Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley.
M.A., University of Chicago.
B.A., Harvard University.
Areas of Focus:
Twentieth-century literature, economics, and sexuality; modernism and mass politics; film studies
Michael Tratner grew up in Hollywood, where the arts, business and government are hard to tell apart, and he still feels most at home among critics who treat literature, economics and politics as inseparable.
He is the author of two books of criticism. The first, Modernism and Mass Politics: Joyce, Woolf, Eliot, Yeats, argues that modernists developed new literary forms in order to participate in the new, collectivist forms of mass politics emerging in the early twentieth century. The second, Deficits and Desires: Economics, Sexuality and Literature in the Twentieth Century, examines how morality and psychology changed when "being in debt" became a normal part of everyday life and governmental policy during the 20's and 30's.
His latest project, Movies and Mass Politics, returns him to his childhood city, for a study of how Hollywood movies borrowed the innovations of Fascist and Communist filmmakers while struggling against the politics of those innovations.
In his teaching, he has tried to demonstrate that bringing politics and literature together increases the instruction and entertainment to be derived from both.
229 - Movies and Mass Politics (crosslisted w/ Comp.Lit)
234 - Postcolonial Literature in English
244 - Poetry as Cultural Criticism
290 - Twentieth Century Novels
292 - Introduction to Critical Theories
354 - Virginia Woolf
322 - Love and Money
377 - James Joyce