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Frank G. Novak, professor of English

Frank G. Novak

Professor of English
Humanities/Teacher Education Division, Seaver College
CAC 308


Frank Novak teaches courses in the Great Books Colloquium, American literature, and modern European literature. He has served as Faculty-in-Residence for the academic year with the Heidelberg and Florence International Programs; he also served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Maribor in Slovenia. He has several publications on the life and work of Lewis Mumford, the celebrated American public intellectual. He has also published essays on Herman Melville, Henry James, Willa Cather, John Fowles, and John Updike. His “trinity” of favorite authors includes Herman Melville, Thomas Mann, and W.G. Sebald.


  • BA, Harding College
  • MA, Ph.D., University of Tennessee



  • "In Old Friendship": The Correspondence of Lewis Mumford and Henry A. Murray (Syracuse: Syracuse University press, 2007).

  • Lewis Mumford and Patrick Geddes: The Correspondence (London and New York: Routledge, 1995).

  • The Autobiographical Writings of Lewis Mumford: A Study in Literary Audacity (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, Biography Monograph Series, 1988).

Selected Articles

  • "Henry James's Portrait of Evil: A Study in Narcissistic Rage," PsyArt 20 (2016): 50-68.
  • "'Strangely Fertilising': Henry James's Venice and Isabel Archer's Rome," American Literary Realism 55 (Winter 2013): 146-165.
  • "The Satanic Personality in Updike's Roger's Version," Christianity and Literature 55 (Fall 2005): 3-26.
  • "The Kraken in the Computer," Studies in the Novel 37 (Spring 2005): 82-96.
  • "Master and Disciple: Selections from the Patrick Geddes-Lewis Mumford Letters," Horns of Plenty: Malcolm Cowley and His Generation 2 (Fall 1989): 45-62.

  • "Lewis Mumford and the Reclamation of Human History," Clio: A Journal of Literature, History and the Philosophy of History 16 (Winter 1987):159-181.

  • "Crisis and Discovery in The Professor's House," Colby Library Quarterly 22 (June 1986): 119-132.

  • "Divine Provocateur: Ralph Waldo Emerson's American Preacher," Restoration Quarterly 28 (1985/86): 87-96.

  • "The Dialectics of Debasement in The Magus," Modern Fiction Studies 31 (Spring 1985): 73-82."

  • 'Warmest Climes but Nurse the Cruellest Fangs': The Metaphysics of Beauty and Terror in Moby-Dick," Studies in the Novel 15 (Winter 1983): 332-343. Reprinted in Harold Bloom, ed., Modern Critical Interpretations: Herman Melville's Moby-Dick (New York: Chelsea House, 1986): 119-130.

  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Seminar For College Teachers Fellowship (Univ. of North  Carolina at Chapel Hill, Summer 1981); topic: "Modern American Cultural Criticism." Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Award in the Humanities (Research Grant, 1990).


  • Fulbright Senior Scholar Award in American Literature (University of Maribor, Slovenia, February-June 1994).


  • Irvine Diversity Workshop Fellow (Pepperdine University, Summer 1998).


  • Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies Teaching Grant (2013, 2016).


  • Silberman Seminar for Faculty (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, June 2019); topic: “Displacement, Migration, and the Holocaust.”


Representative Presentations:

  • "Storm Over Atlanta: Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full and the Critics," American Literature Association Conference, San Francisco, CA (May 2018).
  • "Humor and Horror in Two Stories of the Holocaust by Nathan Englander," Society for the Study of the American Short Story Symposium, Savannah, GA (October 2016).
  • "Paul Gray, Time Magazine, and American Literary Culture in the Late Twentieth Century," American Literature Association Conference, Boston, MA (May 2015).
  • "Modern Classics of the Quest: The Magic Mountain and Austerlitz as Core Texts," Association for Core Texts and Courses Conference, Los Angeles, CA (April 2014).
  • "Henry James's Portrait of Evil: The Narcissistic Rage of Gilbert Osmond," American Literature Association Conference, San Francisco (May 2012).
  • "Hans Castorp's Excellent Adventures: The Dantean Quest in The Magic Mountain," Association for Core Texts and Courses Conference, New Haven, CT (2011).
  • "Lewis Mumford's Visions and Revisions of the Historic City," Society for American City and Regional Planning History, Oakland, CA (2009).
  • "Hate Your Neighbor, Destroy Your Brother: The Satanic Personality in Roger's Version," Western Conference on Christianity and Literature, Westmont College (2005).
  • "Communities of Life, Death, and Learning in The Magic Mountain," Association for Core Texts and Courses Conference, Irving, TX (2004).
  • "Lewis Mumford, the Humanities, and the Aims of Education," Association for Core Texts and Courses Conference, University of Notre Dame (2001).


  • American Fiction
  • American Cultural Criticism


  • Great Books Colloquium, I-IV
  • Modern European Literature
  • Literary Heroines of the Nineteenth Century
  • Contemporary Jewish American Fiction
  • Literature of the Holocaust
  • Realism and Naturalism in the American Novel
  • The Modern American Novel