Laura Kasson Fiss



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Research Assistant Professor, Pavlis Honors College

  • PhD in English, Indiana University
  • MA in Text and Book, University of Birmingham (UK)
  • AB in English and Music, Vassar College


Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss specializes in Victorian media, from children's books to comic operas, with a particular emphasis on humor and what it can tell us about reception. Asking not only "why is this funny" but also "what do you need to know to get this joke," Fiss provides a window into Victorian media consumption -- she even studies the window as a metaphor for the page. Her articles address a range of topics in Victorian humor, and her current book project, Clubs for the Unclubbable: Humor and Mass Readership from Jerome K. Jerome to P.G. Wodehouse, explores the club as a metaphor for literary sociability in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century British humor.

Dr. Fiss teaches a range of literature and interdisciplinary courses in the Humanities department, including courses in British literature and diversity. She is very interested in interdisciplinarity in teaching, research, and programming. Several of her classes have performed interdisciplinary projects with courses in other departments. In Fall 2016, she began a research position in interdisciplinarity and liberal education at the Pavlis Honors College.

Recent Publications

  • “Out With It, as the Subeditor Said to the Novel: Wellerisms and the Humor of Excerption.” Victorian Periodicals Review, vol. 40, no. 1, 2017, pp. 228-37.Read More
  • “The Idler’s Club: Humor and Sociability in the Age of New Journalism.” Victorian Periodicals Review , vol. 49, no. 3, 2016, pp. 415-30 Read More
  • “Pushing at the Boundaries of the Book: Humor, Mediation and Distance in Carroll, Thackeray, and Stevenson.” The Lion and the Unicorn 38, no. 3, 2014 pp. 258-278.
  • “‘This particularly rapid, unintelligible patter’: Patter songs and the word-music relationship.” The Cambridge Companion to Gilbert and Sullivan. Ed. David Eden and Meinhard Saremba. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009. 98-108.
  • Review of Music & the British Military in the Long Nineteenth Century, by Trevor Herbert and Helen Barlow; Music and Academia in Victorian Britain, by Rosemary Golding; and Music and Institutions in Nineteenth-Century Britain, edited by Paul Rodmell. Victorian Studies, vol. 58, no. 2, 2016, pp. 356-59.