Dr. Leah Flack

Leah Flack
Dr. Leah FlackMarquette University

Marquette Hall, 219

MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America
(414) 288-3316

Professor of English

I started college as a first-gen Biochemistry and Music double major and obviously changed my mind, finishing with a double major in English and Russian. I never doubted my choice, even if I could not persuasively explain it to anyone at the time. The past decade as a scholar, teacher, and human being has given me a sense of profound joy that I chose what was right for me before I had the language to explain it. 

I learned from my favorite writers, my students, and my colleagues the value of being able to (as Seamus Heaney wrote) “walk on air against your better judgment.” In doing so, I figured out two things: living well requires imaginative courage, something I acquired through learning to read, write, and speak deeply and powerfully; and the skills and insights we refine through the activities of English in the classroom and in our research and creative endeavors prepare us to do high-impact work that matters across a life well-lived. 

My research in comparative literature has examined the Western literary tradition as a source of imaginative liberation from political and social oppression. I am interested in why writers from different national traditions return to ancient stories and formal innovation in moments of personal and global crisis. In my work on the modernist period, I challenged theories that saw Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey as sources of stable truth for writers trying to respond to the devastation and confusion of the opening decades of the twentieth century. What I learned in writing my first two books—Modernism and Homer (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and James Joyce and Classical Modernism (Bloomsbury, 2020)—was that some of the most innovative, rebellious writers in the modernist period saw the ancient world as a source of resistance to political power, social oppression, and a culture’s prevailing ideas that lead to the perpetuation of war, violence, and injustice. The academic institution has turned both the ancient and modern texts I study into status symbols of cultural prestige, but this belies the subversive energy underlying them.  

These days, I am excited to be working as the campus director for N4@MU, part of the global nonprofit Narrative 4, which brings together communities across lines of difference to create empathy, hope, and understanding. My research right now is a blend of the familiar and the new. Most immediately, I am working to finish a decades-long passion project on the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam’s archive. I am also preparing to do collaborative community-engaged research on the role creativity, storytelling, and dialogue play in relation to how we orient ourselves to the future and how we understand our capacity to change ourselves and our communities.  

Courses Taught

  • Modernist Literature
  • Twentieth-Century Literature
  • British and Irish Literature
  • The Western Literary Tradition

Research Interests

  • Comparative Modernism (British, Irish, American, Russian)
  • Classical reception studies
  • Reception and Genre Studies
  • Irish literature
  • Literature and national identity
  • Censorship


  • James Joyce and Classical Modernism, Bloomsbury Academic Press, February 2020
  • "Classical Literature," in The New Pound Studies, Ed. Mark Byron, Cambridge University Press,  2019
  • "The Flights of Oona Frawley and Colum McCann," in Migrant Adaptations in Irish Literature, Eds. Matthew Spangler, Charlotte McIvor, Jason King, Cork University Press, 2019
  • "Joyce's Classical Passwords," in The Dublin James Joyce Journal, 2019
  • "Lost and Found in Translation: The Genesis of Modernism's Siren Songs," in Classics in Modernist Translation, Eds. Miranda Hickman and Lynn Kozak, Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2019, pp. 143-155.
  • "whatever is given/ can always be reimagined": Seamus Heaney's Indefinite Modernism." In Modernist Afterlives in Irish Literature and Culture, Ed. Paige Reynolds (London: Anthem Press, 2016).
  • Modernism and Homer: The Odysseys of H.D., James Joyce, Osip Mandelstam, and Ezra Pound (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
  • "'The news in the Odyssey is still news': Ezra Pound, W. H. D. Rouse, and a Modern Odyssey." Modernism/modernity (January 2015).
  • "1922's "UnUlyssean" Ulysses: Modernist Visions and Revisions of the Homeric Nostos. "Odyssean Identities in Modern Cultures: The Journey Home. Eds. Hunter Gardner and Sheila Murnaghan. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2014. 133-153.
  • “‘Cyclops,’ Censorship, and Joyce’s Monster Audiences, ”James Joyce Quarterly 48, no. 3 (Spring 2012): 115-134.
  • “Coming Home to Joyce. ”James Joyce Quarterly 46, no. 2 (Winter 2009): 201-204.​

Additional Information

Office Hours

Spring 2024

Teaching Schedule 

Spring 2024

  • 4523/101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Lalumiere Hall 198
    • Modernism: Make it new
  • 6931/101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Lalumiere Hall 198
    • Topics in English: Countermyths

Faculty & Staff Directory


Department of English
Marquette Hall, 115
1217 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414) 288-7179

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