Spencer Lee-Lenfield

Contact Information

Office: Appointment starts July 1, 2024, email will be available after then.



Spencer Lee-Lenfield

Post Doc in Comparative Literature, starting July 2024; Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, starting July 2025

Research Fields

Translation; Asian American Literature; Korean Literature; Classical Reception(s); Scriptworlds/Linguistic Cosmopolises; Vernacularization. Working languages: English, Korean, Literary Sinitic, French, Latin, Ancient Greek; reading knowledge of German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese. 



Ph.D. Yale University (Comparative Literature); M.A. [B.A.] Oxford University (Literae Humaniores); A.B. Harvard University (History and Literature). I am a first-generation college graduate, and am always eager to talk with FGLI students. 



I am broadly interested in the study of translation of (and as) literature. My first book project focuses on literary translation between Korean and English via the Korean diaspora from 1920 to the present. By interpreting literary translation through the aesthetics of historical reception, I aim to develop the study of diasporic translation as one method for bridging Asian American Studies with regional Asian Studies formations. I examine the work of writers including Han Yong-un, Younghill Kang, Richard E. Kim, Yu Hyǒnmok, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Kim Hyesoon, and Don Mee Choi. I am also interested in junctures where my current research interests in East Asia and its overseas diasporas overlap with my training in Ancient Greek, Latin, English, and French.


Research Publications

  • “Notes Toward a Theory of Asian American Classical Reception,” for edited volume American Classicisms (De Gruyter, forthcoming 2025)
  • “Assemblage, Sourcework, and Ritual in Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee,” Criticism 65/2 (Fall 2024)
  • “Victorian Poetry and Classical Verse Composition: On Translation as Affiliation,” PMLA 138/3 (2023): 490–505 
  • “An Unreality Effect: Simile in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary,” Poetics Today 43/4 (2022): 595–610 
  • “Translating Style: Flaubert’s Influence on English Narrative Prose,” Modern Language Quarterly 81/2 (2020): 193-217


Translation Projects

I translate primarily from Korean to English. Projects include poet Shin Hae-uk’s Biologicity (Black Ocean, 2024) and three plays by playwright Ko Yeon-ok (with Jisun Kim, ongoing). I also translate from Literary Sinitic, including the late-19th century scholar Hong Kil-ju’s Suksunyǒm (with Choi Wonkyung and Olan Munson, ongoing). My translations of poetry and fiction have appeared in literary journals including Kenyon Review, Guernica, Poetry Northwest, New England Review, Colorado Review, The Margins, and Asymptote


Public Writing 

I’ve written for general audiences in publications including The New York Review of Books, the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Yale Review, Guernica, and The Dial.