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Dr. Elizabeth  Outka
Dr. Elizabeth Outka
Professor of English

Professor Outka’s research focuses on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literature and culture. Her latest book, Viral Modernism: The Influenza Pandemic and Interwar Literature (Columbia UP 2019), investigates how one of the deadliest plagues in history—the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic—silently reshaped the modernist era, infusing everything from T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, to the emergence of viral zombies, to the popularity of séances. She is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

She has written on topics ranging from consumer culture, to postcolonial representations of trauma, to disability studies. Her first book, Consuming Traditions (Oxford UP 2009) examines the marketing of authenticity in turn-of-the-century Britain. The book analyzes how the selling of objects and places allegedly free of commercial taint marks a crucial turn in modern culture and offers a new way to understand literary modernism and its complex negotiation of tradition and novelty. 

She teaches courses on modernism, twentieth- and twenty-first century Anglophone literature, the contemporary novel, the literatures of war, environmental literature, social change and modern drama, and women in literature. 

Grants and Fellowships

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2016-2017.

Faculty Research Summer Fellowship, University of Richmond, 2016.

Enhanced Sabbatical Grant, University of Richmond, 2015-2016.

Faculty Research Summer Fellowship, University of Richmond, 2015.

Faculty Research Summer Fellowship, University of Richmond, 2014.

Faculty Research Summer Fellowship, University of Richmond, 2013.

Faculty Research Summer Fellowship, University of Richmond, 2012.

Faculty Research Grant, University of Richmond, 2011.

Faculty Research Summer Fellowship, University of Richmond, 2010.

Fellowship, Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, University of Richmond, 2009.

The James D. Kennedy, III Endowed Faculty Fellowship, University of the South, 2006-2008.

John B. Stephenson Fellowship, Appalachian College Association, 2004.

Academic Initiative Grant, University of the South, 2004.

Faculty Research and Travel Grant, University of the South, 2003.

Elizabeth Garret Fellowship, University of Virginia, 2000.

William B. Christian Fellowship, University of Virginia, 2000.

Transatlantic Studies Association-Cambridge University Press Book Award, 2021

Distinguished Scholarship Award, University of Richmond, 2021

Distinguished Educator Award, University of Richmond, 2015.

All-University Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award in Arts and Humanities, University of Virginia, 1998.

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, English Department, University of Virginia, 1997-1998.


Viral Modernism: The Influenza Pandemic and Interwar Literature. Columbia University Press, 2020. Modernist Latitudes series. Simultaneous hardcover and paperback.

Winner of the Transatlantic Studies Association-Cambridge University Press Book Prize and the South Atlantic Modern Language Association Book Award.

Consuming Traditions: Modernity, Modernism, and the Commodified Authentic. Oxford University Press, 2009. Paperback edition 2012.


Grievability, COVID-19, and the Modernists’ Pandemic.Modernism/modernity PrintPlus. Vol. 5, cycle 1 (May 2020).

Nostalgia and Modernist Anxiety.” Afterword for Modernism and Nostalgia: Bodies, Locations, Aesthetics. Ed. Tammy Clewell. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. 252-261.

Dead Men, Walking: Actors, Networks, and Actualized Metaphors in Mrs. Dalloway and Raymond.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 46.2 (2013) 253-274.

Trauma and Temporal Hybridity in Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things.” Contemporary Literature. 52.1 (2011) 21-53.  

Buying Time:  Howards End and Commodified Nostalgia.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction. 36.3 (2003): 330-350.


“Disability, Illness, and Pain.” In The Oxford Handbook of Virginia Woolf. Ed. Anne E. Fernald. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021. 504-520.

“Teaching the First World War through Community-Based Learning.” Book chapter in Options for Teaching Representations of the First World War. Eds. Debra Rae Cohen and Douglas Higbee. NYC: Modern Language Association, 2017. 302-307.

“The Transitory Space of Night and Day.” Book chapter for A Companion to Virginia Woolf. Ed. Jessica Berman. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016. 55-66. 

“Consumer Culture.” Essay in The Cambridge Companion to Modernist Culture. Ed. Celia Marshik. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 2014. 81-95.

The Shop Windows Were Full of Sparkling Chains: Consumer Desire and Woolf’s Night and Day." Book chapter in Virginia Woolf Out of Bounds. Ed. Jessica Berman and Jane Goldman. New York: Pace UP, 2001. 229-235.


Review of Cambridge Edition of Virginia Woolf’s Night and Day, edited by Michael H. Whitworth. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2018. Woolf Studies Annual. 26 (2020): 143-145.

“Violent Ends, Modernist Means.” Review of Sarah Cole’s At the Violet Hour: Modernism and Violence in England and Ireland. New York: Oxford UP, 2012. NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction. 48.2 (2015): 313-316.

Review of Jane Elizabeth Fisher’s Envisioning Disease, Gender, and War: Women’s Narratives of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.  Clio:  A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History. 43.3 (2014): 37-43.

Additional Publications

"Reconsidering the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic in the Age of COVID-19.” Roundtable print essay with scholars Nancy Bristow, Tom Ewing, Joseph Gabriel, Benjamin Montoya, and Elizabeth Outka. Ed. Christopher McKnight Nichols. JGAPE:The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. Cambridge University Press journal: 19.4 (October 2020): 642-672.

Ph.D., University of Virginia
B.A., Yale University
Contact Information
350 Humanities Building
(804) 287-1806
(804) 289-8313 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Twentieth-century British and Irish literature and culture
History of the novel