Picture of William Bartley

William Bartley B.A. (Alberta), M.A. (San Francisco State), Ph.D. (Alberta)

Associate Professor

Faculty Member in English

Arts 411B

Research Area(s)

  • American literature
  • American film and television
  • Social change
  • Fiction as a mode of ethical and political inquiry

About me

William Bartley’s research interests include American literature of all periods but with a special interest in nineteenth-century writers. More recently, he has been studying film and television and their relationship to American literary traditions. He has a more particular interest in the emergence of so-called “long form” television as a dominant artistic form, putting him, as a result, in the awkward but defensible position of arguing that we should all be watching more television.

He has published essays on Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Kate Chopin, Spike Lee, Barry Levinson, John Sayles, Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men, Krzysztof  Kieslowski’s Decalogue, and other topics. He is currently working on a study of long form television and its deep preoccupation with social change--and how television itself is a particularly rich mode of ethical and political inquiry.

He has also taught undergraduate courses in American literature as well as seminars on Mad Men, The Wire, and American narrative film. He has supervised MA projects and theses on Moby-Dick, Emily Dickinson, William Faulkner, Kate Chopin, T.S. Eliot, Tim Burton, The Wire, and Mad Men.


“What is Long Form Television? An Answer to Jason Mittell’s Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling” Canadian Review of American Studies. Special Issue: The New Television. Pre-publication February 18, 2021. Forthcoming November 2021. 22 pp. https://muse-jhu-edu.cyber.usask.ca/article/784031/pdf    https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/35836

“'Not by a long shot:'  John Sayles’s Lone Star, the Future, and the Bildungsroman." Canadian Review of American Studies 50.1 (2020): 165-191  https://muse-jhu-edu.cyber.usask.ca/article/753746/pdf

"'Fake It Until You Make It': A Reflection on Film, Hypocrisy, and Christian Ethics." Journal of Religion and Film 22.1, [https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol22/iss1/34/] (2018): 1-30.

"Faith, Doubt, and Chiasmus in Krzysztof Kieslowski's 'Decalogue I'." Journal of Religion and Film 18.2,   [https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol18/iss2/4/ (2014): 1-33.

"'Mad Men,' The Historical Novel, and Social Change." CineAction 94, [http://www.cineaction.ca/order/94-long-form-drama-short-subjects/] (2014): 12-21

"Barry Levinson's Liberty Heights and 'Historical Emergence': Or, How Change Happens." Literature/Film Quarterly 35.4 (2007): 248-264.

"Mookie as 'Wavering Hero': Do the Right Thing and the American Historical Romance." Literature/Film Quarterly 34.1 (2006): 9-18.
"'The creature of his own tasteful hands." Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Vol. 93. Ed. Juliet Byington. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001. 229-239.
"Imagining the Future in Kate Chopin's The Awakening." College English 62 (2000): 719-746.
"Morton Ross as an Education." An American Critic in Canada: The Literary Memoirs of Morton L. Ross. Ed. C.Q. Drummond and Diane Bessai. Edmonton: NeWest Press, 1999. 1-6.

"William Bartley on Individuality and Determinism in Melville.” Bloom’s Major Short Story Writers: Herman Melville. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1999: 52-53.

"'The creature of his own tasteful hands': Herman Melville's 'Benito Cereno' and the 'Empire of Might'." Modern Philology 93 (1996): 445-468.
"'The Synthesis of Love and Fear': Nathaniel Hawthorne and the Virtue of Reverence." Modern Philology 88 (1991): 382-397.
"'Measured Forms' and Orphic Eloquence: The Style of Herman Melville's Billy Budd, Sailor." University of Toronto Quarterly 59 (1990): 516-534. 


United States culture fiction film literature television