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Associate Professor, Composition and Rhetoric 
Director, Honors Program

Pictured is Jessica McCort. Photo by Randall Coleman.Contact Information


  • Bachelor of Arts, English Literature, Pennsylvania State University
  • Master of Arts, English and American Literature, Washington University
  • Doctor of Philosophy, English and American Literature, Washington University

Courses Taught

  • College Composition
  • Honors College Composition
  • Fairy Tales: Visions and Revisions
  • Feminist Fairy Tales
  • Major American Authors: Bishop, Plath, Sexton
  • Harlem Renaissance
  • Haunted America
  • Writing Studio


Jessica McCort, Ph.D., is an associate professor of composition and rhetoric in the Department of Literary Arts and Social Justice at Point Park University. McCort earned a Ph.D. in English and American literature from Washington University in St. Louis, specializing in American literature and women’s writing. McCort's scholarship focuses largely on the appropriation of children’s literature, particularly Grimm’s and Andersen’s fairy tales and Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, by American women writers. She is also the editor of a compilation of essays concerning the intersection of the horror genre and children’s and young adult literature and culture, titled Reading in the Dark: Horror in Children’s Literature and Culture.

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

  • Gothic and Horror in Children's and Young Adult Literature and Culture
  • Fairy Tales and Fairy-Tale Revisions
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Girls' Cultures and Girls' Reading Practices

Selected Publications

  • "Dashing Expectations: On Malcolm Whyte’s 'Gorey Secrets' and Nathalie Tierce’s 'Pulling Weeds from a Cactus Garden,'" Los Angeles Review of Books, Dec. 7, 2022.
  • Forthcoming: “‘Open Alice’s Door’: Lewis Carroll’s Influence on Elizabeth Bishop and Sylvia Plath.’” Modernism in Wonderland, Historicising Modernism Series, Bloomsbury, 2022.
  • "Flipping Hill House: The Netflix Renovation of Shirley Jackson’s Landmark Novel." Shirley Jackson and Domesticity: Beyond the Haunted House, edited by Jill E. Anderson and Melanie R. Anderson, Bloomsbury, 2020.
  • "The ‘Interrupted Story’: Elizabeth Bishop’s Fairy-Tale Aesthetics." Women’s Studies, vol. 48, no. 6, 2019, pp. 1-24.
  • McCort, Jessica R., ed. Reading in the Dark: Horror in Children’s Literature and Culture. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, [2016], 2016. (Published in Paperback 2018).
  • Breaking the Glass Slipper." The Flourishing Academic. Duquesne University Center for Teaching Excellence. 4 May, 2015.
  • Edward Gorey: The Humour in Children’s Horror." Inis: The Children’s Books Ireland Magazine 40 (Winter 2013): 8-13.
  • "A Red-Blooded American Girl: Gender, American Culture, and Sylvia Plath." Critical Insights: Sylvia Plath. Ipswich: Salem, 2013. 117-140."
  • Sleeping Beauty Awake: Sylvia Plath Through the Looking-Glass." Plath Profiles 5 (Summer 2012): 147-157.
  • "Interview with Joyce Carol Oates." Arch Literary Journal 2 (February 2009). 
  • "Alice in Cambridge: Sylvia Plath, Little Girls Lost, and ‘Stone Boy with Dolphin.’” Plath Profiles 1 (Summer 2008): 175-186.

Selected Presentations

  • American Literature Association Conference, Boston, MA, May 2019. Paper Presented: "Flipping Hill House: The Netflix Revision of Shirley Jackson’s Landmark Novel," Panel: Rethinking Shirley Jackson: A Jackson Renaissance.
  • PCA/ACA National Conference, Indianapolis, April 2018. Paper Presented: "Ruin and Decay in the Imagined Worlds of Pan’s Labyrinth and Crimson Peak."
  • Literary Arts Symposium (Theme: Apocalyptic Thinking): Point Park University, April 2017. Paper Presented: "Poisonous Fruit: Cannibalistic Fairy Tales in Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Cinder."
  • PCA/ACA National Conference, New Orleans, April 2015. Paper Presented: "Poisonous Fruit’: Cannibalistic Fairy Tales in Twilight and The Hunger Games."
  • PCA/ACA National Conference, Chicago, April 2014. Paper Presented: "'A New Chapter of Torture': Gothic Horror in The Hunger Games."
  • Featured Speaker, Sylvia Plath Commemoration, West Chester University Poetry Center, October 2013.
  • Speaker, Colloquium, Duquesne University, October 2013. Paper Presented: "Bringing the Fairy Tale Back to the Horror Realm: Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm."
  • PCA/ACA National Conference, Washington, DC, April 2013. Paper Presented: "Edward Gorey: The Humor in Children’s Horror."
  • American Literature Association Symposium on the Gothic, Savannah, GA, February 2013. Paper Presented: "The Importance of Being Frightened: Gothic Elements in Children’s Literary Culture."
  • Mid-Atlantic PCA/ACA Regional Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, November 2012. Paper Presented: "Defeating the Dragon: The Role of Horror in Children’s Books."
  • Sylvia Plath Symposium, University of Indiana-Bloomington, October 2012. Paper Presented: "'This Smith Cinderella': Breaking the Glass Coffin in The Bell Jar."
  • American Literature Association National Conference, San Francisco, May 2012. Paper Presented: "'The interrupted story': Children’s Literature and Elizabeth Bishop’s Exploratory Aesthetics."
  • PCA/ACA National Conference, Boston, April 2012. Paper Presented: "'Off with her head!': Children's Literature and the Wonderland of Horror."
  • SWTX PCA/ACA Regional Conference, Albuquerque, March 2012. Paper Presented: "'Hansel and Gretel’ and Elizabeth Bishop's ‘The Farmer's Children.'"
  • Girls’ Culture Studies Seminar, Annual Conference of the American Cultural Studies Association, New York University, May 2008.
  • Presented work-in-progress as panel member in seminar on Girls’ Culture Studies at the Annual Conference of the ACSA.
  • Sylvia Plath 75th-Year Symposium, Oxford University, October 2007. Paper Presented: "Alice in Cambridge: Sylvia Plath, Little Girls Lost, and ‘Stone Boy with Dolphin."
  • (Dis)junctions 2007, University of California Riverside, April 2007. Paper Presented: "Sylvia Plath and Fairy Tales."

Selected Honors and Awards

  • Student Essays Selected as First Class Winners, Duquesne University, Spring 2015, Spring 2014, Fall 2014 and Spring 2013
  • Student Essays Selected as Learning Community Essay Winners, Duquesne University Fall 2012 and Fall 2013
  • Washington University Dissertation Fellowship, 
  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching, Washington University 2003-2004
  • Washington University Graduate Scholarship
  • Summa Cum Laude with Highest Distinction, Schreyer Honors Program
  • Penn State Nominee for Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships
  • College of English Student Marshall 

Leadership Positions

  • Director, Honors Program, Point Park University, January 2022-Present
  • Director, Composition Program, Point Park University, 2020-2022
  • Assistant Director, Composition Program, Point Park University, 2019-2020
  • Writing Intensive Coordinator, Point Park University, 2015-2017
  • Member of Editorial Board, Plath Profiles, 2011-present
  • Coordinator of IHP 104, Honors Program, Duquesne University, 2014-2015
  • Coordinator of community-engaged learning, Orbis Learning Community, Duquesne University, 2011-2015
  • Coordinator of University Writing Assessment, Washington University, 2006-2007

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