He taught at City College of CUNY from 1957-1982, and since 1982 has been Profesor of English at New York University.
Mr. Karl's literary archive covers his biographies of four major writers -Joseph Conrad (1979), William Faulkner (1989), Franz Kafka (1991), and George Eliot (1995) - with a very full (and well organized) record of the stages through which he researched, drafted, developed, and edited each project. In addition, the archive includes similarly detailed material both for Mr. Karl's other books - his novel of world War II Italy, The Quest (1961) and two major critical works on modern American fiction - and also for a major long-term editorial project, the Joseph Conrad letters (1983-), for which he has corresponded with over 2000 Conrad collectors, scholars and librarians. The archive includes letters from other leading bibliographers (Leon Edel, Joseph Blotner, Lionel Trilling), as well as from other significant correspondents (for instance, Bertrand Russell, John Barth).
The Frederick R. Karl Archive supports Thomas Cooper Library's project of building research collections (book and manuscript materials) to document the achievements of literary biography.