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Carla Arnell

Professor of English and Chair of English


Classical and Medieval Literature
History of the British Novel


Medievalism in British Literature; Religion and Modern Fiction; the Oxford Inklings; the Nineteenth-Century Russian Novel; Literature and Ethics.


PhD in English, Northwestern University
MA in English, Northwestern University
AB in English and Classics, summa cum laude, Augustana College (Rock Island, IL)

Courses Taught

English 100: English Composition
English 110: Introduction to Literature
English 210: Ancient and Medieval Literature
English 211: Renaissance and Eighteenth-Century Literature
English 235: Creative Writing
English 300: Medieval Studies - Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde
English 300: Medieval Studies - The Arthurian Tradition
English 306: The English Novel
First-Year Studies 179: Representations of Justice in Literature


“Were Nature a Heraclitean Fire, What Comfort a Resurrection? Two Victorian Worldviews,” forthcoming in the Hopkins Quarterly. 

“Work for the Spirit: Medievalism, the Arts and Crafts Movement, and the Development of a Practical Spirituality in Evelyn Underhill’s Novel The Gray World.” Forthcoming in Studies in Medievalism 28 (Summer 2019).

“Love Beyond Logic: On Cannons, Castles, and Healing Tomfoolery in Dickens’ Great Expectations and Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov.” Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature 69.2 (Spring 2017): 81-97

“Seeking Wisdom and Cultivating Delight: Teaching Literature for Life.” Pedagogy 17.1(January 2017): 1-8. 

“The Call of the Finders Lodge: Teaching Literature as a Liberal Art.” Dorothy’s Gardens. A Festschrift in honor of Dr. Dorothy J. Parkander. Rock Island, IL: Augustana Historical Society, 2015. 10-14. 

“An Academic Among the Pews.”The Chronicle of Higher Education 18 (October 2013):B4-5

“From the Middle Ages to the Internet Age: The Courtly Love Tradition in Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion and The.Powerbook.” Studies in Medievalism 18 (2009): 203-226.

“Wild Writing:  Holy Stigmata and the Aesthetics of Sacred Pain in Ron Hansen’s Mariette in Ecstasy.”  Christianity and Literature 57.2 (Winter 2008): 181-206.

“Chaucer’s Wife of Bath and John Fowles’s Quaker Maid:  Tale Telling and the Trial of Personal Experience and Written Authority in Fowles’s Maggot.” Modern Language Review 102.4 (October 2007).

“Earthly Men and Otherworldly Women: Gender Types and Religious Types in Jeanette Winterson’s ‘Atlantic Crossing’ and Other Short Fiction.” Journal of the Short Story in English 45 (February 2006).

“So Familiar, Yet So Strange: Mythic Fragments of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in Iris Murdoch’s Green Knight.” Mythlore 24.93 (2004).

“On Beauty, Justice, and the Sublime in C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces,” Christianity and Literature, Autumn 2002 (Volume 52, Number 1).

“Myth, History, and Medievalism in John Fowles Maggot.” Mythes, Croyances et Religions 18 (2000): 61-73.

“Romancing the Stone: Mysticism as a Guide to Moral Reflection in Iris Murdoch’s Green Knight.” Studia Mystica 21 (2000): 126-149.

Invited Talks

“From the Middle Ages to the Internet Age:  The Medieval Courtly Love Tradition in Jeanette Winterson’s The.Powerbook.”  The Seventeenth Annual International Conference on Medievalism, The University of Northern Iowa, October 2002.

“The River and the Stone: Religious Action and Imagery in Joy Kogawa’s Obasan,” Forty-Third Annual Convention of the Midwest Modern Language Association, Cleveland, Ohio, November 2001.

“On Beauty, Justice, and the Sublime in C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces,” Modern Language Association Annual Convention, Washington, D.C., December 2000.

“‘Trust me. I’m telling you stories’: Faith, Doubt, and the Problems of Storytelling in Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion,” Forty-First Annual Convention of the Midwest Modern Language Association, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 1999.

“Vital Symmetries and Fruitful Branchings: Tracing Perceval’s Romance in Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit,” Thirty-Fourth International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 1999.

“So Familiar, Yet So Strange: Reconfiguring Medieval Romance in Iris Murdoch’s Green Knight,” Thirty-Third International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 1998.

Popular Work

“Evelyn Underhill:  Modern Architect of Medieval Mysticism.”  Lecture.  St. Elisabeth’s Episcopal Church, Glencoe, IL.  March 14, 2010.

“Evelyn Underhill:  The Work of Spiritual Retreats and the Art of Contemplative Prayer.”  Lecture.  St. Elisabeth’s Episcopal Church, Glencoe, IL.  March 21, 2010.

Keynote Address, NU Directions Conference for Graduate Students.  Northwestern University.  November 18, 2006.

“Why Johnny Isn’t Reading—or Is He?”.  Letter to the Editor.  The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 10, 2004.

“Saving Quotes to Live By.” Letter to the Editor. The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 22, 2001.

Awards and Honors

Bird Award in recognition of an individual who brings a special measure of intellectual fervor and commitment to the college community. Fall 2016. 

William Dunn Award for outstanding teaching and scholarly promise.  Lake Forest College.  Spring 2007.

Lake Forest College Hotchkiss Fellowship. Competitive one-semester leave awarded for teaching excellence and scholarly promise. Fall 2006.

Augustana College Research Foundation Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research. Senior Thesis on “The Use and Abuse of Old Women in Aristophanic Comedy.” November 1991.

Phi Beta Kappa, Zeta Chapter of Illinois, Augustana College, April 1991.