Monthly Archives: March 2015

New Book: Romantic Education in Nineteenth-Century American Literature: National and Transatlantic Contexts by Monika M. Elbert and Lesley Ginsberg (Eds)

romantic education coverFrom Routledge: The essays in this collection examine the on-going influence of Romanticism in the long nineteenth century on American and transatlantic educational practices, as well as in an array of print texts, including but not limited to literary publications. A useful reference for scholars of Romantic studies, American studies, and cultural histories of education, this collection underscores, also, the centrality of debates about education within social networks that included thinkers on both sides of the Atlantic.

New Book: Gothic Subjects: The Transformation of Individualism in American Fiction, 1790-1861 by Siân Silyn Roberts

gothic.subjects.coverFrom the University of Pennsylvania Press: Beginning in the 1790s, North American readers developed an appetite for the gothic novel, as imported, reprinted, and pirated editions of British and European romances flooded the market alongside homegrown works. In Gothic Subjects, Siân Silyn Roberts accounts for the sudden and considerable appeal of the gothic during this period by contending that it prepared a culturally diverse American readership to think of itself as part of a transatlantic world through which goods, people, and information could circulate. By putting gothic literature in dialogue with the writings of Locke, Hume, Reid, Smith, Rousseau, and other major figures of the European Enlightenment, Silyn Roberts shows how the early American novel participated in the process of revising and transforming the figure of the modern individual for a fluid, contingent Atlantic population.

Exploring works of fiction by Charles Brockden Brown, Leonora Sansay, Sally Sayward Barrell Keating Wood, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Montgomery Bird, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and William Wells Brown, among others, Silyn Roberts argues that the gothic helped post-Revolutionary readers to think of themselves as political subjects. By reading the emergence of a national literary style in terms of its appropriation and reinterpretation of British cultural forms, Gothic Subjects situates itself at the crux of several important issues in American literary history: transatlantic literary relations, the connection between literature and political philosophy, the paradoxes of sovereign power, and the form of the novel. In doing so, Gothic Subjects powerfully rethinks some of our previous assumptions about the cultural work of the American gothic tradition.

New Book: Facing Melville, Facing Italy. Democracy, Politics, Translation by John Bryant, Giorgio Mariani, and Gordon Poole, Eds.

facing melvilleFrom Sapienza Univerista EditriceWhen Herman Melville did his seven-month tour of Greece, the Near-East, and Western Europe in 1856-1857, Italy, although still a ‘geographical expression,’ was resurging politically in its centuries-old yearning for unity and freedom. Perhaps there was no global traveler more cosmopolitan than Melville or more artistically sensitive to the peninsula’s political unrest and aspirations.He perceived the scenes, sounds, gestures, peoples, usages, and languages of Italy, Palestine, and the other countries he visited with a sensitivity honed by his early experience of proletarian shipboard multi-ethnicity and his immersion in the cultural diversities of the South Seas islands. His cosmopolitanism was seized upon by Cesare Pavese, who translated Moby-Dick and “Benito Cereno” into Italian, as what he may have seen as a fresh alternative to the stultifying nationalism of Fascism. The essays in the present volume are a selection from the Melville Society’s 8th International Conference, held in Rome in June 2011. Cosmopolitan in their authorship and themes, they offer new insights and background for better understanding Melville’s importance as a herald of global concerns that are very much with us still today.

New Book: Transatlantic Literary Studies, 1660–1830 by Eve Tavor Bannet and Susan Manning, Eds.

Transnationalism.coverFrom Cambridge University Press: The recently developed field of transatlantic literary studies has encouraged scholars to move beyond national literatures towards an examination of communications between Britain and the Americas. The true extent and importance of these material and literary exchanges is only just beginning to be discovered. This collection of original essays explores the transatlantic literary imagination during the key period from 1660 to 1830: from the colonization of the Americas to the formative decades following political separation between the nations. Contributions from leading scholars from both sides of the Atlantic bring a variety of approaches and methods to bear on both familiar and undiscovered texts. Revealing how literary genres were borrowed and readapted to a different context, the volume offers an index of the larger literary influences going backwards and forwards across the ocean.


New Book: Transnationalism and American Literature Literary Translation 1773–1892 By Colleen G. Boggs

boggs.coverFrom Routledge: This book examines nineteenth century contexts of transnationalism, translation and American literature. The discussion of transnationalism largely revolves around the question of what role nationalism plays in the spaces and temporalities of the transatlantic. Boggs demonstrates that the assumption that American literature has become transnational only recently – that there is such a thing as an “era” of transnationalism – marks a blindness to the intrinsic transatlanticism of American literature.


New Book: Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William and Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory by Barbara McCaskill

McCaskill_LoveLiberation_LR.inddFrom the University of Georgia PressLove, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William and Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory, is Barbara McCaskill’s study of pivotal moments in the dynamic lives of William and Ellen Craft, two African Americans who successfully fled from American bondage.  Passing as a white southern planter and gentleman, Ellen Craft left Georgia in 1848, with her husband William completing the performance as his “master’s” obedient servant.  McCaskill examines transatlantic periodicals and print productions to discuss how the Crafts publicly represented themselves, the advantages and limitations of alliances they forged with British and American reformers, and what their story tells us about how we remember slavery.  Her reading of their narrative, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, highlights themes of community, partnership, and visibility that characterized their transatlantic activism, and where their endeavors sometimes fell short.  Her study concludes with evaluation of the couple’s extraordinary decision to return to Georgia and educate the freedpeople.

New Article: “Finding Otira: On the Geopolitics of Black Celebrity” by James W. Cook

From the fall 2014 of Raritan, a peer-reviewed arts and ideas journal that aims “to reach the common reader in everyone and to provide a particular experience of reading, one that nurtures an engaged and questioning approach to cultural texts of all sorts: literary, artistic, political, historical, sociological, even scientific” Access the current issue here. Access a PDF of Dr. Cook’s article here.



New Book: American Paintings at Harvard Volume 1: Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels by Artists Born Before 1826 by Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. and Melissa Renn, Eds.

america's paintings harvard coverFrom Yale University Press: This volume features nearly 500 paintings, watercolors, pastels, and miniatures from Harvard University’s storied, yet little-known, collection of American art. These works, many unpublished, are drawn from the Harvard Art Museums, the University Portrait Collection, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and other entities, and date from the early colonial years to the mid-19th century. Highlights include a rare group of 17th-century portraits, along with important paintings by Robert Feke, John Singleton Copley, Charles Willson Peale, Gilbert Stuart, and Washington Allston, in addition to works depicting western and Native American subjects by Alexandre de Batz, Henry Inman, and Alfred Jacob Miller, among others. Each work is accompanied by scholarly commentary that draws on extensive new research, as well as a complete exhibition and reference history. An introduction by Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. describes the history of the collection. Lavishly illustrated in color, this compendium is a testament to the nation’s oldest collection of American art, and an essential resource for scholars and collectors alike.

New Book: America’s England: Antebellum Literature and Atlantic Sectionalism by Christopher Hanlon

America's England CoverFrom Oxford University PressAmerica’s England examines the patterns of affiliation through which antebellum northerners and southerners in the United States codified their antipathies in terms of various constructions of England. Hanlon argues that widely circulated fantasies of English racial origins, sweeping English geographies and picturesque spaces, transatlantic telecommunication, and Free Trade economics rallied writers and public intellectuals such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, Lydia Child, Henry Timrod, William Gilmore Simms, George Fitzhugh, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charles Sumner, Henry Herbert, and many others as they situated the cisatlantic crisis at oceanic removes.


New Book: Common Things: Romance and the Aesthetics of Belonging in Atlantic Modernity by James D. Lilley

Common Things coverFrom Fordham University Press: What are the relationships between the books we read and the communities we share? Common Things explores how transatlantic romance revivals of the eighteenth and nineteenth century influenced—and were influenced by—emerging modern systems of community.Drawing on the work of Washington Irving, Henry Mackenzie, Thomas Jefferson, James Fenimore Cooper, Robert Montgomery Bird, and Charles Brockden Brown, the book shows how romance promotes a distinctive aesthetics of belonging—a mode of being in common tied to new qualities of the singular. Each chapter focuses on one of these common things—the stain of race, the “property” of personhood, ruined feelings, the genre of a text, and the event of history—and examines how these peculiar qualities work to sustain the coherence of our modern common places. In the work of Horace Walpole and Edgar Allan Poe, the book further uncovers an important— and never more timely—alternative aesthetic practice that reimagines community as an open and fugitive process rather than as a collection of common things.