Nancy Henry (UTK) gives keynote at BWWC June 2014


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Professor Nancy Henry gave the keynote address on Friday, June 20, 2014 for the British Women Writer’s Association‘s 22nd annual conference, “Reflections,” hosted by SUNY, Binghamton. In her talk, “Fiction Reflected in Lives/Lives Reflected in Fiction,” Henry encouraged critics to seek out connections between biographical material and literature, but she cautioned them to do so responsibly. Henry explored the critical history of the misuse of biographical and literary evidence in the example of George Eliot and her biographers, which can be read in further detail in her recent book, The Life of George Eliot: A Critical Biography (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

Henry also addressed the rich potential found in the intersections between biography and literature in the case of Charlotte Riddell and the influence of the Bankruptcy Act of 1869 and the Married Women’s Property Act of 1870 on her personal life, her literary career,  and her fiction. These cases and others will appear at length in her book-in-progress, Women and the Nineteenth-Century Cultures of Investment.

photo 3Henry also chaired the panel, “Reflecting on ‘Progress’: Technology and Economics, which included UTK graduate student, Kat Powell. Kat’s paper, “Reflecting on Sour Grapes: Cognitive Dissonance & Innovative Shunts in 19thC Railroad Fiction,” comes from her dissertation-in-progress on Railroads and Regret.

After the conference, Nancy Henry joined some of her current and former dissertation students for a relaxing brunch by the lake.

Left to Right: Claudia Martin, Susan Ray, Kat Powell, Nancy Henry, and conference organizer, Angela Runciman.

Left to Right: Claudia Martin, Susan Ray, Kat Powell, Nancy Henry, and conference organizer, Angela Runciman.

Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud (UTK) awarded Fulbright Fellowship 2014-2015

Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud, a member of the University of Tennessee’s nineteenth-century British literature faculty, has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach in the English department at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakesh, Morocco during 2014-15.


He’s proposed teaching the following courses with digital humanities components: “Orientalism in English and American Literature” and “Translation: Theory and Practice.” In the first, students would compose personal and analytic responses to classic Orientalist depictions of the Middle East and its peoples, which would be published on a course website, “Re:Orientalism.” In the second course, students would translate texts in Arabic from as-yet untranslated writers who visited and represented Europe and America, and Gerard and his students would set up a website/archive of these accounts of the West.


One of the benefits of Gerard’s Fulbright is the opportunity it will provide him to advance his fluency in Arabic, which he studied for four years in graduate school. His Moroccan year builds on his previous immersion study of Arabic in Yemen in 2007 on a Critical Language Scholarship. Congratulations, Gerard!

Kim Marra (University of Iowa) visits UT Friday, April 4th

English Marra Lecture PosterKim Marra, Professor of Theatre Arts and American Studies, will give a talk titled, “Riding the Nineteenth Century: Théâtre Equestre Zingaro’s Historical Performances” on Friday, April 4th at 3:30 in 1210 McClung Tower.

Along with her expertise as a performance historian, Marra draws on her training and experience of riding in the cavalry-derived sport of Three-Day Eventing (or equestrian triathlon) to examine how the internationally influential work of the French equestrian theatre troupe, Théâtre Equestre Zingaro offers a unique window into cross-species relations in the nineteenth-century. Founded in 1984 by its guru-like artistic director, who goes by the single name Bartabas, the company of horses and humans eschews modern conveniences and lives and performs on a compound in simulated circumstances of the Romantic era when horses reigned in the circus before wild beast acts began to predominate. Marra’s analysis considers Zingaro’s lifestyle and performance process reveals about the ways equines intensified and complicated gender, sexual, racial, and class dynamics among humans in this horse-powered era. Her project raises provocative questions about using embodied and affective knowledge as well as more traditional scholarly and archival methods of researching the nineteenth century.

This event is free and open to the public. Come one, Come all!

Sun., Mar. 16: Nancy Henry’s Middlemarch Podcast Airs!

On Sunday, March 16th, CBC books podcast “Writers and Company” with Eleanor Wachtel will air a panel discussion on George Eliot’s Middlemarch. The panel includes Nancy Henry (English Professor, UT), Rebecca Mead (New Yorker), and Francine Prose (novelist).

Henry, author of The Life of George Eliot. Blackwell Critical Biography Series (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), recently received an NEH Fellowship for 2014-2015 to work on her current book project, Women and the Nineteenth-Century Cultures of Investment.


The podcast airs this Sunday the 16th and again on Tuesday the 18th.
Come have a listen!

Mark Canuel visits UT this February

Mark Canuel, professor of English at the University of Illinois-Chicago, will give a talk on “Shelley’s Light” on Monday Feb. 17 at 3:30 in McClung 1210. Professor Canuel is the author of three books on moral philosophy, the law, and aesthetics: Religion, Toleration, and British Writing (Cambridge, 2002),The Shadow of Death: Literature, Romanticism, and the Subject of Punishment (Princeton, 2007), and Justice, Dissent, and the Sublime (Johns Hopkins, 2012).

2014-01-13a English Canuel Poster

Professor Nancy Henry Named NEH Fellow

N-Henry-re2-resizeProfessor Henry was awarded a research fellowship for the 2014-2015 academic year by the National Endowment for the Humanities in order to complete her book project, Women and the Nineteenth-Century Cultures of Investment.

Henry’s book, she writes, “defines the cultures that emerged in response to the democratization of the stock market in nineteenth-century Britain when investing provided legal access to financial independence. Women voted in shareholder meetings, as they could not in political elections, and their experiences as investors complicate notions of separate domestic and public spheres. In fact, women writers often invested income from their writing, becoming contributors to national and global economies. In fiction, Victorian novels represent those economic networks in realistic detail and are preoccupied with the intertwined economic and affective lives of characters. Analyzing evidence about real investors together with a wide range of fictional examples, I argue that investing was not just something women did in Victorian Britain; it was a distinctly modern way of thinking about independence, risk, global communities and the future in general.”

Professor Henry had this to say to Tennessee Today: “I am honored to receive the NEH fellowship, which will enable me to complete a book project I have been developing over the past several years. I am grateful to the UT English department for its support of my research and to the university for its support of humanities.”

UT graduate student, Andrew Lallier Wins the Trollope Prize!

University of Tennessee graduate student Andrew Lallier won the 2013 Trollope Prize for his paper, “Battles over bits and diamonds: sanction, pragmatic pursuit and civil society in Trollope’s The Eustace Diamonds.” Besides receiving a considerable monetary award, Andrew will also see his work published in The Fortnightly ReviewCongratulations, Andrew!

Frederick Waddy [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Frederick Waddy (1872) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons