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Photo of Hillary Lithgow, taken by Sarah Boyd

Teaching Professor / Undergraduate Advisor for ECL

1995, BA in English, Haverford College
1997, MA in English, Trinity College, Oxford
2004, Ph.D. in English, Stanford University


I specialize in Victorian and early Modernist British literature, as well as the literature of war from World War I to today. I am especially interested in the role of story-telling in making sense of human experience and the effects of impersonality and trauma on literary style.  My current work focuses on contemporary literature of war, the civilian-military divide, and the ways in which people are changed when their moral codes are violated.  I am also interested in the work that literature and the humanities can do outside the university and since 2014 have co-facilitated Vets For Words, a book group for military veterans administered by the North Carolina Humanities Council with support from the NEH.


“’It’s All Good’: Forms of Belief and the Limits of Irony in Finkel’s The Good Soldiers.” War, Literature and the Arts, vol. 27, 2015, . “

A Hard Gemlike Syntax: Pater, Wittgenstein and the Life of Sentences.” Pater Newsletter 58/59 (Spring 2011).

“Protecting Life from Language: John Ruskin’s Museum as Autobiography.” Biography 32.2 (Spring 2009).  287-316.

Teaching Awards

Johnston Award for Excellence in Teaching, UNC, 2020

Joseph M. Flora Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Lecturer in the Department of English and Comparative Literature, UNC, 2015

Joseph M. Flora Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Lecturer in the Department of English and Comparative Literature, UNC, 2013


The Class of 1996 Campus Advising Award, 2021

Co-Director of “Troops To Teachers: Helping Classrooms And Communities Understand The Military Experience” a week-long seminar for military veterans in K-12 Education, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Dialogues on the Experience of War Program, 2019

UNC Veteran Services Challenge Coin in recognition of service to veterans on campus, awarded by the Student Veteran Assistance Coordinator and the Dean of Students Office, 2016

NEH Summer Institute for College and University Teachers/Veterans in Society: Ambiguities & Representations, 3-week session hosted at Virginia Tech and Washington, DC, 2016

Academic Advising Program at UNC Chapel Hill Excellence in Advising Award, 2016

National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Outstanding Advising Award for Faculty Academic Advising, 2016

Courses Taught:

ENGL 121: Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century British Literature
ENGL/PWAD 161: Literature of War (What can literature teach us about war and combat that other media can’t?)
ENGL 127: Writing About Lit Special Topics: Booklist for a Desert Island (Why take a work of literature to a desert island except as kindling?)
ENGL 127: Writing About Lit Special Topics: Literature and the Limits of Language (Wittgenstein, Carroll, Hemingway, Woolf, Forster, Eliot and Joyce)
ENGL 127: Writing About Lit Special Topics: Death & the Victorians (Exploring John Ruskin’s claim that death took on a new form in 19th century England; this course considers Literature & Science in Huxley, Arnold, Bronte, Ruskin, Dickens, Tennyson, Eliot, Carroll, Pater, and Hardy)
ENGL 105 Composition and Rhetoric
ENGL 105i Writing in the Humanities

Curriculum Vitae / Resume