at work on a book, The History of the Chapter in the West, which traces the development of the chapter from an editorial and scribal practice of late antiquity and early Christianity to a compositional practice of the European novel.