Saint Louis University

Georgia Johnston, Ph.D.

Georgia Johnston

Adorjan 220

Georgia Johnston studies the cultures and literature of the early twentieth century. She has particular interests in Modernist Autobiography in terms of sexual theories of the period. Her 2007 book, The Formation of 20th-century Queer Autobiography, shows how autobiographical forms intersect with theories of desire. Her current book project, Modernism's Civilizations, focuses on the moment when evolutionary deviancy cannot provide an adequate binary opposition for the meaning of civilization, with resulting changes in textuality, genre, and subjectivities.

Georgia Johnston received her Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1992, where she specialized in literature by Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein. During her tenure at Saint Louis University she has served as Director and Co-Director of the Women's Studies Program; Committee Chair of Undergraduate, Graduate, and Placement Programs in English; and as the Acting Chair of the Department of English. In 1998, she organized and hosted at Saint Louis University the annual International Virginia Woolf Conference.

M.A. in Creative Writing, University of California at Davis (1983)
M.A. in English, Rutgers University (1990)
Ph.D. in English, Rutgers University (1992)

Twentieth Century British Literature and Culture, Autobiography, Creative Writing (Poetry), Women and Literature, Queer Studies, Twentieth-Century Poetry



The Formation of 20th-Century Queer Autobiography: Reading Vita Sackville-West, Virginia Woolf, Hilda Doolittle, and Gertrude Stein. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, May 2007. In general, Formation explores how autobiographical generic form depends upon and challenges cultural theories of subjectivity. Specifically, I argue that modernist lesbian autobiography, by queering the genre, contextualizes autobiography historically and politically, exposing the patriarchal and heterosexual basis of psychological and sexological theories.


Dr. Johnston has published articles in journals that include Biography, Woolf Studies Annual, Modern Fiction Studies, Oxford Literary Review, Journal of Modern Literature, LIT, and Women's Studies. Most recent and forthcoming articles by Dr. Johnston include:

  • "Queer Lives: Wilde, Sackville-West, and Woolf." A History of English Autobiography. Ed. Adam Smyth. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP. Invited. Expected publication date 2015.
  • "Modernist Poetry, Sexuality, and Gender." A History of Modernist Poetry. Ed. Alex Davis and Lee M. Jenkins. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP. Invited. Expected publication date 2014.
  • "Narratives of Ethnography in The Cat's Cradle-Book." The Journal of the Sylvia Townsend Warner Society (2011): 51-67.
  • "H.D. and Gender: Queering the Reading." In The Cambridge Companion to H.D. Ed. Nephie J. Christodoulides and Polina Mackay. Cambridge UP, 2011. 63-76.
  • "Virginia Woolf's Talk on the Dreadnought Hoax." (Introduction and Annotated Typescript.) Woolf Studies Annual 14 (2009): 1-45.
  • "Teaching Queer Lives." InTeaching Life Writing Texts. Ed. Miriam Fuchs and Craig Howes. New York: MLA, 2008. Invited. 336-342.
  • "Discourses of Autobiographical Desires: Samuel Delany's Nevèrÿon Series." Biography 30.1 (Winter 2007): 61-73.
  • "Counterfeit Perversion: Vita Sackville-West's Portrait." Journal of Modern Literature 28.1 (Fall 2004): 124-137.
  • "From the Margins of Derrida: Samuel Delany's Sex and Race." Oxford Literary Review 25 (2003): 219-238.
  • "Politics of Retrospective Space in Virginia Woolf's Memoir 'A Sketch of the Past.'" Mapping of the Self: Space, Identity, Discourse in British Auto/Biography.
  • Saint-Etienne, France: Publications de l'Universite de Saint-Etienne, 2003. 285-296.
  • "Geography of the Closet: Paul Monette's Autobiography." Biography 25.1 (Winter 2002): 81-89.
  • 'Textualizing Ellen: the Patriarchal "I" of Flaubert's Parrot.' West Virginia University Philological Papers 46 (2000): 64-69.
  • Lyn Hejinian's Repetition: A Narratology of Autobiography's Reading." Sagetrieb 18.1 (Spring 1999): 41-57.


Essays on Transgressive Readings: Reading Over the Lines. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press, l997. (Editor). The anthology foregrounds the textual codes and manipulations that make possible transgression of normative cultural prescriptions, with resultant changes in cultural expectations.

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