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Professor Coviello specializes in American literature and queer theory. His research considers the entangled histories of empire and intimacy in nineteenth-century America, with particular attention to questions of secularism, biopolitics, and sex.
He is the author of five books. These include Intimacy in America: Dreams of Affiliation in Antebellum Literature (Minnesota, 2005), Tomorrow’s Parties: Sex and the Untimely in Nineteenth-Century America (NYU, 2013) – a finalist for Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Studies and honorable mention for the Alan Bray Memorial Book Prize – and Long Players: A Love Story in Eighteen Songs (Penguin Books), selected as one of ARTFORUM’s “Best Books of 2018.” He is the editor of Walt Whitman’s Memoranda During the War (Oxford, 2004), Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Bartleby, and Other Stories (Penguin. 2016), and co-editor of a special issue of American Literature, from 2014, entitled “After the Postsecular.” He has written about Phillis Wheatley, queer children, pop songs, prayer, the history of sexuality, stepparenthood, race and psychoanalysis, polygamy, and, more than a few times, Prince. This work has appeared in PMLA, Raritan, ELH, GLQ, and MLQ, as well as in venues like Frieze, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Avidly, Public Books, Elle, and The Believer. In 2017-18, he was on fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton.
In 2019, Make Yourselves Gods: Mormons and The Unfinished Business of American Secularism, appeared from the University of Chicago Press, in the "Class 200" Series, and was subsequently nominated for the 2020 John Whitmer Historical Association Best Book Prize.
His next book, Vineland Reread, will be published this winter by Columbia University Press, inaugurating the "Rereading" series.
Vineland Reread (New York: Columbia University Press, 2020).
Make Yourselves Gods: Mormonism and the Unfinished Business of American Secularism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019).
Long Players: A Love Story in Eighteen Songs (New York: Penguin Books, 2018).
Tomorrow’s Parties: Sex and the Untimely in Nineteenth-Century America (New York University Press, 2013).
Intimacy in America: Dreams of Affiliation in Antebellum Literature (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005).
“The Novel and the Secret Police,” Boston Review, September 11, 2020
“Our Man Foucault,” BullyBloggers, June 29, 2020
“So-Called Normal People,” Post45, “Reading Sally Rooney” cluster, ed. Gloria Fisk, June 15, 2020.
“Mercy Hours,” Boston Review, April 10, 2020.
“Secularism’s Saints,” The Boston Review, October 29, 2019
“The Last Psychedelic Band,” The Los Angeles Review of Books, March 9, 2019.
“Say Chi City,” Public Books, November 22, 2017.
“My Thoughts Are Murder,” Avidly, December 9, 2016.
“Is There God After Prince?” The Los Angeles Review of Books, April 22, 2016.
“… and Circumstance,” The Los Angeles Review of Books, May 19, 2014.
“The Talk That Does Not Do Nothing,” The Believer 10:6 (July-August 2012): 7-11.
“Love in the Ruins; or, Should I Go to Grad School?” Avidly, November 13, 2012.