Monthly Archives: September 2014

New Book: Hospitality and the Transatlantic Imagination, 1815-1835, by Cynthia Schoolar Williams


9781137340047From Palgrave MacMillan: “At the exhausted conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars, as nationalisms gained momentum, writers as diverse as Mary Shelley, James Fenimore Cooper, Washington Irving, and Felicia Hemans took up the discourse of hospitality. In a series of innovative transatlantic texts, they posed urgent questions about displacement and the nation: How does one claim to belong? What are the limits of welcome?Hospitality and the Transatlantic Imagination, 1815-1835 argues that this select group of late-Romantic English and American writers disrupted national tropes by reclaiming their countries’ shared historical identification with hospitality. In doing so, they reimagined the spaces of encounter: the city, the young republic, the coast of England, and the Atlantic itself.”



New Book: New World Drama: The Performative Commons in the Atlantic World, 1649-1849 by Elizabeth Maddock Dillon

Dillon_pbk_cvr_NS.inddFrom Duke University Press: “In New World Drama, Elizabeth Maddock Dillon turns to the riotous scene of theatre in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world to explore the creation of new publics. Moving from England to the Caribbean to the early United States, she traces the theatrical emergence of a collective body in the colonized New World—one that included indigenous peoples, diasporic Africans, and diasporic Europeans. In the raucous space of the theatre, the contradictions of colonialism loomed large. Foremost among these was the central paradox of modernity: the coexistence of a massive slave economy and a nascent politics of freedom.

Audiences in London eagerly watched the royal slave, Oroonoko, tortured on stage, while audiences in Charleston and Kingston were forbidden from watching the same scene. Audiences in Kingston and New York City exuberantly participated in the slaying of Richard III on stage, enacting the rise of the “people,” and Native American leaders were enjoined to watch actors in blackface “jump Jim Crow.” Dillon argues that the theater served as a “performative commons,” staging debates over representation in a political world based on popular sovereignty. Her book is a capacious account of performance, aesthetics, and modernity in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world.”