Bernard Schweizer

Professor of English

Long Island University, Brooklyn


Bernard Schweizer specializes in feminist genre studies, ideologies of travel writing, and the literature of religious dissent and disbelief. Rebellion is the thread the weaves through all of his three monographs: Radicals on the Road: The Politics of Travel Writing in the 1930s (Virginia, 2001), Rebecca West: Heroism, Rebellion, and the Female Epic (Greenwood, 2002); and Hating God: the Untold Story of Misotheism (Oxford, 2010).

Schweizer is an avid editor. He has issued Rebecca West’s previously unpublished (and deemed unpublishable) papers about Mexico as Survivors in Mexico (Yale UP). As an aficionado of Rebecca West, he has further edited the first collection on this neglected British writer (Rebecca West Today: Contemporary Critical Approaches), and he has issued a contextual edition of West’s first novel The Return of the Soldier (Broadview, 2010). Among Schweizer’s other editorial exploits are a book on the literary quest, co-authored with Robert Segal (Salem Press, 2011), a collection on political travel Writing, and a book on the understudied sub-genre of the female epic (Approaches to the Female Epic, Ashgate).

In 2003, Schweizer founded the International Rebecca West Society, of which he served as the second president, from 2007-2013.

In 2013, Schweizer founded the International Society for Heresy Studies, an association dedicated to the exploration of blasphemy, heresy, and unbelief and literature and art. The Association holds its inaugural conference in May 2014.

Bernard Schweizer grew up in Switzerland. The son of a Swiss watch-maker, Schweizer’s career did not progress like clock-work: after graduating from the Waldorf school in 1978, he completed a four-year apprenticeship as a health-care professional in Bern. Subsequently, he worked part-time in a drugstore while earning his High School Diploma by distance learning. After graduating cum laude for the Swiss Federal Baccalaureate in 1986, he spent more than a year backpacking around the world, a journey that took him from Russia to China and Tibet, from there to Nepal, India, Burma, and Thailand, continuing with New Zealand and Australia, and wrapping it up with visits to the US Westcoast and then extensive hiking in the Canadian West, Yukon, and Alaska. 

Schweizer trekking in Nepal,


In 1988, Schweizer enrolled at the French speaking University of Lausanne, studying English, German, and Geography. In 1990, he emigrated to the U.S. and in 1992 completed his B.A. in English with a 4.0 GPA at the University of Minnesota. Five years later, Schweizer earned his Ph.D. in English from Duke University. From 1997-2000 he taught English Literature at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. A two-year Swiss fellowship enabled him to return to the U.S. to study the work of Rebecca West in the archives at Tulsa, Yale, and New York. This research netted Schweizer several books. Long Island University hired Schweizer as an Assistant Professor of English in 2002, and in 2007 he received tenure there. Schweizer, who lives in New Jersey, is married to a biologist from China, and he has one daughter.


Books - Monographs


      Books - Editions



• Honors Elective: “Fascination Satan”

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• English 64: “Introduction to Asian Literature”

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• English 579: “Unholy Writ! The Literature of Religious Dissent and Unbelief”

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• English 129: “Representations of Madness in 20th-century British Literature”

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Research & Publication