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Faculty Publications -- Department of English

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Full-Text Articles in Modern Literature

The Victorian Body, Peter J. Capuano Mar 2018

The Victorian Body, Peter J. Capuano

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

The nineteenth century is extremely important for the study of embodiment because it is the period in which the modern body, as we currently understand it, was most thoroughly explored. This was the era when modern medical models of the body were developed and disseminated, when modern political relations to the body were instantiated, and when modern identities in relation to class, race, and gender were inscribed. While questions about the distinctions between personhood and the body were studied by the ancients, nineteenth-century developments in technology, economics, medicine, and science rendered such categories newly important for Britons who were the ...


Willa Cather On A “New World Novelist”: A Newly-Discovered 1920 Vanity Fair Essay, Melissa J. Homestead Jan 2018

Willa Cather On A “New World Novelist”: A Newly-Discovered 1920 Vanity Fair Essay, Melissa J. Homestead

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

The ability to quote from and publish Willa Cather’s letters is a relatively recent development for scholars. However, the republication of her critical prose began shortly after her death, when Cather’s partner, Edith Lewis, appointed literary executor in her will, facilitated the publication of Willa Cather on Writing: Critical Studies on Writing as an Art (1949). In line with Cather’s own approach to her early career, which she often dismissed or mischaracterized, this volume collected only her critical prose published from 1920 forward, including magazine essays, prefaces, and one previously unpublished fragment. This volume supplemented Cather’s ...


“Always Up Against”: A Study Of Veteran Wpas And Social Resilience, Shari J. Stenberg, Deborah Minter Jan 2018

“Always Up Against”: A Study Of Veteran Wpas And Social Resilience, Shari J. Stenberg, Deborah Minter

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

This essay reports on an interview-based study of ten veteran WPAs, whose three decades of service spans neoliberalism’s growing influence on universities. Our findings trace their enactment of social resilience, a dynamic, relational process that allowed them, even in the face of constraint, to act and to preserve key commitments.

Like most compositionists, and especially WPAs, we feel the restrictive impact of austerity. This sense is reflected in a growing body of research in our field, and most recently in a CCC special issue, where Jonathan Alexander reminds us that “one of the things we know about writing and ...


From A Distance “You Might Mistake Her For A Man”: A Closer Reading Of Gender And Character Action In Jane Eyre, The Law And The Lady, And A Brilliant Woman, Gabrielle Kirilloff, Peter J. Capuano, Julius Fredrick, Matthew L. Jockers Jan 2018

From A Distance “You Might Mistake Her For A Man”: A Closer Reading Of Gender And Character Action In Jane Eyre, The Law And The Lady, And A Brilliant Woman, Gabrielle Kirilloff, Peter J. Capuano, Julius Fredrick, Matthew L. Jockers

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

This research examines and contributes to recent work by Matthew Jockers and Gabi Kirilloff on the relationship between gender and action in the nineteenth-century novel. Jockers and Kirilloff use dependency parsing to extract verb and gendered pronoun pairs (“he said,” “she walked,” etc.). They then build a classification model to predict the gender of a pronoun based on the verb being performed. This present study examines the novels that were categorized as outliers by the classification model to gain a better understanding of the way the observed trends function at the level of individual narratives. We argue that while the ...


Foreword To D.W. Robertson, Jr., Uncollected Essays, Paul Olson Nov 2017

Foreword To D.W. Robertson, Jr., Uncollected Essays, Paul Olson

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

During the late summer of 1992, I received a call from Darryl Gless, a professor of Renaissance literature at the University of North Carolina and my former student, asking me if it would be all right if he and other people looking after the literary remains of D. W. Robertson would send me a package of published and unpublished articles that Robertson had left behind upon his death in July of that year. Gless had been a friend of Dr. and Mrs. Robertson in Chapel Hill, visiting with them frequently while trying a bit to look after their well-being in ...


Biopolitical Masochism In Marina Abramović’S The Artist Is Present, Jaime Brunton Oct 2017

Biopolitical Masochism In Marina Abramović’S The Artist Is Present, Jaime Brunton

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

This essay analyzes The Artist Is Present, Marina Abramović’s heavily mediatized 2010 performance at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, through the lenses of Freudian and Deleuzean concepts of masochism, specifically with respect to how the masochistic tendencies of this performance may be read in the current context of biopolitics. The essay seeks answers to questions of political import that many critical analyses of Abramović’s performance, which focus on details of the performer’s personal history, have not adequately addressed. Drawing on the documentary film Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present (2012) that follows Abramović through the ...


The Role Of George Henry Lewes In George Eliot’S Career: A Reconsideration, Beverley Rilett Jan 2017

The Role Of George Henry Lewes In George Eliot’S Career: A Reconsideration, Beverley Rilett

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

This article examines the “protection” and “encouragement” George Henry Lewes provided to Eliot throughout her fiction-writing career. According to biographers, Lewes showed his selfless devotion to Eliot by encouraging her to begin and continue writing fiction; by fostering the mystery of her authorship; by managing her finances; by negotiating her publishing contracts; by managing her schedule; by hosting a salon to promote her books; and by staying close by her side for twenty-four years until death parted them. By reconsidering each element of Lewes’s devotion separately, Rilett challenges the prevailing construction of the Eliot–Lewes relationship as the ideal ...


Yet More Cather-Knopf Correspondence, Melissa J. Homestead Jan 2017

Yet More Cather-Knopf Correspondence, Melissa J. Homestead

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

Some years ago many of us were excited by the discovery of a cache of Willa Cather’s correspondence with publisher Alfred A. Knopf that had been in the hands of Peter Prescott, one of the succession of would-be biographers of Knopf. He died before he completed it. These letters are now held in the Barbara Dobkin Collection in New York City. Before these materials came to light, researchers, including the editors of the Willa Cather Scholarly Edition, had relied on a strange and fragmentary “memoir” Knopf wrote of his relationship with Cather based on his correspondence files with her ...


The Composing, Editing, And Publication Of Willa Cather’S Obscure Destinies Stories, Melissa J. Homestead Jan 2017

The Composing, Editing, And Publication Of Willa Cather’S Obscure Destinies Stories, Melissa J. Homestead

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

In 1998, Willa Cather’s 1932 short story collection Obscure Destinies appeared as the fourth volume of the Willa Cather Scholarly Edition (WCSE). As the editors would explain in an essay reflecting on the “The Issue of Authority in a Scholarly Edition,” Cather “habitually sought to exert her authority over the full process governing the preparation and presentation of her novels: from drafting and revising the text to shaping the physical appearance of the published books.” In line with that sense of Cather’s authority, the WCSE chose and continues to choose the first edition of each work as published ...


Willa Cather Editing Sarah Orne Jewett, Melissa J. Homestead Oct 2016

Willa Cather Editing Sarah Orne Jewett, Melissa J. Homestead

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

“In reading over a package of letters from Sarah Orne Jewett,” Willa Cather wrote in her preface to the Mayflower Edition of The Best Stories of Sarah Orne Jewett (1925), “I find this observation: ‘The thing that teases the mind over and over for years, and at last gets itself down rightly on paper—whether little or great, it belongs to Literature.” Cather’s private letters and her public statements in the form of essays, interviews, and speeches testify abundantly that Jewett had teased Cather’s mind over and over in the years following her friend and mentor’s death ...


Nebraska's Wedding Crasher, Jennine Capó Crucet Jul 2016

Nebraska's Wedding Crasher, Jennine Capó Crucet

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

My building thinks of itself as Lincoln's premier wedding venue. I was not told this when I signed the lease. A glitch of duct work sends the sounds of every single party straight through the exhaust fan of my apartment's bathroom, so loud and clear that I can hear the names of everyone in the wedding party as they are announced -- not just in the bathroom, but from the living room. I can hear when people are clapping, can hear the claps as individual sonic events: I can almost always make out the crisp echo of the last ...


Palpable Hits: Popular Music Forms And Teaching Early Modern Poetry, Stephen M. Buhler Jul 2016

Palpable Hits: Popular Music Forms And Teaching Early Modern Poetry, Stephen M. Buhler

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

Recent pedagogical scholarship has engaged strenuously with the use of YouTube and other online platforms in the literature classroom. Stephen O’Neill, for one, champions video-sharing and similar media “in the interests of fostering various experiential, collaborative and peer-learning scenarios,” especially in tandem with the “array of Shakespeare content, which can potentially illuminate and deepen [learners’] understanding of the text and its diverse contexts” (190). In this essay, I discuss the advantages of sharing for this purpose online materials that have been developed by artists, instructors, students, and others—specifically, materials with a musical orientation. Along the way, I shall ...


Buried In Plain Sight: Unearthing Willa Cather’S Allusion To Thomas William Parsons’S “The Sculptor’S Funeral”, Melissa J. Homestead Jan 2016

Buried In Plain Sight: Unearthing Willa Cather’S Allusion To Thomas William Parsons’S “The Sculptor’S Funeral”, Melissa J. Homestead

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

In January 1905, Willa Cather’s story “The Sculptor’s Funeral” appeared in McClure’s Magazine and shortly thereafter in her first book of fiction, The Troll Garden, a collection of stories about art and artists. In the story, the body of sculptor Harvey Merrick arrives in his hometown of Sand City, Kansas, on a train from Boston, accompanied by his friend and former student, Henry Steavens. Cather criticism has long been concerned with identifying real-world prototypes for characters and situations in her fiction, and two such prototypes have been unearthed for “The Sculptor’s Funeral.” First, the return by ...


Courtly Connections: Anthony Sherley’S Relation Of His Travels (1613) In A Global Context, Kaya Sahin, Julia Schleck Jan 2016

Courtly Connections: Anthony Sherley’S Relation Of His Travels (1613) In A Global Context, Kaya Sahin, Julia Schleck

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

This article revisits Anthony Sherley’s Relation of his travels into Persia (1613), reading the text within the larger context of early modern Eurasia. It highlights the ways in which at least one European traveler sought and found not alterity, but commensurable structures, social roles, political ideologies, and personal motivations in the Islamic polities to the east and emphasized these connections to his European readers. Furthermore, in making the case that Sherley’s narrative is informed by local actors in Safavid Persia, it maintains that a certain level of Eastern knowledge is present within Western texts from this period and ...


Biopolitical Education: The Edukators And The Politics Of The Immanent Outside, Roland Vegso, Marco Abel Jan 2016

Biopolitical Education: The Edukators And The Politics Of The Immanent Outside, Roland Vegso, Marco Abel

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

The article examines the relationship of biopower and cinema through the analysis of a specific film, Hans Weingartner’s The Edukators (2004). It argues that in the age of biopower, resistance to power cannot be conceived of in terms of a radical outside to power. Rather, biopolitical resistance must take place on the terrain of this power itself, that is, within the field of life. Therefore, what we call the “viral” politics of The Edukators must be interpreted precisely in this context. The film argues that the exhaustion of political paradigms inherited from the past century forces us to take ...


The Transatlantic Village: The Rise And Fall Of The Epistolary Friendship Of Catharine Maria Sedgwick And Mary Russell Mitford, Melissa J. Homestead Jan 2016

The Transatlantic Village: The Rise And Fall Of The Epistolary Friendship Of Catharine Maria Sedgwick And Mary Russell Mitford, Melissa J. Homestead

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

In June 1830, the American novelist and short-story writer Catharine Maria Sedgwick used the imminent London publication of her novel Clarence as a pretext for initiating a correspondence with the British author Mary Russell Mitford. In her first letter to Mitford, Sedgwick addressed her as “My dear Miss Mitford,” a violation of epistolary decorum in a letter to someone to whom she had not been introduced (FOMRM, 155).1 As Sedgwick protested, however, “I cannot employ the formal address of a stranger towards one who has inspired the vivid feeling of intimate acquaintance, a deep and affectionate interest in her ...


George Henry Lewes, The Real Man Of Science Behind George Eliot’S Fictional Pedants, Beverley Rilett Jan 2016

George Henry Lewes, The Real Man Of Science Behind George Eliot’S Fictional Pedants, Beverley Rilett

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

This paper demonstrates that George Eliot drew on George Henry Lewes’s actual experience as an emerging scientist in her depiction of two fictional scholars, Edward Casaubon of Middlemarch and Proteus Merman, a lesser-known character from the chapter entitled “How We Encourage Research” in her final work, Impressions of Theophrastus Such. After Thomas Huxley published a devastating review of Lewes’s first book of science, Comte’s Philosophy of the Sciences, the evidence suggests that Lewes became highly focused on disproving his critics and earning lasting recognition as a scientist, a feat he expected to achieve with his five-volume series ...


Taking My Parents To College, Jennine Capó Crucet Aug 2015

Taking My Parents To College, Jennine Capó Crucet

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

I was a first-generation college student as well as the first in our family to be born in America — my parents were born in Cuba — and we didn’t yet know that families were supposed to leave pretty much right after they unloaded your stuff from the car. We all made the trip from Miami, my hometown, to what would be my new home at Cornell University. Shortly after arriving on campus, the five of us — my parents, my younger sister, my abuela and me — found ourselves listening to a dean end his welcome speech with the words: “Now, parents ...


American Novelist Catharine Sedgwick Negotiates British Copyright, 1822–57, Melissa J. Homestead Jan 2015

American Novelist Catharine Sedgwick Negotiates British Copyright, 1822–57, Melissa J. Homestead

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

American novelist Catharine Maria Sedgwick had an unusually long career and her books were reprinted in Britain in a variety of circumstances and formats. Both her first novel, A New-England Tale (1822), and her last, Married or Single? (1857), appeared in London editions arranged by her or her American publishers, as did many of her books in between (including travel, children’s and conduct books). However, her works also appeared in unauthorized reprints. Sedgwick thus makes an interesting case study of how law and custom regulated the reprinting of American literary texts in Great Britain after 1820. Focusing on the ...


Willa Cather, Sarah Orne Jewett, And The Historiography Of Lesbian Sexuality, Melissa J. Homestead Jan 2015

Willa Cather, Sarah Orne Jewett, And The Historiography Of Lesbian Sexuality, Melissa J. Homestead

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

Since the publication of Surpassing the Love of Men in 1981 and Sharon O'Brien's biography Willa Cather: The Emerging Voice in 1987, Cather's fiction has been subjected to scores of queer readings. These readings are, in many respects, premised on a very different understanding of gender, sexuality, and identity than Faderman and O'Brien deploy in their biographical identifications of Cather as a lesbian. Nevertheless, these queer readings rest upon a biographical foundation, and in particular upon an understanding of Cather as secretive, private, and afflicted with shame. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, in an influential reading of The ...


“The Other One”: An Unpublished Chapter Of Sarah Orne Jewett’S The Country Of The Pointed Firs, Melissa J. Homestead, Terry Heller Oct 2014

“The Other One”: An Unpublished Chapter Of Sarah Orne Jewett’S The Country Of The Pointed Firs, Melissa J. Homestead, Terry Heller

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

Sarah Orne Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896) has long been central to literary critical debates about the nature and character of American literary regionalism. In the early 1990s, some New Historicist critics aligned the emergence of the literary movement with the rise of tourism as two means by which urban elites defined themselves as a socially and racially privileged class in the postwar nation. In an influential analysis of the mutually reinforcing development of the literary marketplace and class and cultural hierarchies, Richard Brodhead describes regionalism in Cultures of Letters (1993) as evidencing “an elite need ...


Teaching Attentive Reading And Motivated Writing Through Digital Editing, Amanda A Gailey Jul 2014

Teaching Attentive Reading And Motivated Writing Through Digital Editing, Amanda A Gailey

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

Though English departments, including my own at the University of Nebraska, have been teaching digital humanities (DH) courses for over a decade, hyperbolic claims about the perils and promises of using computers in the study of literature continue to appear in the press. A piece in the Los Angeles Review of Books likens the algorithms used by some digital humanities methods to fascism (Marche). Another, in The Huffington Post, compares the rise of digital humanities to “our uncritical acceptance of drone attacks” (Mohamed). On the other hand, digital humanists such as Franco Moretti, who famously promote “distant reading” as opposed ...


Walt Whitman And Civil War Washington, Kenneth M. Price Jan 2014

Walt Whitman And Civil War Washington, Kenneth M. Price

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

Walt Whitman famously described his visits to thousands of wounded Civil War soldiers in Memoranda During the War, a volume with a largely ignored subtitle: "Written on the Spot in 1863-'65." I want to highlight that subtitle and its emphasis on space and time-its geo-temporal specificity-to ask what it meant to have a writer of Whitman's sensibilities thrust into the nation's capital city in the final three years of the war, when it had become a city of hospitals. More wounded soldiers were treated in Washington, DC, than in any other city, and Whitman, a visitor to ...


Victorian Sexual Politics And The Unsettling Case Of George Eliot’S Response To Walt Whitman, Beverley Rilett Jan 2014

Victorian Sexual Politics And The Unsettling Case Of George Eliot’S Response To Walt Whitman, Beverley Rilett

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

George Eliot and Walt Whitman, two of the most influential writers of the nineteenth century, are rarely discussed in relation to one another. They did not correspond, nor did either writer ever cross the Atlantic. There may have been several degrees of separation between Eliot and Whitman personally, but even from a distance, the two writers influenced each other’s careers. There has been some misconception that Eliot disdained and discounted Whitman. This essay seeks to refute that assumption by examining the context in which Eliot appeared to reject him. Perhaps more significantly, this essay breaks new critical ground by ...


Clcweb: Comparative Literature And Culture, Gregory E. Rutledge Jan 2014

Clcweb: Comparative Literature And Culture, Gregory E. Rutledge

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

In his article "Race, Slavery, and the Revaluation of the T'ang Canon" Gregory E. Rutledge re-evaluates—from the purview of African Diaspora literary studies—historiography that considers the place of East African slave lore in T'ang Dynasty fiction. Julie Wilensky's "The Magical Kunlun and 'Devil Slaves': Chinese Perceptions of Dark-skinned People and Africa before 1500" (2002), a revision of Chang Hsing-lang's "The Importation of Negro Slaves to China Under the T'ang Dynasty (A.D. 618- 907)" (1930), is pivotal since it occupies the nexus between European-American, East-Asian, and African-Diasporic canons and policies. Rutledge situates Wilensky ...


Willa Cather, Edith Lewis, And Collaboration: The Southwestern Novels Of The 1920s And Beyond, Melissa J. Homestead Oct 2013

Willa Cather, Edith Lewis, And Collaboration: The Southwestern Novels Of The 1920s And Beyond, Melissa J. Homestead

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

In Willa Cather: A Memoir, Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant makes Edith Lewis, with whom Cather shared a home for nearly four decades, a relatively minor character in Cather’s life, and yet occasionally, Lewis moves to the forefront. Describing Cather’s “personal life” in the 1920s, Sergeant notes that when she visited their Five Bank Street apartment,

Edith Lewis, who now worked at the J. Walter Thompson Company, was always at dinner. One realized how much her companionship meant to Willa. A captain, as Will White of Emporia said … must have a first officer, who does a lot the captain never ...


Review Of Janine Barchas, Matters Of Fact In Jane Austen: History, Location, And Celebrity, Laura White Jul 2013

Review Of Janine Barchas, Matters Of Fact In Jane Austen: History, Location, And Celebrity, Laura White

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

Janine Barchas’s thought-provoking study of Austen’s naming practices unearths a wealth of historical antecedents for Austen’s characters and posits an Austen whose gamesmanship with the names of persons and places rivals the knowingness and playfulness of James Joyce. In earlier decades, such a highly ambitious and wide-reaching work could not have been accomplished except through protracted antiquarian research. Web scholarship, however, has made it possible for Barchas to uncover in a relatively short time a remarkable array of the many interconnected historical figures bearing such names as Wentworth, Darcy, Vernon, Ferrars, Allen, and Dashwood whose heroic exploits ...


The Shape Of Catharine Sedgwick's Career, Melissa J. Homestead Jan 2012

The Shape Of Catharine Sedgwick's Career, Melissa J. Homestead

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

Catharine Maria Sedgwick published her first novel in 1822 and her last in 1857. Her productivity slackened in the 1850S, as aging weakened her eyesight and arthritis made it difficult to write clearly. However, from 1822 through the 1840s, she published multiple works of prose fiction (tales, sketches, novellas, or novels) nearly every year. Despite this extraordinary record of productivity, Sedgwick regularly appears in literary history as the author of a single work, Hope Leslie (I827), her historical novel about relations between the Puritans and the native inhabitants of New England. A few other women authors before and contemporary with ...


Cold War Legacies In Digital Editing, Amanda A. Gailey Jan 2012

Cold War Legacies In Digital Editing, Amanda A. Gailey

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

The editorial methods developed during the Cold War professionalized scholarly editing and appealed to new ideas about the relationship between American academics and the government by aligning with the supposedly value-neutral goals and methods of the behavioral sciences, much to the discomfort of many humanists. Some of the implicit assumptions underlying midcentury editorial methods persist in digital editing, and may risk positioning digital editions as marginalized scholarship within the digital era, just as print scholarly editions became widely considered second-rate scholarship in the twentieth century.


Uncle Tom’S Cabin In The National Era: Commentary On Chapter 1 And 2, Melissa J. Homestead Aug 2011

Uncle Tom’S Cabin In The National Era: Commentary On Chapter 1 And 2, Melissa J. Homestead

Faculty Publications -- Department of English

In the first chapter of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Stowe warns her readers that the “indulgence” of slave owners and the “affectionate loyalty” of the slaves themselves towards their masters have misled some observers to believe the “poetic legend” of slavery as a benevolent “patriarchal institution.” She does not deny the genuineness of these emotions, but she warns that “the shadow of a Law” makes a mockery of the human relationships that develop between masters and slaves: “So long as the law considers all these human beings, with beating hearts and living affections, only as so many things belonging to ...