William Patrick Day ’71

  • Professor of English and Cinema Studies
  • Director, Cinema Studies


  • BA, Oberlin College, 1971
  • MA, University of Chicago, 1972
  • PhD, University of Chicago, 1976


I teach courses in the English department and the Cinema Studies and Comparative Literature Programs. I’ve written about horror/gothic literature and vampires, and I have a long-standing interest in popular culture. In addition to horror stories, I’m interested in science fiction, fantasy, and detective stories. On the other hand, I’m quite happy working with what is called high art—the work of writers such as Henry James, William Faulkner, and Wallace Stevens.  
I’m currently working on two projects: a book on history and film called Imagining History and an essay on wonder in the 1933 and 2005 versions of “King Kong” called “The Ape in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” In addition to the courses I regularly teach, I am developing two courses I intend to teach in the near future. One, on television, will focus on the relation of the way narrative is used and transformed by the medium of television, and the other will focus on the effect and subject of “strangeness” in cinema.
What brings all of this together for me is my interest in the relations among pleasure, imagination, and value.

Contemporary Literary Theory: Post-Modernity and Imagination
American Literature, Movies, and Culture in the 1930s: Art and Social Value
Imagining History
The Sense of Time and Place

In the Circles of Fear and Desire: A Study of Gothic Fantasy
Vampire Legends in Contemporary American Culture: What Becomes a Legend Most