Kelsey L. Bennett

Honors Program Director Kelsey L Bennett
Kelsey L. Bennett
Honors Program Director
B.A., Saint John's College, Santa Fe
Ph.D., University of Denver
(970) 943-7021
Office Location: 
Taylor Hall Honors Center 110A
Honors Department
Communication Arts, Languages & Literature Department
Academic Program: 
Communication Arts
Honors Program
Writing the Rockies Annual Conference


In my teaching and research, I am interested in the transatlantic intersections of art and ideas as they manifest themselves in literature.  My book Principle & Propensity (2014) provides a critical reassessment of the bildungsroman, beginning with its largely overlooked theological premises: bildung as formation of the self in the image of God. Further, it examines the dynamic differences, tensions, and possibilities that arise as interest in spiritual growth, or self-formation, collides with the democratic and quasi-democratic culture in the nineteenth-century British and American bildungsroman.

I have received a two-year Enduring Questions grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that supports the development and teaching of a new undergraduate seminar, designed primarily for Honors students, to explore the purpose of art.  My essays, articles, and reviews appear in New England Review, The New Criterion, Brontë Studies, The Colorado Review, Notes on Contemporary Literature, Gunnison Valley Journal, and elsewhere. My current work continues the interdisciplinary focus, with projects that include an investigation into the ways in which nineteenth century authors, such as Henry James, engaged the visual cultures of their time, and a monograph on the Colorado-based painter, David Klingsmith.

Selected Publications:

-- Principle & Propensity: Experience and Religion in the Nineteenth-Century British and American BildungsromanColumbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2014.

--  "Everything That Cannot Be Undone: On Reading and the Poetry of David Yezzi." New England Review 37.4 (December 2016).

--  Review of Julie Wosk’s Breaking Frame: Technology, Art, and Design in the Nineteenth CenturyThe Victorian Web: Literature, History, and Culture in the Age of Victoria. (January 2015).

-- “Beauty is Not for Us to Make.” The New Criterion 30.9 (May 2012).

-- “Exile and the Reconciling Power of the Natural Affections in Jane Eyre.” Brontë Studies 37.1 (January 2012): 19-29.

-- “Baudelaire’s Dark Mirror.” The New Criterion 29.5 (January 2011).

-- Review of Michael D. Burke’s The Same River Twice: A Boatman’s Journey HomeColorado Review (Summer 2010).

-- “Ethics in John Fowles’s The Collector.” Notes on Contemporary Literature 37.4 (Sept. 2007).


Undergraduate courses taught at Western:

Word & Image: Writers on Art (Honors); Shakespeare’s Outcasts and Dreamers; Tolstoy and the Ethics of Fiction; Literary Culture of the American West; Women and Literature; Introduction to Literature; Introduction to the Great Conversation (Honors); The Gateway (Honors)

Teaching Experience:

 2016-present: Honors Program Director

2011-present: Lecturer in English, Western State Colorado University

2003-2010: Adjunct lecturer in English, University of Denver

Person Type: