Dr. Sean J. Kelly

Associate Professor

Kirby Hall Room 309
(570) 408-4549

Dr. Sean J. Kelly teaches courses in American literature, literary theory, and composition. His primary research interests focus on nineteenth-century American literature and culture. Dr. Kelly has recently published scholarly articles on the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, and Edgar Allan Poe. Recent courses include: ENG 281: American Literature I, ENG 218: Writing Practicum, ENG 398: African American Literature and Aesthetics, ENG 397: Seminar in Nathaniel Hawthorne, ENG 337: American Romantics, and ENG 352: Studies in the American Novel. Along with Dr. Mischelle Anthony, Dr. Kelly serves as a faculty advisor for the Manuscript Society, a creative writing collective that produces Manuscript, an annual publication that showcases student creative writing and visual art.

Before transitioning to English as a major, Dr. Kelly studied jazz guitar and music composition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. After becoming an English major, he applied his interest in jazz aesthetics to a study of African American authors, including Toni Morrison and Amiri Baraka. Dr. Kelly received his M.A degree from the University of Pittsburgh (2001) and his Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo (2008).

Peer Reviewed Articles

  • Sean J. Kelly, “‘There is a place where terror is good’: Aeschylus’s Oresteian Myth of Law and Lacan’s Theory of the Four Discourses.” Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities 23.6 (2018). Forthcoming, December 2018.
  • Sean J. Kelly, “Facing the Other: the Role of the ‘White-Faced’ Soldier in Whitman’s ‘Reconciliation.’” The Explicator 74.3 (2016): 192-195.
  • Sean J. Kelly, “Staging Nothing: the Figure of Das Ding in Poe’s ‘The Raven.’” The Edgar Allan Poe Review 17.2 (2016): 116-141. 
  • Sean J. Kelly, “Symbols of Illusion in Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts.” The Explicator 73.4 (2015): 301-305.
  • Sean J. Kelly, “‘I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity’: Penning Perversion in Poe’s ‘The Black Cat.’” The Edgar Allan Poe Review 13.2 (2012): 81-108.
  • Sean J. Kelly, “American Idle: Washington Irving, Authorship, and the Echoes of Native American Myth in ‘Rip Van Winkle.’” Short Story 19.1 (2011): 72-87.
  • Sean J. Kelly, “‘Hawthorne’s ‘Material Ghosts’: Photographic Realism and Liminal Selfhood in The House of the Seven Gables.” Papers on Language and Literature 47.3 (2011): 227-260.
  • Reprinted in Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations of The House of the Seven Gables, New York: Chelsea House, 2013. ebook.
  • Sean J. Kelly, “The Scarlet Letter,” Masterplots II: Christian Literature. Vol. 3. Ed. John K. Roth. New York: Salem P., 2007. 1549-1552.


  • Sean J. Kelly, Rev. of The Annotated Poe by Kevin J. Hayes. The Edgar Allan Poe Review 17.1 (2016).
  • Sean J. Kelly, Rev. of Reading the American Novel 1780-1865 by Shirley Samuels. Boundary 2 (b2o review): An International Journal of Literature and Culture. (2014) Web.

Non-Peer Reviewed Articles

  • Sean J. Kelly, “Claudia’s Blues: Blues, Jazz, and the Affirmation of Self in Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.” Featured Article for the Blues and Jazz Dance Book Club. (2017) Web.
  • “American Idle: Irving, Authorship, and Echoes of Native American Myth in ‘Rip Van Winkle,’” Northeast Modern Language Association Convention (NeMLA), New Brunswick, NJ, April 7-10, 2011.
  • “A Fearful Sympathy: Poe’s Metaphysics of Dissolution in Eureka and ‘The Fall of the House of Usher,’” Poe Studies Association Third Annual Edgar Allan Poe Conference: The Bicentennial, Philadelphia, PA, October 8-11, 2009.
  • “The Art of Sympathy: Hawthorne and the Pre-Raphaelites,” Northeast Modern Language Association Convention (NeMLA), Boston, MA, February 26-March 1,2008.
  • “Hawthorne and the Obscene: Radical Otherness and ‘The Minister’s Black Veil,’” Northeast Modern Language Association Convention (NeMLA), Buffalo, NY, April 10-13, 2008.
  • “Poe and Ideological Anamorphosis: Sentimental Violence and ‘The Black Cat," Modern Language Association Conference (MLA). Chicago, IL, December 27-31, 2007.
  • "Allegory and Alienation: The Problem of Language in Emerson," Northeast Modern Language Association Convention (NeMLA), Baltimore, MD, 2007
  • "The Human as Instrument of Power: Rethinking Subjection in Response to Cindy Patton’s Analysis of the National Pedagogy for Safe-Sex,” 2001 Popular Culture Association (PCA), Philadelphia, PA, 2001.
  • “Gazing Olympia: Interpellation and the Social Construction of the Visual,” Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Social Imagery (SISSI), Colorado Springs, CO, 2000.