Vera Camden

Vera Camden

Department of English
Emeritus Professor
Contact Information


Vera J. Camden is an Emeritus Professor of English at Kent State University, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University. She is Training and Supervising Analyst at the Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center and Geographic Rule Supervising Analyst for the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education of the NYU Medical School. Co-editor of American Imago and American Editor for the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. She specializes in seventeenth-century British literature, psychoanalysis, and comics.




  • Kent State University
  • Professor of English, 2004-present
  • Associate Professor of English, 1991-2003
  • Associate Director, Center for Literature and Psychoanalysis, 1986-1994

Teaching Specialties: Kent State University

  • Literature: Eighteenth century novel, seventeenth century literature and history, British Puritans: Milton and Bunyan, early modern women’s writing
  • Popular culture: Film, comics, graphic novel, children’s and young adult literature
  • Theory: Psychoanalytic critical theory, trauma theory, medical humanities, graphic medicine, narrative medicine, public humanities

Teaching Specialties: Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center

  • Psychoanalytic technique, relational psychoanalysis, introduction to Freud, theory and practice of D.W. Winnicott, literature and psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, cultural contexts of psychoanalysis


  • The American Board of Psychoanalysis, Fellow, 2016-present
  • Case Western Reserve University, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, 2005-present
  • Rutgers University, Clinical Faculty, School of Social Work, 2012-2016.
  • Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center Training and Supervising Analyst, 2006-present
  • University Hospitals of Cleveland, Resident Supervisor, Department of Psychiatry, 2004-present
  • Geographic Rule Supervising Analyst for the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education of the NYU Medical School, 2016-present.


Edited Books

  • She Being Dead Yet Speaketh: The Franklin Family Papers. The Other Voice Series (English language series editor, Elizabeth H. Hageman), Toronto: Iter Press and Tempe: Arizona State University Press. Forthcoming, 2020. 
  • Trauma and Transformation: The Political Progress of John Bunyan. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2007.
  • The Narrative of the Persecutions of Agnes Beaumont. Lansing, Michigan State University Press, 1992, 2002.  
  • Compromise Formations: Current Directions in Psychoanalytic Criticism. Kent State University Press, 1989.

Book Chapters

  • “Domestic Dissent and Domestic Devotion in Mary Franklin,” in People and Piety: Protestant Devotional Identities and Religious Writing in Early Modern England, ed. Elizabeth Clarke and Robert W. Daniel. Manchester University Press, 2020.
  • “John Bunyan in Prison: A Cure Through Creativity.” In The Oxford Handbook to John Bunyan Eds. Michael Davies and W. R. Owens. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, 470-87.
  • “Carnality into Creativity: Sublimation in Bunyan’s ‘Apology’ to The Pilgrim’s Progress. In Immortality and the Body in Renaissance British Literary Culture, Eds. Steven Fallon and John Rumrich. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2018, 77-90. 
  • “The Psychoanalytic Progress of Alison Bechdel.” In The Muse: Psychoanalytic Explorations of Creative Inspiration. Ed., Adele Tutter, New York: Routledge, 2016, 211-256. 
  • “‘Pure Heroines’ on Campus: New-Wave Feminism and Popular Culture.” In The Status of Women. Ed. Vivian Pender, M.D., Karnac Press, 2016, 29-78. 
  • “The Touch of Evil and the Triumph of Love in Harry Potter.” In Critical Insights: Good and Evil. Ed. Margaret Breen. Ipswich, Massachusetts: Salem Press, 2013, 253-273. 
  • “The Goodwives of Bedford.” In The Cambridge Companion to John Bunyan, Ed. Anne Dunan-Page. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 2010, 51-66.
  • “The Past is a Foreign Country: The Uses of Literature in the Psychoanalytic Dialogue.” In Narrative Medicine and Psychoanalysis. Eds. Peter Rudnytsky and Rita Charon. New York, SUNY University Press, 2008, 99-118.
  • “Young Man Bunyan,” in Trauma and Transformation: The Political Progress of John Bunyan. Ed. Vera J. Camden. Palo Alto, Stanford University Press, 2007, 41-62.
  • “That of Esau: Hebrews xii, 16-17 in Grace Abounding.” In John Bunyan: Reading Dissenting Writing. Ed. N. H. Keeble. Oxford and New York: Peter Lang, 2002, 133-165.


  • Camden, Vera J., Eleanor J. Molloy, and Cynthia F. Bearer. "Our new feature: Narrative Medicine." Pediatric Research (2020).
  • “‘The Goddess of Presence and the Birth of the Self in a Psychoanalytic Treatment” The Psychoanalytic Quarterly 87.4 (2018): 639-665.
  •  “‘Cartoonish Lumps’: The Surface Appeal of Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother?" Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 9.1 (2018), 93-111.
  • “‘The Skin She Lives In’: The Skin Ego in the Sculpture of Ursula von Rydingsvard.” American Imago 70.4 (2013): 585-606.
  • “The Unbearable Inner Light: John Bunyan’s Controversy with the Quakers,” Bunyan Studies 14 (2010): 34-56.
  • “Psychoanalysis and the Academy: Practical Aspects and Philosophical Foundations” American Imago 67.4 (2010): 601-605.
  • “‘My Capital Secret’: Literature and the Psychoanalytic Agon” The International Journal of Psychoanalysis 90.5 (2009): 1123-1137.
  • “‘The Language of Tenderness and of Passion: Sex in Paradise’ or The Place of Sex in Paradise: A Response to Gavin Miller.” New Literary History 38.4 (2007): 683-702. 
  • “Attending to Sarah Wight: Little Writer of God’s Wonders.” Bunyan Studies 11 (2004): 94-131.

Interviews with Comics Creators

  •  “‘My Claim to Fame is Footnotes’: An Interview with Derf Backderf.” In Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, forthcoming.
  • “Truth, Justice, and the Amazonian Way: An Interview with Greg Rucka.” In Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 9.6 (December 2018): 621-33.

Reviews (since 2004)

  • John Bunyan’s Imaginary Writings in Context. Nancy Rosenfeld (New York/Abingdon: Routledge 2018), Bunyan Studies 23 (2019): 99-103.
  • Dream House: An Intimate Portrait of Philip Johnson’s Glass House. Adele Tutter (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press 2017), International Journal of Psychoanalysis 100. 3 (2019): 616-19.
  • Space and Psyche. Eds. Elizabeth Danze, Stephen Sonnenberg (Austin, TX. Center for American Architecture and Design 2015) International Journal of Psychoanalysis (2017): 1020-25.
  • “An Introduction to ‘She Being Dead Yet Speaketh’: The Private Papers of Mary Franklin” The Recorder: The Newsletter of the International John Bunyan Society (2014): 34-35.
  • Imagination from Fantasy to Delusion by Lois Oppenheim. New York, Routledge, 2012, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis (Spring 2014): 1029-35.
  • Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama and Fun Home: A Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel in “New Voices” The American Psychoanalyst (Winter, 2012) 19, 30. 
  • With Culture in Mind, Psychoanalytic Stories Ed, Muriel Dimen. Division/Review: A Psychoanalytic Forum 4 (2011): 7-8.
  • Rev. A Story of Her Own: the Female Oedipus Complex, Reexamined and Renamed. Nancy Kulish and Deanna Holtzman, American Imago 68.1 (Spring 2011): 139-149.
  • Rev. The Desire of the Analysts ed. Henry Sussman, SUNY, 2007, Intertexts, Fall, 2009, 153-156.
  • Rev. Adaptations by Phillip Freeman, American Imago, 65.2 (Summer 2008, 113-117.
  • Rev. Graceful Reading, by Michael Davies, Bunyan Studies 12 (Winter, 2007): 125-128.

Invited Lectures

  • Interview for the "New Books Network" with Vera Camden on her book, She Being Dead Yet Speaketh: The Franklin Family Papers
  • “Psychoanalysis, Literature and Companionate Reading” Symposium on Shakespeare and Psychoanalysis, Case Western Reserve University, February 2020.
  • “The Uses of Literature in the Psychoanalytic Process: Clinic, Culture, Cases” (Plenary). American Association of Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work (AAPCSW), March 2017, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • “Female Superheroes and the New Feminism.” Hawken School, Cleveland 2014, 2015, 2016. 
  • “Applied Psychoanalysis and the History of Comics: Depth vs. Chutzpah” (Plenary).
  • Psychoanalytic Association of New York University (PANY), December 2015.
  •  “‘We Are All in the Gutter’: Alison Bechdel and the Body” Get Graphic Series, Cleveland Public Library, March 2015.
  • “Autographics” (Plenary). Handwriting and Print Symposium, “Making Sense,” Texas A&M University, October 2014, organized by Margaret J.M. Ezell. 
  • “Introduction to the Mary Franklin Project for the Other Voice Series.” The International John Bunyan Society London Symposium, May 2014. 
  • “Cartoons, Comics and Couches: The narrative Progress of Alison Bechdel.” Sixth International Symposium on Psychoanalysis and Art, “Art/Object.” Florence, Italy, May 2014. 
  • “Alison’s Autographics.” University of Florida. Second Annual Symposium on the Psychological Study of the Arts, February 2014.
  • “The (Hand)Writing on the Walls: Early (Graphic) Narratives. Bowling Green State University. Novel Media: Emergent Narratives Forms From Domestic Papers to Graphic Narratives, April 2013.
  • “The Face of a Psychoanalytic Treatment” (Plenary). University of Sussex conference on Psychoanalysis, Literature and Film. April 2012.
  • “The Skin-Ego in the Sculpture of Ursula von Rydingsvard” Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland, Ohio, February 2012.
  • “Creativity and Conscience: Bunyan in Prison and Freud’s Imprisoned Dreamer” (Plenary). Emory University, and the Emory Psychoanalytic Studies Program, Atlanta, Georgia, “Creativity Across the Life Cycle” April 2011.

Recent Presentations

  • “Psychoanalysis, Literature and Companionate Reading” Symposium on Shakespeare and Psychoanalysis, Case Western Reserve University, February 2020.
  • “Comics and the Clinic: Mental Health and Comics in Practice” at NYPL at NYCC. New York, NY. October 2019. 
  • “Hannah Burton and Serman ‘Gadding.’” Reading the Ministry, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, November 2019.
  • “#Metoo: Women and New Media.” University Teaching Council Roundtable, Kent State University, October 2019.
  • “Dissenting Women in Early Modern Manuscripts: Mary Franklin.” International John Bunyan Society, Alberta, Canada, August 2019.
  • “Women Leading the World: A Captain Marvel Panel at the Happy Dog” with the City Club of Cleveland, March 2019.
  • “Mary Franklin: Nursing Mother” The Renaissance Society of America, Toronto, March 2019.
  • “Rethinking Dialogue in Novel Media.” International Graphic Novel and Comics Conference, Bournemouth University, June 2018. 
  • Panel Discussant, “The Piggle Speaks: Re-reading Winnicott’s Case in Light of Recent Conversations with the Adult ‘Gabrielle’” featuring Deborah Leupnitz and Alison Bechdel.
  • International Forum for Psychoanalytic Education, November 13, 2017. 
  • GSO Faculty Panel, Kent State University, August 2016. 
  • “John Bunyan: Calvinism and Carnality” Eighth Triennial International John Bunyan Society Conference, Aix-en-Provence, July 2016.
  • Roundtable Discussion, “Graphic Novels/Novel Architecture” with Francoise Mouley and Chris Ware, Cleveland Museum of Art, April 2016.
  • Roundtable Moderator, “Graphic Novel/Novel Architecture Symposium.” The Cleveland Museum of Art, April 2016. 
  • “Revisiting Dialogue” Roundtable Panel Presentation on “The Speech Bubble and Interiority in Comics,” The Modern Language Association, Austin, Texas, January 2016. 
  • “Dialogue with Ursula von Rydingsvard” Psychoanalysis and the Arts Series, The American Psychoanalytic Association, New York, January 2015.
  • Interview with Donald Antrim, The American Psychoanalytic Association, New York, January 2015.
  • “Transience and Transference in the Autobiographics of Alison Bechdel—a conversation with Bechdel” International Federation of Psychoanalytic Educators, Philadelphia, October 2013.
  • “John Bunyan in Prison” Seventh Triennial International John Bunyan Society Conference, Princeton University, August 2013.
  • “The Face of a Psychoanalytic Treatment” (Plenary). The International Psychoanalytic Association Congress, Mexico City, August 2011.
  • “Theme and Variations: The Face of a Psychoanalytic Treatment” 16th Annual Leibert Lecture, Columbia Psychoanalytic Institute, April 2010.
  • “The Unbearable Inner Light: Bunyan and the Quakers” Keele University, England, Sixth International John Bunyan Society Conference, August 2010.
  • “Opportunities for Psychoanalysis: Philadelphia and Beyond” MLA, Philadelphia, December 2009.
  • “Panel with Christopher Bollas: The Freudian Moment” MLA, San Francisco, December 2008. 
  • “The Case of John Bunyan” Richardson Seminar, The Institute for the History of Psychiatry, Cornell University, March 21, 2007.
  • “Trauma and Toleration,” Fifth International John Bunyan Society Triennial Conference on “Early Modern Religion and Literature in Old and New England,” Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, August 15-19, 2007.

Panels Chaired

  • “Politics and Psychoanalysis” Presentation by Noelle McAfee, American Psychoanalytic Association, February 2020.
  • “Yukio Mishima’s Patriotism” Presentation by Nina Cornyetz. American Psychoanalytic Association, February 2019.
  • “The Name of the Piggle.” Presentation by Deborah Leupnitz and Martha Nussbaum. American Psychoanalytic Association, February 15, 2017.
  • “All for Art: Louise Nevelson.” Presentation by Laurie Wilson. American Psychoanalytic Association, February 2017.
  • “‘Leap Tall Building in a Single Bound’: Psychoanalysis, Comics and Architecture” Modern Language Association, January 2017. 
  • “Mental health and the United Nations.” The American Psychoanalytic Association, January 2016.
  • “Psychoanalysis and the Arts: Louise Nevelson.” The American Psychoanalytic Association, January 2015.
  •  “Shame and Secrets: the Literary Memoir – Dialogue with Donald Antrim and Kathyrn Harrison.” Artist and Scholar Series, The American Psychoanalytic Association, January 2015.
  • “The Living Self and the Literary Self.” Chair, The Modern Language Association, January 2014.
  • “On Line and On the Couch Virtuality.” Chair, The American Psychoanalytic Association, January 2014.
  • “The Other Side of Psychoanalysis.” Chair, The Modern Language Association, January 2013.

Conference Organized

  • Wonder Woman Symposium, September 2016.
  • Triennial International John Bunyan Society, October 2001.  

Awards and Grants

  • Textbook and Academic Author Association Book Production Grant, 2019
  • Kent State University Teaching Council Summer Grant, 2018
  • Kent State University Teaching Council Grant, 2017, 2018, 2020
  • Kent State University Teaching Council Travel Grant, 2017
  • Ohio Humanities Council December Major Grant: $10,000, 2016
  • Friends of the Cleveland Public Library Programming Initiative Grant: $5000, March 2016
  • Women’s Center Mentor Award: March 2015
  • College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award April 2015
  • Robert Liebert Award, Columbia University Psychoanalytic Institute 2011

Research Grants (since 2000)

  • Travel and Research Grants (Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center), 1995-2005
  • Research Council Grants (KSU), 2000, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2017, 2019, 2020
  • Research Council Travel Grants (KSU), 2004, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2014
  • American Psychoanalytic Association Academy Committee Travel Grant, 2012, 2013, 2017

Journal Editorships

  • Co-Editor, American Imago, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000-present.
  • Editorial Board Member, Bunyan Studies, 2001-present.
  • Editorial Board Member, The American Psychologist, 2003-present.
  • American Editor, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Routledge, 2018-present. 
  • Edited Journal Special Issues 
  • “Dissenting Women in John Bunyan’s World and Work.” Ed. Bunyan Studies 7 (1997). 
  • “Early Women Analysts.” Ed. American Imago 60.2 (2003).   
  • “Identity, Agency and Gender in John Bunyan’s England.” Ed. with K. Hill. Bunyan Studies 11 (2004). 
  • “Wonder Woman and the Female Superhero.” Ed. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 9.6 (2018). 

Works in Progress

  • The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Psychoanalysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Forthcoming, 2020. 
  • “Comics on the Couch” a special issue of American Imago. Forthcoming, 2020. 
  • Panel Chair, “Comics on the Couch” Modern Language Association, Roundtable, January 2021, Toronto, Ontario.
  • Panel Chair, Psychoanalysis Across the Disciplines, American Psychoanalytic Association, February 2021. 
  • “Comics, Collections, and Communities,” a special issue of the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. Forthcoming, 2021. 
  • “The Matryrology of Mary Franklin,” Early Modern Words, Loughborough University, UK. June 2021. Panel chaired by Margaret J. M. Ezell 


Kent State University 1984-present

  • Institute for Bibliographical and Textual Editing, Fellow 2008-present 
  • The Newberry Library Consortium Representative, 2011-2016
  • Women’s Studies, Affiliate, 1996-present
  • Wick Poetry Center, Advisory Board, 2009-2014
  • College of Arts & Sciences Advisory Committee, 2005, 2010
  • Research and Graduate Studies, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2014 
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Members in Course, 1993-present
  • Research and Graduate Studies, NEH Review, 2003 
  • Research and Graduate Studies, Associate Dean Search Committee, 2003
  • Distinguished Scholar Committee, 2000 
  • President’s Women’s Resource Center Committee, 1995
  • Knight Chair Search Committee, 2005-2006
  • Faculty Search Committee, 1998, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2016

Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center 1988-Present

  • Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center Foundation, Trustee, 2007-2010
  • Admissions Committee Chair, 2009-present 
  • The Psychoanalyst Assistance Committee, 2006-present
  • The Psychiatric Education Foundation Fund, 2005-2014
  • The Brian and Dora Bird Foundation, Trustee, 2000-2013

The American Psychoanalytic Association, Member, 1996-present

  • Psychoanalysis and the Arts, 2003-present
  • Psychoanalysis and the Academy, 2010-present
  • The CORST Essay Prize Committee, Founding Chair, 1997-2007
  • The Committee on Research and Special Training (CORST), 1995-2017
  • The Center for Advanced Psychoanalysis, Fellow, 2009-2013
  • The Board on Professional Standards, Fellow, 2009-2015
  • The Committee on Certification, 2012-2013
  • The Committee on Institutes, 2015-2017

Editorial Boards and Consultation

  • Hong Kong Baptist University, Dept. of English, External Department Site Review, November 2010, 2017
  • International John Bunyan Society, President, 1999-2001, current Board Member 
  • Comics Studies Society, Founding Member, 2016-present  
  • Site Visit Chair, MA in Psychoanalysis, Emory University, 2008
  • Literature Compass Editorial Consultant, Blackwell, Oxford, 2005-2007
  • The American Psychoanalyst, 2003-present
  • The Israel Journal of Psychoanalysis, 2000-2003 
  • Bunyan Studies, 2006-present
  • The Brown University Women Writers Project, 1991-2013
  • The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 1999-2001

External Review

  • Dartmouth University (2002), Texas A&M (2006), Brandeis University (2009), Hong Kong Baptist University (2012), Weill Cornell Medical College (2014), King’s College (Vancouver, 2017), Manchester Metropolitan University (2016), 3M National Teaching Fellowship (Canada, 2017), University of Warwick (2018) 

External Reader 

  • Johns Hopkins University Press; University of Chicago Press; Yale University Press; Routledge Press; Thames and Hudson Press; Kent State University Press; Cambridge University Press; Fordham University Press; Karnac Books; The American Psychoanalytic Association Book Prize, 2014-present; selected journals: American Imago; Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association; Modernism/Modernity; Bunyan Studies; Prose Studies; International Journal of Psychoanalysis; New Literary History; Tulsa Studies in Language and Literature, Auto/Biography Studies, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. 


University of Virginia Ph.D. 1986 , University of Chicago M.A. 1977, Arizona State University B.A. 1976 summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1976


Early Modern British, Puritan British, Psychoanalysis, Early Modern Women, John Bunyan, Language or Literature, English Literature, Biography and Autobiography