Rachel Malkin

My most recent research explores the ways in which ideas of the ordinary, common, and experiential provide a basis for an American aesthetic and philosophical position that shades into a politics. My last project addressed the work of Stanley Cavell, as well as modernist poetry and contemporary fiction, and suggested that the 'ordinary turn' might reflect investments grounded in a peculiarly American (and timebound) context.

Current interests include changes in the register of optimism in contemporary American writing, the inheritance of the 1930s and 1960s in fiction, the mid-C20th avant-garde, and themes of ordinariness, existentialism, and Emersonianism in American film.



  • 'Public Desires, Private Desires: The Satisfactions of Stevens and Stanley Cavell', The Wallace Stevens Journal, 36.1 (Spring 2012).

Book chapters:

  • 'The Experience of the Movies: Stanley Cavell’s Hollywood and Robert Warshow' in Stanley Cavell, Literature, and the Idea of America. (New York, 2013), eds. Andrew Taylor and Ainé Kelly.
  • 'American Philosophy', in Wallace Stevens in Context. (Cambridge, 2015, forthcoming), ed. Glen MacLeod.
  • 'The California Fruit of the Ideal: Stevens and Robert Hass', in Poetry and Poetics after Wallace Stevens, eds. Bart Eeckhout and Lisa Goldfarb (volume under review with Bloomsbury Publishing).


  • 'Philosophy Americana: Making Philosophy at Home in American Culture', Douglas Anderson, Fordham University Press, 2006 (Journal of American Studies, Vol. 41, Issue 2, August 2007).
  • 'Less Legible Meanings: Between Poetry and Philosophy in the Work of Emerson', Pamela Schirmeister, Stanford University Press, 1999 (American Studies Today, 17, 2010).
  • 'Hollywood Westerns and American Myth: The Importance of Howard Hawks and John Ford for Political Philosophy' Robert B. Pippin, Yale University Press, 2010 (Journal of American Studies, Vol. 46, Issue 2, May 2012).
  • 'Stanley Cavell and Literary Studies: Consequences of Skepticism', eds. Richard Eldridge and Bernie Rhie, Continuum, 2011 (The Wallace Stevens Journal, Vol. 36, No. 1, Spring 2012).
  • 'The Ethics of William Carlos Williams's Poetry', Ian D. Copestake, Camden House, 2010 (American Studies Today, 21, 2012).