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The social mission of the arts and humanities at UC San Diego is central to a great public university. They teach us how to read and write and show us ways of teaching others to live fully and creatively in society…
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Office of the Dean
Division of Arts and Humanities
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive # 0406
La Jolla, CA 92093-0406

tel: (858) 534-6270
fax: (858) 534-0091
dean-ah@ucsd.edu


Seth Lerer
Distinguished Professor of Literature
Dean, Arts and Humanities
University of California, San Diego

Click here for current office hours
Click here for Lerer news items and events

Seth Lerer was appointed Distinguished Professor of Literature and Dean of Arts and Humanities in January 2009. Previously, he was a member of the Stanford University faculty where he had a joint professorial appointment in English and Comparative Literature and was the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities.


He received a B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1976, a B.A. from Oxford University in 1978, an M.A. from Oxford University in 1978, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1981. His research and teaching interests include medieval and Renaissance studies, comparative philology, the history of scholarship, and children's literature. In 1993, he received the Hoagland Prize for Undergraduate Teaching at Stanford, and in 2003 he received a Dean's Award for Graduate Teaching. He has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. In 1996, he was the Hurst Visiting Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, in 2002 he was the Helen Cam Visiting Scholar in Medieval Studies at Cambridge University, and in 2007-08 he was the Fletcher Jones Distinguished Fellow at the Huntington Library. He has published over one hundred articles and reviews and is the author of seven books: Boethius and Dialogue (Princeton, 1985); Literacy and Power in Anglo-Saxon Literature (Nebraska, 1991); Chaucer and His Readers (Princeton, 1993; awarded the Beatrice White Prize of the English Association of Great Britain); Courtly Letters in the Age of Henry VIII (Cambridge, 1997); and Error and the Academic Self: The Scholarly Imagination, Medieval to Modern (Columbia, 2002) (awarded the 2005 Harry Levin Prize of the American Comparative Literature Association); Inventing English: A Portable History of the Language (Columbia, 2007); and Children's Literature: A Reader's History (Chicago, 2008). In addition to these books, he has edited four collections of essays: Literary History and the Challenge of Philology (Stanford, 1996), Reading from the Margins (The Huntington Library, 1996), The Yale Companion to Chaucer (Yale, 2006), and (with Leah Price) a special issue of PMLA on "The History of the Book and the Idea of Literature" (January 2006).

Lerer PDF CV


Links to interviews, events, and news items about Dean Lerer
(top row then clockwise) Seth Lerer during reading/signing of latest book Prospero's Son at Warwicks; Remarks during the Clarke Center for Human Imagination launch; Dean Lerer with Chancellor Pradeep Khosla and guests during the reception; TEDxUCSD presentation.

•Dean Seth Lerer discusses early history of the word 'dude' in Slate's Lexicon Valley. (1.28.14)
•Warwick's and Words Alive present writer Amy Tan in conversation with Dean and Literature Distinguished Professor Seth Lerer on December 9 at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. (12.2.13)
•Dean Lerer reads and discusses his recent book, Prospero's Son at the San Diego Jewish Book Fair on November 8 at Temple Solel in Cardiff by the Sea. (11.4.13)
•Dean Lerer reads and discusses his recent book, Prospero's Son, on November 6 at the La Jolla Country Day School. (11.4.13)
•Dean Lerer discusses his moving memoir, Prospero's Son: Life, Books, Love and Theater, on UCTV. (9.5.13)
Seth Lerer to join alumnus and writer Rex Pickett for a moderated conversation about literature, theatre and the phenomenon of Sideways, and the changing landscape of words and wine in the digital age on July 20, 2013 at the Faculty Club, UC San Diego. (7.19.13)
Seth Lerer at TEDxUCSD: 'The History of Reading and the Literate Life' on YouTube. (6.25.13)
The Greatest Role My Father Ever Played in The Daily Beast written by Seth Lerer. (6.16.13)
•Dean Lerer at Books, Inc, The Castro (San Francisco) book event. (6.11.13)
•Dean Lerer gives Opening Remarks during the Conference "Out of Egypt: Israel's Exodus Between Text and Memory, History and Imagination." (6.5.13)
•Dean Lerer at Cellar Door Books, Riverside book event. (5.29.13)
KPBS Radio "Midday Edition" and "Evening Edition," interview with Literature Professor and Dean Seth Lerer on the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination and the Starship Century Symposium. (5.22.13)
•Book review of 'Saul Bellow's Heart' by Greg Bellow in San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, Salt Lake Tribune written by Dean Seth Lerer. (5.13.13)
•Dean Lerer quoted about humanities adapting to digital age. (5.10.13)
•Dean Lerer is one of the speakers during the first TEDxUCSD on May 11 at Jacobs Qualcomm Hall. (5.4.13)
•Review of Dean Lerer's memoir, Prospero's Son, in The National (UAE) written by Nick March. (5.4.13)
•Dean Lerer gives keynote lecture, "Hamlet's Theater of the Letter" during the First Annual Mini-Conference of Current Work: New Directions in Early Modern Studies on May 3 at Berkeley. (5.3.13)
•Dean Lerer interviewed on Montana Public Radio. (4.29.13)
•Literature Professor and Dean Seth Lerer is final speaker of UM President's Lecture Series. (4.27.13)
•Dean Lerer interviewed on KPBS Radio "Midday Edition" about his memoir, Prospero's Son. (4.23.13)
•Review of Dean Lerer's memoir, Prospero's Son, in San Francisco Chronicle written by Michael Bronski. (4.21.13)
•Dean Lerer's memoir, 'Prospero's Son', reviewed by John Wilkens in U-T San Diego. (4.14.13)
•Review of Dean Lerer's memoir, Prospero's Son, in Los Angeles Review of Books written by T. Clutch Fleischmann. (4.4.13)
•Dean Seth Lerer at Warwick's on May 7 at 7:30 p.m. to discuss and sign his memoir Prospero's Son. (3.25.13)
•Book review of 'Farther & Wilder' by Blake Bailey in San Francisco Chronicle written by Dean Seth Lerer. (3.24.13)
•Literature Professor and Dean Seth Lerer talks about the unique relationship between the Division of Arts and Humanities and Preuss School UCSD. (3.14.13)
•Dean Seth Lerer's new book - Prospero's Son: Life, Books, Love, and Theatre (3.11.13)
•Dean Seth Lerer quoted in U-T San Diego in article about sci-fi collection donated to SDSU. (1.28.13)
•Dean Seth Lerer to talk about "The Sociology of the Book and the History of Reading" during the Joseph and Irma Gusfield Lecture Series 2012-2013 on January 24. (1.14.13)
•Dean Seth Lerer on "The Social Impact of Reading and Writing" during the Founder's Day Symposium 2012 at UCSD-TV. (1.10.13)
•Review of 'Select Letters of William Styron' in San Francisco Chronicle written by Dean Seth Lerer. (12.28.12)
•Book review of 'Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm' by Philip Pullman in San Francisco Chronicle written by Dean Seth Lerer. (12.7.12)
•Dean Seth Lerer is inaugural guest of UT San Diego's 'Conversations in Science'. (12.3.12) North County Times (12.3.12)
•Brief highlights of the Founders' Symposium. (11.20.12)
•Dean Seth Lerer is one of the speakers during the Founders' Symposium on November 16. (11.1.12) UCSDTV (1.14.13)
Interview with Dean Seth Lerer in ThisWeek@UCSan Diego. (11.1.12)
Writing for Teens vs Adults: Rowling as Case Study in The Daily Beast written by Dean Seth Lerer. (10.3.12)
Dean Seth Lerer in conversation with prize-winning author Salman Rushdie. (9.23.12) UCSD-TV (10.4.12)
Dean Lerer's remarks during the SME dedication. (9.20.12) YouTube (9.21.12)
Book review of 'Robert Duncan,' by Lisa Jarnot in San Francisco Chronicle written by Dean Seth Lerer. (8.27.12)
Book review of 'Many Subtle Channels,' by Daniel Levin Becker in San Francisco Chronicle written by Dean Seth Lerer. (6.10.12)
•Book review of 'The Storytelling Animal,' by Jonathan Gottschall in San Francisco Chronicle written by Dean Seth Lerer. (6.3.12)
•Dean Lerer on Harry Potter's World in The Guardian. (5.22.12)
•Dean Lerer gives Kick-off Address during 4th Annual PhD Career Conference. (5.19.12)
•"To Be Human: The Verve: How We Became Modern" with Seth Lerer on UCSD-TV and slated to air May 21. (5.14.12)
Dean Lerer's classroom demo on YouTube. (5.10.12)
Dean Lerer talk on "Harry Potter and the Magic of Books." (4.23.12) Update: Rancho Santa Fe Review (5.3.12)
Dean Seth Lerer as keynote speaker at 2012 Revelle Honors Banquet on May 3. (4.11.12)
Dean Lerer in the blogosphere. (4.3.12)
Smithsonian Seminar featuring Dean Lerer on March 17. (2.15.12)
MMW Lecture featuring Dean Lerer. (2.13.12)
•Book review in San Francisco Chronicle. (2.13.12)
Interview with Dean Lerer in Ragazine. (1.23.12)
Dean Lerer in the blogosphere. (12.8.11)
Marshall Institute blog on Kindle, Chaucer, and the "Age of Excitement." (8.30.11)
•Dean Seth Lerer mentioned in City Journal article. (8.29.11)
•Book review in San Francisco Chronicle written by Dean Seth Lerer. (8.22.11)
•Talk at Geisel library entitled "Tales from the Mothership" on May 11th. (5.2.11)
Jezebel article entitled "Dr. Who's Sci-Fi Girl Power" quotes Dean Lerer. (4.22.11)
•San Francisco Chronicle review of "The Use and Abuse of Literature" written by Dean Seth Lerer. (3.28.11)
•KPBS' These Days features cellist Charles Curtis and Dean Seth Lerer. They discuss this Monday's Camera Lucida performance of "A Soldier's Tale." (3.10.11)
•Book review in San Francisco Chronicle written by Dean Seth Lerer. (2.1.11)
•Dean Seth Lerer recommends his top 10 list of must-have children's books.(12.10.10)

•UCTV broadcast about UCSD's 50th anniversary. (11.2.10)

San Francisco Chronicle book review written by Dean Seth Lerer. (10.04.10)

•Interview about "Children's Literature" on Rorotoko.com. (5.21.10)
•Recipient of the 2010 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism for "Children's Literature." (3.30.10)
Slate.com essay by Dean Seth Lerer entitled "What Lewis Carroll Taught Us." (3.5.10)
YouTube video of Sept 2009 Sendak lecture at CJMSF. (12.14.09)
Green Faculty Club guest speaker on November 18, 2009.
Bronowski Art & Science Forum guest speaker on November 5, 2009.
•Featured in LA Times article about Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are". (10.22.09)
Dinner in the Library with Lerer as guest speaker, September 17, 2009.
Oakland Tribune article about Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are". (9.9.09)
"Ten Questions" from La Jolla Light. (8.26.09)
•Op-ed piece in The Jewish Week mentions Willows. (8.26.09)
"From Homer to Harry Potter" in The Vancouver Sun. (8.7.09)
•Review of Willows in New York Times. (7.10.09)
•Review of Willows in London Times Literary Supplement. (6.24.09)
•Review of Willows in Washington Post. (6.17.09)
•Harvard University Press podcast about Willlows. (6.12.09)
•Book signing at Warwick's in La Jolla. (6.3.09)
•Review of Willows in Star Tribune. (5.18.09)
•Review of Willows in Forbes. (5.8.09)
•The Spanish translation of Lerer's "Children's Literature" now available. (5.6.09)
•Spanish language article entitled ¿Si tú lees, ellos leen? (If you read, would they read?) (5.5.09)
•Dean Lerer writes San Francisco Chronicle book review of Finding Oz. (5.1.09)
Review of Wind in the Willows from Newsweek. (4.30.09)
Book Buzz from USA Today. (4.30.09)
Dean Seth Lerer's book "Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter" wins the National Book Critics Circle award for criticism. The honor was bestowed at a ceremony in New York City. Click here for a video interview with Dean Lerer. (3.16.09)
•Seth Lerer - 'cartographer' of children's literature. (3.9.09)
"Ten Questions" from the Del Mar Times. (2.20.09)
DAH Link Newsletter - Meet the Dean edition. (2.17.09)
•"Children's Literature" named a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle award. (1.26.09)
•San Diego Union Tribune Q & A. (9.4.08)
•KPBS' These Days. (8.20.08)
On NPR - "From Aesop to Harry Potter." (7.2.08)
UCSD News item - Lerer named Dean of DAH. (6.20.08)