Welcome to my website


Originally from beautiful Vancouver B.C., I have an Honours B.A. in English and History from the University of British Columbia and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Cornell University. Since 1995, I have been a member of the English Department at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After all these years ‘out east,’ I am still adjusting to snow, ice, and spring that doesn’t arrive until June. I am married to a philosopher specializing in analytic epistemology and philosophy of religion. We have two wonderful children: a son who’s a computer whiz as well as a very talented musician and composer (now a Dalhousie student himself) and a daughter with a beautiful singing voice who will still sometimes sit down and watch a movie with her mom.

At Dalhousie, my main teaching area is the Victorian novel; I have a particular admiration for George Eliot and assign her greatest novel, Middlemarch, whenever possible. I regularly offer courses in detective fiction as well; my other teaching and research interests include ethical criticism, intersections between literature and moral philosophy, historical fiction and historiography, and the role of literature and criticism in contemporary life. One of my recent academic projects is an anthology of Victorian critical writing on the novel for Broadview Press.  Click here for my full academic curriculum vitae.

I have been writing my blog Novel Readings since January 2007; from March 2008 to August 2010 I also contributed regularly to the academic group blog The Valve. From 2010 to 2017 I was an editor and regular contributor at the online literary journal Open Letters Monthly; I have also published reviews and essays in other venues including the Times Literary SupplementQuill & QuireCanadian Notes and Queries, and The Quarterly Conversation. They are listed here.

You can follow me on Twitter at @RohanMaitzen.


There’s really only one, but it’s persistent, so I’ll answer it right away: people always wonder about the origins of my name. Briefly, no, it was not chosen from Tolkein: it’s French (though I’ve learned, over the years, that it’s also Gaelic and Sanskrit), and it’s pronounced “Rowan.” It came to me by way of a good family friend who was distantly related to the Cardinal de Rohan. I’m not related to him myself, though. However, according to a letter my great-aunt sent me years ago, I am related to Elizabeth Barrett Browning–so if things had gone a little differently I might have been ‘Aurora’ instead.

Image: detail from “Mrs Duffee Seated on a Striped Sofa, Reading” by Mary Cassatt (Boston Museum of Fine Arts)
Photo: Nick Pearce / Dalhousie