Brian O'Connor

|Senior Lecturer
Academic Appointments
  • Coordinator of Writing 2-3

  • Senior Lecturer

I am a literary critic by training with an abiding interest in theories of fiction and fictionality. I primarily write on American literature since 1945, though a recent preoccupation with American Gothic fiction has pushed my thinking well beyond this period. My work focuses on fiction in use and the ethics thereof, analyzing the ways in which authors both construe and self-consciously turn to fiction and its alterity as potent tools for inquiry and analysis. In my writing courses, I similarly challenge students to attend to and interpret the very specific uses to which authors put the conventions of their craft, whether those be metafiction in a contemporary novel, the uncanny in a Gothic horror, or a particular body of evidence in a piece of argumentative writing. I try to teach students that strong writing requires even stronger reading and an eagerness to understand texts on the texts' own terms–especially texts with which a student might disagree. Much like the otherness fiction affords, I want students to see their own research and writing as opportunities for good faith engagement with others' ideas, sensibilities, and rationalities because it is only through such encounters that students' own nuanced views and distinct voices arise.


37 Dewey Fld Rd, Room 221
HB 6250


Institute for Writing and Rhetoric


  • Ph.D., Indiana University
  • M.A., Indiana University
  • B.A., Westfield State University