Manya Lempert

Assistant Professor

Manya Lempert is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Arizona. She received her B.A. in English and French from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Her book Tragedy and the Modernist Novel is coming out with Cambridge University Press next year. She specializes in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century novel, ancient and modern tragedy and philosophy, and theories of evolution. She researches the role of chance in both tragedy and evolutionary biology: why scientists, philosophers, and literary critics have been so intent upon banishing chance from narratives of natural and personal history. Professor Lempert also works on European modernism and the history of nihilism in philosophy and fiction. Her book is the first study of novelistic tragedy in the modernist period. It contends that Darwin’s vision of nature inspired authors across Europe to re-imagine tragedy as a clash between human and nonhuman time scales. Treating the fiction of Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, Fernando Pessoa, Clarice Lispector, Albert Camus, and Samuel Beckett, Lempert finds that modernism generates its own tragic philosophy. “Virginia Woolf, Charles Darwin, and the Rebirth of Tragedy” is available here:;“Thomas Hardy’s Theory of TragIc Character” is available here: Professor Lempert presents and publishes on tragedy and climate change, and is currently editing a volume of new essays on tragedy. At the U of A, Professor Lempert has reviewed for Arizona Quarterly, participated in the Disability Studies Working Group, and co-organized the McLaughlin-Weber Lecture Series in British and World Literature. Research Interests: Modernism, Victorian Literature, Nineteenth- and Twentieth-century Novel, Twentieth-century British and French Literature, Literature and Philosophy, Literature and Science, Theory of the Novel, Postcolonial Literature, Ethics of Reading, Tragedy