Professor of English


Armstrong's book Stories and the Brain: The Neuroscience of Narrative is forthcoming from Johns Hopkins University Press (planned publication Spring 2020).  This neuro-phenomenological analysis of our embodied cognitive capacity to tell and follow stories is a sequel to his book How Literature Plays with the Brain:  The Neuroscience of Reading and Art (Johns Hopkins UP, hardcover and e-book 2013; paperback 2014).   

His other books include The Phenomenology of Henry James (U of North Carolina P, 1983), The Challenge of Bewilderment: Understanding and Representation in James, Conrad, and Ford (Cornell UP, 1987; e-book 2018), Conflicting Readings: Variety and Validity in Interpretation (U of North Carolina P, 1990; Spanish and Arabic translations), and Play and the Politics of Reading: The Social Uses of Modernist Form (Cornell UP, 2005).  The opening chapter of Conflicting Readings was awarded the William Riley Parker Prize for an Outstanding Article in PMLA . His chapter on Nostromo in The Challenge of Bewilderment won the Twentieth Century Literature Prize in Literary Criticism. 

In addition, Armstrong has also recently published a new Norton Critical Edition of Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness (5th edition; W. W. Norton, 2017).  This edition features a newly established text based on the first English book publication as well as a substantially revised critical apparatus.  He has previously produced a Norton Critical Edition of E. M. Forster, Howards End (W. W. Norton, 1998) as well as the 4th Norton Critical Edition of Conrad's Heart of Darkness (4th ed., W. W. Norton, 2006).  Armstrong has also prepared a scholarly edition of Henry James's posthumously published, unfinished novel The Ivory Tower for the Cambridge University Press series of James's collected fiction (anticipated publication 2021).  

Before coming to Brown as Dean of the College in 2001, Armstrong was Dean of Arts and Sciences at SUNY-Stony Brook and Humanities Dean at the University of Oregon. He has also taught at the University of Virginia and Georgia Tech and has been a visiting professor at the University of Copenhagen and the Free University of Berlin.  He is also a member of the visiting faculty of the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA).

Armstrong has held fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He also received a grant from the Teagle Foundation to chair an inter-institutional working group that wrote a white paper on "The Open Curriculum: An Alternative Tradition in Liberal Education."  Past president of the Joseph Conrad Society of America, Armstrong is a member of the editorial boards of the Henry James Review, Conradiana, and Modern Fiction Studies.

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