Department Head and Professor
Building & Room:
601 S Morgan St.
Peter Coviello is a scholar of American literature and queer theory, whose work addresses the entangled histories of sex, devotion, and intimate life in imperial modernity.
A writer of criticism, scholarship, and literary nonfiction, he is the author of six books, including Make Yourselves Gods: Mormonism and the Unfinished Business of American Secularism (Chicago), a finalist for the 2020 John Whitmer Historical Association Best Book Prize; Long Players (Penguin), a memoir selected as one of ARTFORUM’s Ten Best Books of 2018; and Tomorrow’s Parties: Sex and the Untimely in Nineteenth-Century America (NYU), a 2013 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Studies. His recent book, Vineland Reread (Columbia), was listed among the New York Times’s “New and Noteworthy” titles for January of 2021. The editor of Walt Whitman’s Civil War memoir Memoranda During the War and of the Penguin Classics edition of Herman Melville’s short fiction, he has written widely as well for national and public-facing venues like Raritan, Frieze, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Elle, and The Believer, where he has published on pop heartbreak, contemporary fiction, queer childhood, prayer, punk, step parenthood, and, recurrently, Prince. In 2017, he was appointed a member at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton. He taught for sixteen years at Bowdoin College, where he was Chair of the departments of Gay and Lesbian Studies, Africana Studies, and English, and since 2014 has been at UIC, where he is Professor and Head of English. His newest book, Is There God After Prince?: Dispatches from an Age of Last Things (Chicago), was selected for The Millions’ “Most Anticipated” list for 2023.
He advises work on 19th- and 20th-century American literatures and queer studies, as well as literary theory, religion and secularism, the history of sexuality, gender studies, poetry and poetics, modernism, and creative nonfiction.
His next book is After Ahab: Tyranny in the Wake of the Age of Revolutions, which is under contract with the University of Chicago Press.
Is There God After Prince?: Dispatches from an Age of Last Things (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2023).
Selected for The Millions’ “Most Anticipated” Books, July 2023
Vineland Reread (New York: Columbia University Press, 2020), inaugural volume in the “Rereadings” series.
Selected as “New & Noteworthy” title, the New York Times, Jan. 2021
Make Yourselves Gods: Mormons and The Unfinished Business of American Secularism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019), in the “Class 200: New Studies in Religion” series.
Finalist for the 2020 John Whitmer Historical Association Best Book Prize
Long Players: A Love Story in Eighteen Songs (New York: Penguin Books, 2018).
Selected for ARTFORUM’s Ten Best Books of 2018
Tomorrow’s Parties: Sex and the Untimely in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: New York University Press, 2013), in the “America and the Long 19th Century” series.
Finalist for a 2013 Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Studies
Alan Bray Memorial Book Prize (honorable mention), 2014
Intimacy in America: Dreams of Affiliation in Antebellum Literature (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005).
Billy Budd, Bartleby, and Other Stories, by Herman Melville (New York: Penguin Classics, 2016).
Memoranda During the War, by Walt Whitman (New York: Oxford UP, 2004).