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Ronald Schleifer

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Ronald Schleifer

George Lynn Cross Research Professor
Adjunct Professor in Medicine

Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1975

Prof. Schleifer is George Lynn Cross Research Professor of English and Adjunct Professor in the College of Medicine. From 1976 to 2000 he served as editor of Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture; and from 1986 to 1999 he served as co-editor of The Oklahoma Project for Discourse and Theory, a book series published by the University of Oklahoma Press. In 1999 he was the director of the Annual Convention for the Society for Literature and Science, held in Norman. In 2012 he served as interim editor of Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology, where he currently serves on the editorial board. Prof. Schleifer is also served as co-editor of Mariner 10: Cross-Disciplinary DVD-ROMS, a series of electronic, interactive titles published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Prof. Schleifer has written, translated, or edited twenty-two books and more than one hundred articles and book chapters. In recent years, he has been invited to lecture in Lausanne, Moscow, Salzburg, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Bristol, Durham, and London. He teaches twentieth-century literature and literary and cultural theory for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as courses on literature and medicine at the Norman and OU Health Sciences Center campuses. He has also developed a seminar for scholarly writing for graduate students, which he has offered at OU in a campus-wide course sponsored by the Graduate College. He recently completed (during the pandemic) two books: Literary Studies and Well-Being and Modernist Poetics in China (co-authored with Tiao Wang).  This last book along with the three books from Cambridge University Press noted below contributes to his long-term study, "The Culture of Modernism."  In 2022, he and Dr. Vannatta presented a webinar, “Literature and Medicine: How the Humanities Can and Should Contribute to Healthcare Training” in The OU Humanities and Health Webinar Series available at

Office: Cate 2, Room 303

Teaching and Research Interests:

Twentieth-century literature; literature and medicine; critical theory; semiotics


  • Literary Studies and Well-Being: Structures of Experience in the Worldly Work of Literature and Healthcare, Bloomsbury Academic 2023 [forthcoming].  This book will be published as an Open Access Publication.
  • Modernist Poetics in China: Consumerist Economics and Chinese Literary Modernism, (co-authored with Tiao Wang), Palgrave Studies in Literature, Culture and Economics, 2022 [forthcoming].
  • Literature and Medicine: A Practical and Pedagogical Guide, (co-authored with Dr. Jerry Vannatta), Palgrave, 2019.
  • A Political Economy of Modernism: Literature, Post-Classical Economics, and the Lower Middle-Class (Cambridge, 2018).
  • Pain and Suffering. Routledge Series Integrating Science and Culture, 2014; translated into Chinese  《拥抱疼痛》(Yong Bao Teng Tong), Central China Normal University Press, 2017.
  • The Chief Concern of Medicine: Integrating the Medical Humanities and Narrative Knowledge into Medical Practices (co-authored with Dr. Jerry Vannatta, M.D.), Michigan, 2013.
  • Modernism and Popular Music, Cambridge, 2011.
  • Intangible Materialism: The Body, Scientific Knowledge, and the Power of Poetry, Minnesota, 2009.
  • Medicine and Humanistic Understanding (DVD-ROM co-authored with Jerry Vannatta, M.D., and Sheila Crow), University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.
  • Modernism and Time: The Logic of Abundance in Literature, Science, and Culture 1880-1930, Cambridge, 2000.
  • Analogical Thinking: Post-Enlightenment Understanding of Language, Collaboration, and Interpretation, Michigan, 2000.
  • Culture and Cognition: The Boundaries of Literary and Scientific Inquiry (co-author with Robert Con Davis and Nancy Mergler), Cornell, 1992; re-published as one of “twenty outstanding out-of-print titles in medieval studies, classics, and science education freely accessible to a global audience as ebook” that Cornell issued as a digital book in 2018 with a grant from the NEH.
  • Criticism and Culture: The Role of Critique in Modern Literary Theory (co-author with R. C. Davis), Longman, 1991.
  • Rhetoric and Death: The Language of Modernism and Postmodern Discourse Theory, Illinois, 1990.
  • A. J. Greimas and the Nature of Meaning: Linguistics, Semiotics, and Discourse Theory, Routledge and Nebraska, 1987; reprinted in Routledge Library Editions: Literary Theory, 2017.

Edited Collections:

  • A Postmodern Bible Reader edited with David Jobling and Tina Pippin, Blackwell Publishers, 2001.
  • Contemporary Literary Criticism: Literary and Cultural Studies, fourth edition edited with Robert Con Davis, Longman, 1998: additional editions 1994, 1989.
  • Rhetoric and Form: Deconstruction at Yale, edited with Robert Con Davis, Oklahoma, 1985.
  • Kierkegaard and Literature: Irony, Repetition, and Criticism, edited with Robert Markley, Oklahoma, 1984.
  • The Genres of the Irish Literary Revival, Wolfhound Press, Dublin and Pilgrim Books, 1980.


  • Structural Semantics: An Attempt at a Method, by A. J. Greimas, translated by Daniele McDowell, Ronald Schleifer, and Alan Velie, Nebraska, 1983.
  • A. J. Greimas, “How to Define the Indefinite,” translated by Albert Samuel Whisman and Ronald Schleifer, Genre 43 (2010).

Guest Editor:

  • Poststructural Pope: "The Rape of the Lock" and Contemporary Literary Theory, in The New Orleans Review (1988).
  • Needful Things: Translation of Language, Media, and Culture (edited with Timothy Murphy), a special double-issue of Genre 43 (2010).
  • Special Section: Theories of Corporeal Experience in Experimental Literary Practices (compiled with Tatiana Venediktova), New Literary Observer, Ужасающаяактуальность боли: Семиотика и возможность репрезентации чувственного опыта (пер. с англ. Андрея Логутова), Moscow, Fall 2015 (essays in Russian).