Photo of Coviello, Peter

Peter Coviello

Director of Graduate Studies & Professor



Building & Room:

2000 UH


601 S Morgan St.

CV Download:

Coviello cv Feb 2019



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 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, Pynchon, 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.

His next book, Make Yourselves Gods: Mormons and The Unfinished Business of American Secularism, appears in 2019 from the University of Chicago Press.

For fuller details, and a recent CV, see his website:


Research Areas

19th C. British Literature | Critical Theory | Gender and Sexuality Studies


Selected Publications


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 UP, 2013).



The Wild Not Less Than the Good: Thoreau, Sex, Biopower,” GLQ 23-4 (Fall 2017): 509-532.

Introduction: After the Postsecular,” co-authored with Jared Hickman, American Literature 86:4 (December 2014): 645-654.



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.