Photo of Patrick O’Donnell. Older man with white hair and beard. Wearing teal checkered button up.

Patrick O’Donnell

Emeritus Professor
Twentieth and Twenty-First Century British and American Literature

Office: C641 Wells Hall
Phone: 517-355-7577
Web site

Patrick O’Donnell came to the MSU English department in 1997 as department chairperson; he served in that role for ten years, and returned for a three-year term in 2012. 

Previously, he taught at the University of Arizona, West Virginia University (where he was the Eberly Family Distinguished Professor of American Literature), and Purdue University (where he was editor of MFS: Modern Fiction Studies). He has also taught at several international universities, including the Université de Bordeaux III in France, the Universität Tübingen and the Universität Stuttgart (as Senior Fulbright Professor) in Germany, and Radboud University Nijmegen (as Fulbright Distinguished Chair of American Literature) in the Netherlands. In 1993 and 1998, he was on the faculty of the Stuttgart Seminar in Cultural Studies, and he has served as a continuing faculty member for the University of Louisville Summer Institute on Contemporary Literature. His scholarly fields include modern and contemporary American literature, postmodern literature and theory, and literature and film.

He is the author of John Hawkes (G.K. Hall), Passionate Doubts: Designs of Interpretation in Contemporary American Fiction (University of Iowa Press), Echo Chambers: Figuring Voice in Modern Narrative(University of Iowa Press), and Latent Destinies: Cultural Paranoia in Contemporary U.S. Narrative (Duke University Press). He is the editor of New Essays on the Crying of Lot 49 (Cambridge), the co-editor of Intertexuality and Contemporary American Fiction (Johns Hopkins), and an associate editor of the Columbia History of the American Novel (1991). He edited and wrote the introduction and notes for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise (Penguin) and Jazz Age Stories (Penguin). 

O’Donnell’s most recent books include The American Novel Now: Contemporary American Fiction Since 1980 (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), Approaches to Teaching Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying (co-edited with Lynda Zwinger; MLA, 2011), The Encyclopedia of Modern American Fiction (co-edited with Justus Nieland and David W. Madden; Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), and A Temporary Future:  The Fiction of David Mitchell (Bloomsbury, 2015).  He is currently working on three projects:  a book on the late fiction of Henry James and contemporary cinema, one on intersections between James, Hitchcock, and Nabokov, and a co-edited companion to contemporary American fiction 1980-2020.  He is an associate editor of Arizona Quarterly and serves on the editorial boards of Modern Fiction Studiespostmodern cultureContemporary LiteratureCR: The New Centennial Review, and Philip Roth Studies.