Beth Blum

Beth Blum teaches modern and contemporary literature at Harvard University, where she is an Assistant Professor of English. Her book, The Self-Help Compulsion: Searching for Advice in Modern Literature was published with Columbia University Press in 2020. Recent work has appeared in PMLA, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The


How to Read a Person: Elsie Lincoln Benedict’s Science of Human Analysis

Wonder Woman controls crowds, stops traffic, and makes all your wishes come true. This is not a description of the comic-book heroine invented by William Moulton Marston in 1941 but of Elsie Lincoln Benedict (1885–1970), who earned the “Wonder Woman” moniker for her self-help secrets and life-changing lectures (fig. 1). Instead of evil supervillains, she battled naysaying and bad habits.