Category Archives: Books

Routledge Library Editions: Romanticism: Romantic Science and the Experience of Self: Transatlantic Crosscurrents from William James to Oliver Sacks

by Martin Halliwell (Author)

First published in 1999, this engaging interdisciplinary study of romantic science focuses on the work of five influential figures in twentieth-century transatlantic intellectual history. In this book, Martin Halliwell constructs an innovative tradition of romantic science by indicating points of theoretical and historical intersection in the thought of William James (American philosopher); Otto Rank (Austrian psychoanalyst); Ludwig Binswanger (Swiss psychiatrist); Erik Erikson (Danish/German psychologist); and Oliver Sacks (British neurologist).

Beginning with the ferment of intellectual activity in late eighteenth-century German Romanticism, Halliwell argues that only with William James’ theory of pragmatism early in the twentieth century did romantic science become a viable counter-tradition to strictly empirical science. Stimulated by debates over rival models of consciousness and renewed interest in theories of the self, Halliwell reveals that in their challenge to Freud’s adoption of ideas from nineteenth-century natural science, these thinkers have enlarged the possibilities of romantic science for bridging the perceived gulf between the arts and sciences.

Reimagining the Transatlantic, 1780-1890

by Joselyn M. Almeida (Author)

In her thought-provoking study of Britain’s relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean during the Romantic and Victorian periods, Joselyn M. Almeida makes a compelling case for extending the critical boundaries of current transatlantic and circumatlantic scholarship. She proposes the pan-Atlantic as a critical model that encompasses Britain’s relationship to the non-Anglophone Americas given their shared history of conquest and the slave trade, and underscores the importance of writings by Afro-British and Afro-Hispanophone authors in formulating Atlantic culture. In adopting the term pan-Atlantic, Almeida argues for the interrelationship of the discourses of discovery, conquest, enslavement, and liberation expressed in literary motifs such as the New World, Columbus, and Las Casas; the representation of Native Americans; the enslavement and liberation of Africans; and the emancipation of Spanish America. Her study draws on the works of William Robertson, Ottobah Cugoano, Francisco Clavijero, Francisco Miranda, José Blanco White, Richard Robert Madden, Juan Manzano, Charles Darwin, and W. H. Hudson, uncovering the shared cultural grammar of travel narratives, abolitionist poems, novels, and historiographies that crosses national and linguistic boundaries.

Robert Burns and Transatlantic Culture

by Sharon Alker (Author), Leith Davis (Author), Holly Faith Nelson (Editor)

While recent scholarship has usefully positioned Burns within the context of British Romanticism as a spokesperson of Scottish national identity, Robert Burns and Transatlantic Culture considers Burns’s impact in the United States, Canada, and South America, where he has served variously as a site of cultural memory and of creative negotiation. Ambitious in its scope, the volume is divided into five sections that explore: transatlantic concerns in Burns’s own work, Burns’s early publication in North America, Burns’s reception in the Americas, Burns’s creation as a site of cultural memory, and extra-literary remediations of Burns, including contemporary digital representations. By tracing the transatlantic modulations of the poet and songwriter and his works, Robert Burns and Transatlantic Culture sheds new light on the circuits connecting Scotland and Britain with the evolving cultures of the Americas from the late eighteenth century to the present.

Wiring the World: The Social and Cultural Creation of Global Telegraph Networks

The laying of the transatlantic cable in the 1850s sparked a revolution in communication. A message could travel from Newfoundland to Ireland in minutes, collapsing the space among continents, cultures, and nations. An eclectic group of engineers, entrepreneurs, politicians, and media visionaries then developed this technology into a telecommunications system that remade civilization. The desire to wire the world, though, was not shared by all.

This unusual history focuses not only on those who advanced cable communications, but also on those who harbored alternative ideas. These battles manifested in the cable wars, discourses on morality and violence, a rivalry between science and business, and the rise of strategic nationalism. They might seem peripheral, but such struggles determined the growth of cable technology, which in turn influenced world history. Filled with fascinating characters and new insight into defining events, this book recognizes globalization’s diverse paths and close ties to business and politics.

Building the British Atlantic World: Spaces, Places, and Material Culture, 1600-1850

by Daniel Maudlin (Editor), Bernard L. Herman (Editor)

Spanning the North Atlantic rim from Canada to Scotland, and from the Caribbean to the coast of West Africa, the British Atlantic world is deeply interconnected across its regions. In this groundbreaking study, thirteen leading scholars explore the idea of transatlanticism–or a shared “Atlantic world” experience–through the lens of architecture, built spaces, and landscapes in the British Atlantic from the seventeenth century through the mid-nineteenth century. Examining town planning, churches, forts, merchants’ stores, state houses, and farm houses, this collection shows how the powerful visual language of architecture and design allowed the people of this era to maintain common cultural experiences across different landscapes while still forming their individuality.

By studying the interplay between physical construction and social themes that include identity, gender, taste, domesticity, politics, and race, the authors interpret material culture in a way that particularly emphasizes the people who built, occupied, and used the spaces and reflects the complex cultural exchanges between Britain and the New World.

Puritanism and Emotion in the Early Modern World

by A. Ryrie (Editor), Tom Schwanda (Editor)

The stereotype of the emotionless or gloomy Puritan is still with us, but this book’s purpose is not merely to demonstrate that it is false. The reason to look at seventeenth-century English and American Puritans’ understanding and experience of joy, happiness, assurance, and affliction is to show how important the emotions were for Puritan culture, from leading figures such as Richard Baxter and John Bunyan through to more obscure diarists and letter-writers. Rejecting the modern opposition between ‘head’ and ‘heart’, these men and women believed that a rational religion was also a deeply-felt one, and that contemplative practices and other spiritual duties could produce transporting joy which was understood as a Christian’s birthright. The emotional experiences which they expected from their faith, and the ones they actually encountered, constituted much of its power. Theologians, historians and literary scholars here combine to bring the study of Puritanism together with the new vogue for the history of the emotions.


Jane Eyre’s Fairytale Legacy at Home and Abroad: Constructions and Deconstructions of National Identity — by Abigail Heininger

Exploring the literary microcosm inspired by Brontë’s debut novel, Jane Eyre’s Fairytale Legacy at Home and Abroad focuses on the nationalistic stakes of the mythic and fairytale paradigms that were incorporated into the heroic female bildungsroman tradition. Jane Eyre, Abigail Heiniger argues, is a heroic changeling indebted to the regional, pre-Victorian fairy lore Charlotte Brontë heard and read in Haworth, an influence that Brontë repudiates in her last novel, Villette. While this heroic figure inspired a range of female writers on both sides of the Atlantic, Heiniger suggests that the regional aspects of the changeling were especially attractive to North American writers such as Susan Warner and L.M. Montgomery who responded to Jane Eyre as part of the Cinderella tradition. Heiniger contrasts the reactions of these white women writers with that of Hannah Crafts, whose Jane Eyre-influenced The Bondwoman’s Narrative rejects the Cinderella model. Instead, Heiniger shows, Crafts creates a heroic female bildungsroman that critiques fairytale narratives from the viewpoint of the obscure, oppressed workers who remain forever outside the tales of wonder produced for middle-class consumption. Heiniger concludes by demonstrating how Brontë’s middle-class American readers projected the self-rise ethic onto Jane Eyre, miring the novel in nineteenth-century narratives of American identity formation.

Transatlantic Literary Exchanges, 1790-1870: Gender, Race, and Nation by Julia Wright

Exploring the ways in which transatlantic relationships functioned in the nineteenth century to unsettle hierarchical models of gender, race, and national and cultural differences, this collection demonstrates the generative potential of transatlantic studies to loosen demographic frames and challenge conveniently linear histories. The contributors take up a rich and varied range of topics, including Charlotte Smith’s novelistic treatment of the American Revolution, The Old Manor House; Anna Jameson’s counter-discursive constructions of gender in a travelogue; Felicia Hemans, Herman Melville, and the ‘Queer Atlantic’; representations of indigenous religion and shamanism in British Romantic literary discourse; the mid-nineteenth-century transatlantic abolitionist movement; the transatlantic adventure novel; the exchanges of transatlantic print culture facilitated by the Minerva Press; British and Anglo-American representations of Niagara Falls; and Charles Brockden Brown’s intervention in the literature of exploration. Taken together, the essays underscore the strategic power of the concept of the transatlantic to enable new perspectives on the politics of gender, race, and cultural difference as manifested in late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain and North America.


The Mulatta Concubine: Terror, Intimacy, Freedom, and Desire in the Black Transatlantic (Race in the Atlantic World, 1700-1900)

Popular and academic representations of the free mulatta concubine repeatedly depict women of mixed black African and white racial descent as defined by their sexual attachment to white men, and thus they offer evidence of the means to and dimensions of their freedom within Atlantic slave societies. In The Mulatta Concubine, Lisa Ze Winters contends that the uniformity of these representations conceals the figure’s centrality to the practices and production of diaspora.

Beginning with a meditation on what captive black subjects may have seen and remembered when encountering free women of color living in slave ports, the book traces the echo of the free mulatta concubine across the physical and imaginative landscapes of three Atlantic sites: Gorée Island, New Orleans, and Saint Domingue (Haiti). Ze Winters mines an archive that includes a 1789 political petition by free men of color, a 1737 letter by a free black mother on behalf of her daughter, antebellum newspaper reports, travelers’ narratives, ethnographies, and Haitian Vodou iconography. Attentive to the tenuousness of freedom, Ze Winters argues that the concubine figure’s manifestation as both historical subject and African diasporic goddess indicates her centrality to understanding how free and enslaved black subjects performed gender, theorized race and freedom, and produced their own diasporic identities.

New Conference: Maladies of the Soul, Emotion, Affect, September 22-25 2016, Banff

full name / name of organization:
Canadian Literature Centre at University of Alberta and Canadian Studies Centre at University of Innsbruck
contact email:


1. Daniel Heath Justice, University of British Columbia
2. Smaro Kamboureli, University of Toronto
3. Daniel Laforest, University of Alberta

Round-Table of Invited Authors

1. Nicole Brossard, Montreal, Quebec
2. Louise Dupré, Montreal, Quebec
3. Katherena Vermette, Winnipeg, Manitoba
4. Aritha van Herk, Calgary, Alberta

According to D. Bachmann-Medick, a scientific turn is not synonymous with the radical reorientation of a single discipline but basically provides a new pluri- and transdisciplinary perspective complementing and reinforcing already existing approaches. A new turn does not supplant another but becomes part of a dynamic process of competing forces, which eventually may give rise to new categories of analysis and concepts. Studying both the general implications and the positive effects and deficits of such a turn is particularly rewarding when it comes to comparing different academic traditions and – as is the case with this transatlantic and transdisciplinary conference – different literary productions written in different languages.

In the wake of the conference “Crisis and Beyond,” held at the University of Innsbruck in 2015, “Maladies of the Soul, Emotion, Affect” not only responds to recent attention to affect, or the “affective turn” dubbed by Patricia Clough, but also investigates the impact of previous forms of research both on emotions and cognition on the study of Indigenous, Canadian and Québécois writings in English and French. If empathy and agency have evolved as new guiding principles in some fields of literary analysis, their roots can be found in such classical disciplines as poetics, rhetoric, or hermeneutics (Th. Anz), and also in the focus on agency advocated by the Constance school of reception theory. While selecting contemporary Indigenous, Canadian and Québécois writings in English and French as a body of investigation, the participants are encouraged to explore the emotional and affective implications of the process of literary communication, including both conceptual and empirical research and covering the following aspects:

• the emotional and affective habitus of the producer (the “real” author), her / his intentional or non-intentional use of techniques of emotionalisation, her / his definition of a specific poetics, and their possible impact on the text
• the emotional and affective response of the “real” reader to these techniques
• the text as a vehicle of emotions or affects which names, discusses or presents them as parts of the mental habitus of the protagonists (Th. Anz); the aesthetic question of how such processes are evoked (use of metaphors, inscription of the body, syntax of the unspeakable, etc.).

The focus on contemporary literature necessarily confronts us with S. Žižek’s assessment of the 21st century as the “apocalyptic zero point” and S. Ahmed’s, L. Berlant’s and others’ warnings of the West’s “cruel” attachments to neoliberal optimism. S. Ngai identifies “ugly feelings” while M.C. Nussbaum addresses the ethics of care as an affective, and alternative, form of knowledge, agency, and democracy (J. Tronto).

• And so what are the affects and emotions that index the particularity of our literary moment or our moment of crisis?
• How does intimacy or privacy respond to publicness?
• What is today’s equivalent of Romantic ennui and melancholy?
• Do situations of exile and migration enhance the new “maladies of the soul” (J. Kristeva)?
• Do authors ask questions of liveliness and animacy (M.Y. Chen)?
• Which lives today are considered worth living and are recognized as such (J. Butler)?
• How might Indigenous literary and critical interventions undo the very categorizations and labels suggested by this call for papers and enable us to tell different stories (D.H. Justice)?

These and other lines of critical inquiry – on the basis of the above-mentioned emotional and affective implications of literary communication – are designed to allow participants to approach affect, emotion, and the new maladies of the soul of this 21st century, a task which will advance terminological, methodological, and theoretical knowledge both in the fields of affect and emotion and of text analysis.

In the treatment of this description, we encourage comparative, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary perspectives and methodologies. We invite proposals of traditional 20-minute papers as well as other forms of presentation such as short 10-minute position papers, round-tables, or pecha kucha presentations. Complete panel proposals (of 3 or 4 papers) are also highly encouraged.

Proposals (250 words per paper), in English or in French, with a short biographical note (50 words), should be submitted to clcconf@ualberta.caby February 1, 2016.