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Verna Kale

Verna Kale

Associate Editor, The Letters of Ernest Hemingway and
Assistant Research Professor of English
Preferred Pronouns: she/her
(814) 865-1879
6 Burrowes Building
Mailroom: 430 Burrowes Building

Mailroom: 430 Burrowes Building

Verna Kale

Spring 2024 Office Hours

Not teaching Spring 2024; office hours by appointment


PhD English -- The Pennsylvania State University
MA English -- The Pennsylvania State University
Fulbright full grant -- The Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
BA English and German -- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Professional Bio

I earned my PhD from Penn State in 2010 with specializations in 19th- and 20th-century American literature and textual scholarship. I am co-editor with Sandra Spanier and Miriam B. Mandel of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway Volume 6 (1934-1936); the author of a biography of Hemingway ( Ernest Hemingway , part of the Critical Lives series published by Reaktion Books/The  U of Chicago P, 2016); and editor of Teaching Hemingway and Gender (part of the Teaching Hemingway series published by Kent State UP, 2016).  I have also contributed scholarship, essays, and creative writing to The Hemingway Review, The Journal of Popular Culture, Literary Mama, Barrelhouse, River Teeth, The Journal of English Renaissance Studies, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Richmond Family Magazine, among others. In my spare time I enjoy photography, trivia (I am a Jeopardy! alumna and active LearnedLeaguer), working on earning "pollinator friendly" certification for my yard, tweeting (views are my own), and exploring Central PA with my family.

Praise for Ernest Hemingway (2016):

"Contrary to Hemingway's hale and hearty public persona (over which he ultimately lost control), his life was essentially tragic - pitiful and heartbreaking, really - and through her conciseness Kale makes the reader feel this bitter truth with particular intensity. This is a sad book, even among studies of Hemingway. And a hard book to put down. [...] Never once guilty of hero-worship, but always respectful of Hemingway's unique genius, Kale does full justice to the writer's contradictions and failings. [...] A welcome addition to the Critical Lives series, this short biography packs an incredible amount of information and insight into a small package and would be impossible to improve upon." -- Steve Trout

"[Kale] abstracts a core contradiction at the heart of the Hemingway mythos: for all the man's devotion to the rules of sportsmanship and the aficionado's code of ethical conduct, he lived a life remarkably "fraught with injury and broken relationships" (10). But whereas most biographers see this latter, defeatist sense of determinism as an inevitable admission of the transparency of Hemingway's "grace under pressure" ethos - a wish-fulfillment heroism too often dismissed as simple-minded - Kale turns the equation around.[...]Rather than dismiss the romanticism of Hemingway's sensibility, Kale embraces it, and the result is a refreshingly positive spin on the subject. Without denying Hemingway's many failures, the author places the focus on the accomplishments, reminding us in the first place why so many readers remain enamored with him long after his image has been thoroughly dissected as a facade." -- Kirk Curnutt

Areas of Specialization

American Literature After 1900

Modern American Literature to WWII

Book History and Textual Studies

Book History, Periodical Studies, Documentary Editing, Textual Studies

Modernist Studies

Modernist Studies