Andrew Lyndon Knighton

College of Arts and Letters
Department of English
Office Location ETA615


Andrew Lyndon Knighton photographed in front of a shelf of books.
Andrew Lyndon Knighton (Ph.D., 2004, University of Minnesota) is Professor of English at California State University, Los Angeles.  During his career at Cal State LA, he has served as Chair and Associate Chair of the English Department, Director of the Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, and Director of the Cal State LA/NEH American Communities Program.  He teaches literary and cultural theory, as well as a variety of courses in American literary history. His book, Idle Threats: Men and the Limits of Productivity in Nineteenth-Century America, appeared on New York University Press in 2012, while his research on figures including Herman Melville, Nathanael West, Nathaniel Parker Willis, and Thomas McGrath has been published in journals including ESQ, ATQ, The Journal for the Study of Radicalism, and Literature Interpretation Theory.  His current projects explore the poetry of Los Angeles in the 1950s. 


  • ENGL 3000 -- English Tutorial:  "Bartleby"

  • ENGL 3600 -- Readings in American Literature

  • ENGL 5001 -- Theoretical Foundations of Literary Study



Cover image of Idle Threats: Men and the Limits of Productivity in Nineteenth-Century America.
  • Idle Threats: Men and the Limits of Productivity in Nineteenth-Century America, New York University Press, America and the Long Nineteenth Century series, 2012.

  Other Publications:

  • "Mel Weisburd: Secret Engineer of the Non-Existent City," forthcoming in Resources for American Literary Study 45 (2023).
  • "In Conversation with Claudia Rankine," Bloomsbury Handbook to Contemporary Poetry, ed. Craig Svonkin and Steven Gould Axelrod, Bloomsbury Press (2023).
  • "The Liquidity Preference:  Money and Metaphor in Nineteenth-Century American Literature," 49th Parallel: An Interdisciplinary Journal of North American Studies, Issue 39 (2017).
  • "Holy City Adrift:  Thomas McGrath's Los Angeles" (co-authored with Salvador Ayala, Amanda Kong, and Gabriela Valenzuela), North Dakota Quarterly 83:4 (Fall 2016).
  • "Committed Art,” in German Aesthetics:  Fundamental Concepts from Baumgarten to Adorno, ed. J.D. Mininger and Jason Peck (New York and London: Bloomsbury Press, 2016).
  • "The Life of a Dangerous Time:  Thomas McGrath and the Potential of Poetry," Journal for the Study of Radicalism 9:3 (Fall 2015).
  • "The Wreck of The Corsair:  Nineteenth-Century Publishing and Piratical Enterprise,” in Pirates and Mutineers in Nineteenth-Century Literature, ed. Grace Moore (Ashgate, 2011), pp. 79-94.
  • "Hollywood Panoramatics:  Nathanael West’s Baroque Modernity," Literature Interpretation Theory 21:3 (July- September 2010), pp. 145-162.
  • "Money, Mobility, and the Idle Speculation of Nathaniel Parker Willis," ATQ 22:4 (December 2008), pp. 559-575.
  • "The Bartleby Industry and Bartleby’s Idleness," ESQ 53.2 (2007), pp. 184-21
  • "Transmission, Temporality, Autonomy:  What Praxis Means in the Novels of Kenneth Fearing,” (co-written with Dr. David Jenemann, Univ. of Vermont) in The Novel and the American Left, ed. Janet G. Casey (University Of Iowa Press, 2004), pp. 172-194.

Book Reviews, Exhibition Catalogs, Public Writing, Etc.

  • "Elizabeth Anker and Rita Felski – Critique and Postcritique," American Literary History Online (2017).
  • "Holy City Adrift:  On the Occasion of Thomas McGrath's Centenary Year," Los Angeles Review of Books (June 13, 2016).
  • Adam Cvijanovic: New Paintings, Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis (2008).
  • McKnight Foundation-Minneapolis College of Arts and Design Fellows Exhibition, Minneapolis (2004).
  • “Robert Seguin – Around Quitting Time: Work and Middle-Class Fantasy in American Fiction," Cultural Critique 56 (Winter 2004), pp. 212-218.
  • “Michel Foucault – Fearless Speech," Auslegung:  A Journal of Philosophy 26.1 (Winter-Spring 2003), pp. 77-80.
  • Twins, Soo Visual Arts Center, Minneapolis (2002).
  • “Theodor Adorno – Critical Models," Auslegung:  A Journal of Philosophy 24.2 (Spring-Summer 2001), pp. 215-218.


Past Courses taught at Cal State LA:

Graduate and Senior Seminars: 

  • Theoretical Foundations of Literary Studies 
  • Melville Revivals
  • Bodies of Work:  Whitman and Dickinson
  • Modern American Poetry:  Conflict and Contradiction
  • Melville's Selves
  • The New Critics and Us
  • The American Renaissance and Beyond 
  • The Literary Institution and Other Sites of Reading in American Culture
  • Poe and Print Culture
  • Money and Meaning:  Studies in Economic Criticism
  • Poe, Poetics, Property
  • The Marxist Tradition in Literary Analysis

Undergraduate Courses in English and General Education:

  • English Tutorial: "Bartleby"
  • Modern and Contemporary Poetry
  • Introduction to Archival Research:  The Non-Existent City
  • English Major Mentorship
  • Engaged English Studies: Poetry in Place
  • The American Novel Before 1900 
  • The American Novel 1945-Present
  • Readings in American Literature
  • American Literature, Beginnings to 1860
  • Reading Culture
  • Women and Literature
  • Portfolio:  English Capstone
  • Understanding Literature 


  • Ph.D.     2004         University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Program in Comparative Studies in Discourse in Society (Minor field:  Comparative Literature)
  • M.A.      1997         University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Program in Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society
  • B.A.       1991         University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Majors in Middle Eastern Studies, Political Science