Daniel Kiefer

Professor Emeritus, English

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Ph.D., English literature, Yale University, 1985

M.A., English literature, Yale University, 1980

B.A., English literature, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Boston University, 1978


Areas of Expertise

  • Nineteenth-century British and American poetry

  • Critical theory

  • Freud and psychoanalysis

  • Queer theory and culture

  • Milton

  • Shakespeare

  • Dante

  • Contemporary drama

Professional Background

My research has grown out of my teaching, with special emphasis on poetry and drama, the genres of literature that allow lyric feeling its greatest scope.

Joining Professor Bill McDonald and his students and colleagues in our collaborative work on J. M. Coetzee's "Disgrace" has revitalized my scholarly efforts. More than the essays we wrote, edited and published together on Coetzee's novel, what energized me was the whole experience of fashioning a project with teaching at its heart.

The Johnston experiment, ongoing now for more than forty years, has been my greatest inspiration as a teacher. Really to give students full authority in the seminar, the classroom and the living-learning center takes courage. The results are often astonishing and wonderful, as their minds grow under their own impulse.

Directing the Proudian Interdisciplinary Honors Program for the past ten years has enlarged my interest beyond the arts and humanities to the behavioral sciences and the natural sciences. It has given me the chance to work with the brightest, most adventurous students at the University and follow their progress through their concentrations and their cross-disciplinary explorations. My part in advising them as they plot and complete their senior honors projects is immensely rewarding, because I see them flourish in their own individual ways.


Courses Taught

ENGL 201 Critical Reading

Romanticism and the Feminine Imagination

ENGL 361 Tennyson and Browning

ENGL 323 Milton and the Romantics

ENGL 118 Literature of the Bible

ENGL 402 Literary Theory and Criticism

Interdisciplinary Honors Seminar in the Humanities

Terrific Writers (First-year Seminar)

Reeling and Writhing (First-year Seminar)

Queer Activism and Theory

Freud's Rhetoric

Queer Voices in Popular Culture

Current Fiction: Lesbian and Gay Novels

Dante's Commedia

ENGL 221 Shakespeare to 1600

ENGL 222 Shakespeare after 1600

Introduction to British Literature

Literature in England (travel course to Britain)


Previous Teaching Experience

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Assistant Professor of English, 1983-1991

University of Cincinnati, C. P. Taft Postdoctoral fellowship, 1984-1985

Professional Experience

Printer and publisher, New England Free Press, Boston, 1971-73


"Sympathy for the Devil," in Encountering "Disgrace": Reading and Teaching Coetzee's Novel, Camden House, 2009

"The Failure of Revelation in 'Angels in America,'" American Drama (4:1), Fall 1994

"'Abstracted in His Dreams#: Katharine Tynan's `W. B. Yeats,#" with James J. McFadden; edition of Tynan's 1910 memoir of Yeats; Modern Philology (88:3), February 1991

Book in Progress

"Whitman's Darkest Leaves," his poetic figurations of perverse desire, language as the beloved body, examined according to formalist, psychoanalytic and queer theories

Awards, Honors, Grants

Innovative Teaching Award, University of Redlands, 2007

Armacost Award for Faculty Service to Alumni, Redlands, 2002

Outstanding Teacher Award, University of Redlands, 1993

Daniel Dorchester prize for senior essay on Gerard Manley Hopkins, Boston University, 1978

Invited Presentations

On Tennessee Williams, "The Glass Menagerie," Old Globe Theater, San Diego, for U of Redlands Alumni

"Whitman's Darkest Leaves," Redlands Faculty Forum, October 2006

"Nowhere and Everywhere," MLA Convention, December 2003 session on Generalists in the Small College Department

"John Steinbeck's Eloquence," Steinbeck House, Salinas, California, for U of Redlands Alumni, September, 1999

On Moisés Kaufman, "Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde," March 1998, Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, for U of Redlands Alumni

"Destruction in Whitman's Calamus Poems," International Conference on Despair and Desire, November 1996

On Tony Kushner, "Angels in America," November 1992, Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, for U of Redlands Alumni

"Moneta's Blank Likeness," MLA Convention, December 1991, special session, Keats and the Feminine (organizer as well)

"Whitman's Debris of Voice," MLA Convention, December 1985, special session, American Poetic Voice


Rancho Mirage Public Library : "Twain and Faulkner," Winter 2002; "Wharton and James," Winter 2001; "Jane Austen's Novels," Winter 1999 and 2000; "Romantic Poetry," Fall 1997

Temecula Library, Temecula, California: "Poets Today," three series on contemporary poets, 1994-1996, the first sponsored by the NEH and the second by the California Council on the Humanities


Contributing faculty member, Johnston Center for Integrative Studies

Phi Beta Kappa, University Chapter Selection Committee

Queers and Friends Faculty Caucus, Founder and Convener, 1999-2003