Christopher Benfey
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Christopher Benfey

Christopher Benfey
BornOctober 28, 1954 (1954-10-28) (age 66)
Merion, Pennsylvania, U.S.
NationalityUnited States
SubjectEmily Dickinson
Notable worksDegas in New Orleans: Encounters in the Creole World of Kate Chopin and George Washington

Christopher Benfey (born October 28, 1954) is an American literary critic and Emily Dickinson scholar. He is the Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College.

Early life and education

Benfey was born in Merion, Pennsylvania,[] but spent most of his childhood in Richmond, Indiana.[1] and attended The Putney School.[2] His father was a German immigrant and his mother was from North Carolina.[1] He began his undergraduate studies at Earlham College,[2] where his father, Otto Theodor Benfey, was a professor in the Chemistry department,[1] and completed his B.A. at Guilford College.[2] Benfey holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University.[2]


Benfey is a specialist in 19th and 20th century American literature. He is also an established essayist and critic who has been published in The Atlantic,[3] The New York Times Sunday Book Review, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, and The Times Literary Supplement. He was an art critic for Slate.[4]

He is a Andrew W. Mellon Professor of English.[2] He is a Guggenheim fellow,[5] as well as a fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities.[5]


  • Degas in New Orleans: Encounters in the Creole World of Kate Chopin and George Washington Cable (1999)
  • The Great Wave: Gilded Age Misfits, Japanese Eccentrics, and the Opening of Old Japan, (2003)
  • A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade (2008)
  • American Audacity: Literary Essays North and South (2010)
  • Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay" (2012)


  1. ^ a b c Keller, Julia (May 23, 2012). "Digging in the dirt, author Christopher Benfey unearths his family's story". Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Christopher Benfey". Mount Holyoke College. May 16, 2016. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ "Christopher Benfey". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ Klein, Julia M. (June 2008). "Christopher Benfey's Flight of Fancy". Chronicle of Higher Education (v54 n41): B17.
  5. ^ a b Goodall, Hannah (2020). "LibGuides: BIRSS: Stephen Crane and The Red Badge of Courage: Keynote Speaker - Dr. Christopher Benfey". Retrieved 2020.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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