Steven F. Walker


Professor of Comparative Literature

Scott Hall, Room 239
College Avenue Campus

Office Hours: W 3:00-4:30 

E-mail:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Comparative Literature Department Profile Page

Professor Walker has worked on a broad spectrum of literature, including some studies of Asian literature. For instance, his article "The Invention of Theater" considers the possibility that theater was invented once and once only in ancient Greece, and then came to India with the conquest of Bactria by Alexander the Great, spreading gradually from India to the rest of Asia, arguably with the spread of Buddhism. He has also written several pieces on Salman Rushdie's brilliant but controversial novel The Satanic Verses. His interest in the psychology of C.G. Jung has resulted in a number of essays, and in two recent books: Jung and the Jungians on Myth (2002), and Midlife Transformation in Literature and Film: Jungian and Eriksonian Perspectives (in press); the latter contains an analysis of Kurosawa's film Ikiru

Professor Walker offers some courses in which Sanskrit literature as well as modern Indian literature play an important role.

Education Areas of Specialization
  • Ph.D. Harvard University (Comparative Literature) 1973 
  • M.A. Harvard University (Comparative Literature) 1966
  • B.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison (Greek) 1965
  • Comparative Literature, including East-West Literary Relations.


Selected Articles and Book Chapters
  • “Latent Icons: Compensatory Images of the Sacred in Modernist Literature and Painting.” Modernism (Comparative History of Literatures in European Languages XXI, ed. Vivian Liska and Astradur Eysteinsson. Coauthored with W.B. Faris. (Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2007),  637-650.
  • “The Satanic Cyclops: the Scapegoating Process and the Xenophobic Imagination in Ulysses and The Satanic Verses.” Comparative Literature Today: Theories and Practice/ La Littérature comparée à l’heure actuelle: théories et réalisations, ed. Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek and Milan V. Dimic (Paris: Honoré Champion, 1998),  1-9.
  • "Magical Archetypes: Midlife Miracles in The Satanic Verses.” Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community, ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris (Duke University Press, 1995), 347-369.
  • "Vivekananda and American Occultism." The Occult in America: New Historical Perspectives. Ed. Howard Kerr and Charles L. Crow (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1983),  162-176.
  • “Arjuna’s Eunuch Problem and the Gita’s Epic Frame.” American Vedantist 14.1 (Summer, 2008), 9-14 and American Vedantist 14.2 (Fall, 2008), 8-16.
  • “The Invention of Theater: Recontextualizing the Vexing Question.” Comparative Literature, 56.1 (Winter, 2004), 1-22.
  • Jung on Yoga and Realization: ‘A Glimpse Behind the Veil’ (I).” Bulletin of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture (Calcutta) (July, 1995), 260-266.
  • "Literal Truth and Soul-Making Fiction in R.K. Narayan's Novel The English Teacher: Jungian Psychology versus Spiritualist Fantasy.Weber Studies: An Interdisciplinary Humanities Journal, 6.2 (Fall, 1987), 43-62.

Courses Taught

Selected Awards and Distinctions
  • 2003 (Spring) Graduate School Mentoring Award
  • 2000 (summer) Curriculum Development Award