Abigail Heiniger

Assistant Professor of English


Ph.D., English Literature, Nineteenth-Century, Transatlantic. Wayne State University, 2013
M.A., English Literature, Nineteenth-Century, University of Louisville, 2009
M.A., Humanities, Literature and Art History, University of Louisville, 2008
B.A., Summa Cum Laude, double major Honors English and Humanities, University of Louisville, 2007


In the children’s book The Rope Trick, Lloyd Alexander creates a fantasy world where love is the source of real magic. If there is any magic in teaching, I think it comes from love: loving your audience and loving your subject matter. It is the thread that runs through narratives like What the Best College Teachers Do – it unites different teaching approaches and ignites the classroom. I believe that all the research and scholarship invested in being a college professor does not truly come to life until it is brought into the classroom.

My current book, The Fairy Tale Legacy of Jane Eyre at Home and Abroad: Constructions and Deconstructions of National Identity, led me to design a transhistorical course on women in literature: Literature By and About Women: Discourses on Writing Women. I began the course with excerpts from Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton. We examined the ways in which these authors set the stage for the revolution in women’s writing in the nineteenth century. The class then moved on to Jane Eyre and her broad body of transatlantic progeny into the present, including post-colonial authors such as Jean Rhys and the recent best selling novel The Thirteenth Tale. Focusing on the specific network of women writers responding to Jane Eyre allowed conversations about community, transatlantic context, and the evolution of ideas since Chaucer, undermining assumptions about both medieval and modern texts. I look forward to teaching on these topics here at Bluefield College.