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EIU Department of English


Jad Smith, Professor of English

Office: 3605 - Coleman Hall

Fall 2021 Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; Wednesdays 2:00-3:00 p.m.


Jad Smith is a Professor of British Literature and Cultural Studies and a member of the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies faculty. Jad teaches graduate seminars titled Enlightenment Sexualities, Literature and Visual Culture in the Long Eighteenth Century, Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Drama in Performance, and Science Fiction Vanguards: New Wave and Cyberpunk, as well as a range of undergraduate courses.


Doctor of Philosophy, Carnegie Mellon University


Eighteenth-century British literature, science fiction, literary and cultural theory

Selected Publications

Alfred Bester, Modern Masters of Science Fiction Series (University of Illinois Press, 2016).

Included on Locus Magazine's 2016 Recommended Reading List in the nonfiction category. Available through University of Illinois Press, and through Amazon and other online retailers.

Review and Comment:

"Smith's work is remarkable and irreplaceable . . ."
                          - Barry N. Malzberg, Galaxy's Edge Magazine

"Smith has made another lively contribution to understanding science fiction and its development, proving that academic and scholarly overview can also be of interest to the 'fan.'"

- John Howard, Wormwood 30

"Jad Smith's work is a seminal study of Alfred Bester . . . It will be of keen interest to seasoned sf scholars as well as uninitiated readers looking for a quick introduction to this under-studied but influential sf author."

- Jerome Winter, SFRA Review

"For anyone approaching the study of Alfred Bester, Jad Smith's Alfred Bester serves as a comprehensive and valuable introduction to the formal qualities of his work."

- Dennis Wilson Wise, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

"Readable, knowledgeable, insightful, and altogether a success."
                          - James Gunn, Center for the Study of Science Fiction 

"Jad Smith appears to know everything about Alfred Bester's career, and there's no career in SF more worth knowing about. On the strength of two indispensable novels, three unreadable ones, and a couple of dozen short stories--some of them barely passable, but others astonishing--Bester electrified SF, fathering the New Wave and grandfathering cyberpunk. Jad Smith explains exactly how he did it." 
                          - Brian McHale, author of Postmodernist Fiction

"Smith depicts the author as a man of wide scope whose literary influences . . . endowed his best writing with a sophistication lacking in many pulp writers. By the time of his death in 1987, he was acknowledged by the rising generation of cyberpunk writers for, as Smith says, 'marrying the gaudy, pop-culture feel of pulp fiction with high style.'"
                          - David Luhrssen, Shepherd Express

"Smith's examination of Bester's stellar trajectory from pulp fiction writer to Science Fiction Grand Master is augmented with looks into Bester's personal life, how he looked at mainstream science fiction, and his determination to forge his own path in a field that didn't see him coming."
                          - Kirkus Reviews

John Brunner, Modern Masters of Science Fiction Series (University of Illinois Press, January 2013)
      Q & A about John Brunner with the University of Illinois Press

Review and Comment:

"Smith paints a vivid picture of a frequently overlooked yet highly influential author whose work bridged classic science fiction and New Wave. . . . Highly recommended."
                          - S. E. Vie, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic

"The new 'Modern Masters of Science Fiction' series from University of Illinois Press promises a category of monograph that up to now has not been common in sf criticism: book-length retrospectives devoted to the careers of major authors in the genre. The first of these to arrive is Jad Smith's fascinating new book on John Brunner, and if Smith's approach in John Brunner represents the quality of the series as a whole, 'Modern Masters of Science Fiction' will undoubtedly prove an important resource for scholars of sf and fantasy in the coming decades. Smith's exhaustively researched book puts Brunner's many novels into conversation with his public lectures, interviews, private letters, and political activism, as well as with longstanding fan debates about the essence of sf. The result casts a new--and, at times, quite tragic--light on the complicated legacy of this important figure in the history of the genre."
                          - Gerry Canavan, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

"University of Illinois Press plan forthcoming books on Gregory Benford, Alfred Bester, Ray Bradbury, Lois McMaster Bujold, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Greg Egan, William Gibson, Joe Haldeman, China Miéville, and Connie Willis. If they’re as good as Jad Smith’s John Brunner I’ll be buying them all."
                          - George Kelley, "Forgotten Books" #206

"John Brunner proves to be an excellent model for what later volumes in the series might look like – clearly and accessibly written, free of theoretical or historical hobbyhorses, and meticulously researched. . . . Smith paints a fascinating portrait of the rapidly changing world of Anglo-American SF of the 1950s through the 1980s, and of the significant role that Brunner played as a kind of bridge between SF traditions."
                          - Gary K. Wolfe, Locus Magazine

"Smith’s analyses caused me to hunt out stories I have (in the yellowing and fragile pages of the Nova magazines) in order to read them at last: fine and often ground-breaking work that really does seem to have been all but forgotten for decades....It is to be hoped that this book succeeds in its aim of establishing John Brunner in his rightful place as one of the truly important modern writers of fantastic fiction."
                          - John Howard, Wormwood 20

"The real strength of Smith’s book is in situating Brunner’s work within the context of its time. This is a fascinating story, and well worth the study."
                          - Paul Kincaid, Extrapolation

"Smith writes in an engaging style, unstintingly chronicling the vicissitudes of the man’s life as well as rightfully hailing his triumphs. . . . As a general conclusion, if this is the calibre of entries in this series, then there is much to look forward to."
                          - Simon Marshall-Jones, The Spectral Press

"Though coming from a university press -- it forms part of the Modern Masters of Science Fiction series from the University of Illinois Press -- this book isn't steeped in literary criticism or swamped in jargon; general readers interested in the subject will find it perfectly accessible. . . . This book left me keen to read more Brunner, and also to read further titles in the Modern Masters range."
                          - Stephen Theaker, interzone

"The comparative neglect of the late John Brunner probably derives from the fact that he does not fit comfortably into any of the standard models of discourse within science-fiction criticism; one of the strengths of Jad Smith’s work is that it addresses this. . . . He also pays appropriate amounts of attention to Brunner’s exploration of other genres – fantasy, horror, and crime – and his non-genre work."
                          - Roz Kaveney, Times Literary Supplement

"Ora, la bella biografia di Jad Smith, pubblicata dall’Università dell’Illinois nella collana Modern Masters of Science Fiction, sembra destinata a restituire Brunner al posto che gli spetta nel pantheon della letteratura fantascientifica,e promette di riaprire i dibattiti e le controversie sull’opera dell’autore."
                          - Il futuro è tornato

"Based on extensive research and filled with thoughtful commentary and insights, Jad Smith's book will stand alone as the one essential resource on John Brunner, an important science fiction writer who merits much more attention than he has so far received."
                          - Gary Westfahl, author of Hugo Gernsback and the
of Science Fiction

"Smith gives an insightful, succinct account of a tireless writer disparaged from both ends during his peak years—the ‘60s and ‘70s—as too literary and too pulpy. Smith’s biography shows how Brunner balanced craft and conscience in stories at once page turning and complex."
                          - David Luhrssen, Express Milwaukee

"Il est extrêmement agréable de rencontrer enfin un ouvrage qui propose une vision de Brunner qui sorte des clichés habituels. Il faut remercier Jad Smith pour son analyse solidement étayée qui dépasse le cadre habituel de la seule prise en considération des 4 romans dystopiques (Stand on Zanzibar/The jagged orbit/The sheep look up/The shockwave rider, la 'tétralogie noire', un terme inventé et circoncis à certain sites francophones)."
                          - GHOR

"The University of Illinois is publishing a series of monographs called Modern Masters of Science Fiction. They've started with an excellent, and all too forgotten, one: John Brunner. Jad Smith has given him a thorough and perceptive treatment. Highly recommended."
                          - Arthur D. Hlavaty, editor of Nice Distinctions

"If you have any interest in science fiction and have read John Brunner, then I see this as an essential read."
                          - Stephen C. Ormsby, author of Long Lost Song

"I recommend this book to anyone who is an admirer of John Brunner or is a fan of science fiction history."
                          - The Website at the End of the Universe

Selected Articles
"Teaching Ephemera: The Eighteenth-Century Culture of Charity in the Contemporary Classroom," in Encountering Ephemera 1500-1800: Scholarship, Performance, Classroom, eds. Joshua B. Fisher and Rebecca Steinberger (2012)

"Charity Education and the Spectacle of 'Christian Entertainment,'" inThe Culture of the Gift in Eighteenth-Century England, eds. Linda Zionkowski and Cynthia Klekar (2009)

"Custom, Association, and the Mixed Mode: Locke's Early Theory of Cultural Reproduction," English Literary History 73.4 (2006)

"How Fanny Comes to Know: Sensation, Sexuality, and the Epistemology of the Closet in Cleland’s Memoirs," The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 44.2-3 (2003)

"Völkisch Organicism and the Use of Primitivism in Lawrence’s The Plumed Serpent," D. H. Lawrence Review 30.3 (2002)

Art Essays
"Chris Kahler's Dialumens," Introduction, Dialumens Exhibition Catalog, Bruno David Gallery, St. Louis (February 2014)

"Disequencing: Chris Kahler," Introduction, Disequencing Exhibition Catalog, Bruno David Gallery, St. Louis (April 2013)


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Charleston, IL 61920
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