Dr. Stephen Sicari


Dr. Stephen Sicari

Department Chair

Professor, B.A., Manhattan College,

M.A., Cornell University,

Ph.D., Cornell University

Research Focus: Literary Modernism; the History of the Novel; Religion and Modernist Poetry

Stephen Sicari received his PhD from Cornell University in 1986 and came to St John’s after ten years at Adelphi University in Long Island. He has been Chair of the English Department since 1997. His research has focused on the ways certain canonical modernist texts look to ancient and medieval models for inspiration. His first book, Pound’s Epic Ambition (SUNY Press, 1991), examined how Pound’s Cantos reenacted the epic trajectories of Homer, Virgil, and especially Dante. In Joyce’s Modernist Allegory (U of South Carolina Press, 2001), he demonstrated how Joyce used the Biblical and Dantesque versions of allegory in writing Ulysses. His most recent book, Modernist Humanism: The Men of 1914 (U of South Carolina Press, 2011), describes how certain high modernist writers (Pound, Joyce, Eliot, and Wyndham Lewis, the “Men of 1914”) work to renew a humanist tradition after the devastation of the First World War.

His current book project is called “Modernist Theologies: A Re-formation of Religion in Modernist Poetry.” The relation of modernist poetry to religion is an emerging concern in modernist studies, and the efforts of inter-religious theologians of the present may prove to be a new way to study the way modernist poets worked to create new forms for religious feeling and belief. An essay called “’We keep coming back and coming back to the real’”: The Theology of Wallace Stevens” will appear next year in the Wallace Stevens Journal.