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Brian Lennon

Brian Lennon

Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature

Director, Digital Culture and Media Initiative

416 Burrowes Building

Mail: 430 Burrowes Building

University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 865-6261

Office Hours:

  • Spring 2018: Tuesday 12:00-1:00, Thursday 3:00-4:00 and by appointment at other times


  1. Ph.D., English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Professional Bio

My area of focus is twentieth-century and contemporary textual culture, extending to media theory and the cultural history and political economy of computing. I have published on topics at the intersection of computing, translation, multilingualism, and genre studies, with special interest in the imperial history of philology and the linguistic history of computing. I am the author of In Babel’s Shadow: Multilingual Literatures, Monolingual States (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), a study of literary multilingualism in print culture, and Passwords: Philology, Security, Authentication (Harvard University Press, 2018), a critical history of literary data processing. My current research is on programming languages and cultures of software development.

At Penn State I teach undergraduate courses in new media, digital studies, and contemporary literature. Recent graduate seminars include "Media Theory and Modernity," "Historicizing 'Digital Humanities'," and "Platform, Software and Code Studies." Other undergraduate and graduate teaching has included courses in the theory of the essay, the literary fragment, U.S. nonfiction prose, and literatures of migration and displacement.

In a past life I wrote literature. My literary publications from 1996–2009 included City: An Essay (University of Georgia Press, 2002) and poetry, fiction, and nonfiction published in literary journals.

Areas of Specialization

Contemporary Literature
Multilingual literature; tech industry fiction and memoir; programmed poetry
Theory and Cultural Studies
Media theory; cultural history and political economy of computing; history of philology; critical university studies