Robin Barrow to Present at the 2017 MLA Convention in January

Senior Lecturer Robin Barrow will be giving a presentation on Friday, January 6 at the 2017 MLA Annual Convention in Philadelphia.

Barrow’s presentation, titled “Active Victimhood in the Indian Rebellion of 1857,” will be featured in a special conference session on “Framing the Rape Victim in the Long Nineteenth Century.”
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In her presentation, she will address issues of victimhood and agency in the contemporary rhetoric surrounding the Indian Rebellion of 1857. When Sepoy soldiers mutinied against their officers and roused a general rebellion in the Indian countryside in May 1857, reports in the Victorian press included horrifically detailed accounts of the rape and murder of Englishwomen. Though victims of sexual violence, these women were not necessarily passive nor without agency. Mingled within sensationalized accounts of their assaults in the Victorian press were also tales of resistance. The stories of Margaret Wheeler and the family of Alexander Skene emphasized English heroism as enacted by both men and women, and when the voices of slaughtered and defiled women were appropriated as war propaganda, England’s response was fierce. Based on a consideration of fiction, news reports, and poetry between 1857 and 1859, Barrow will offer a model of victimization that is not commensurate with passivity, and thus intersects with Mardorrossian’s project “to reconceptualize the word ‘victimization’ and to produce a more capacious notion of agency.” While this active victimhood subverted contemporary notions of agency, it reinforced traditional models of gender rather than destabilizing them.

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Susan Wolfson to Speak at UTK on Nov. 3

On Thursday, November 3, invited speaker Susan Wolfson will deliver a lecture titled “Form without Formalism” at 3:30 pm in 1210 McClung Tower.

In the Romantic era, poets exercised form in ways irreducible to socio-historical context or thematic paraphrase, turning poetry into a critical, and often self-critical, practice. In this lecture, Professor Wolfson will look at modern debates over poetic form and suspicion about formalism while resisting the influential polemics against New Criticism – not to deny the value of historicism, but to advocate for the revelatory refinements of close reading.

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Susan Wolfson, a professor of English at Princeton University, is one of the foremost advocates of what has been dubbed the “New Formalism” and she has published widely in the field of Romantic poetry and novels. Besides her numerous articles, she is the author of Reading John Keats(Cambridge UP, 2015); Romantic Interactions: Social Being & the Turns of Literary Action (Johns Hopkins UP, 2010); Borderlines: The Shiftings of Gender in British Romanticism (Stanford UP, 2006); Formal Charges: The Shaping of Poetry in British Romanticism (Stanford UP, 1997); The Questioning Presence: Wordsworth, Keats, and the Interrogative Mode in Romantic Poetry (Cornell UP, 1986). She has also edited editions of works by Austen, Byron, Coleridge, Keats, Felicia Hemans, and Mary Shelley, among others, as well as been a leader in reviving interest in and study of women poets of the Romantic period.

In addition to her lecture, Wolfson will be joining us on Friday, November 4, from 11:45-1:30 in 1210 McClung, for a lunchtime seminar for graduate students and faculty in which a pre-circulated piece by Professor Wolfson will serve as a jumping point for discussion.

Professor Wolfson has been invited as the final distinguished scholar for the University of Tennessee-Knoxville English department’s Literature Speaker Series.

Professor Ellen Rosenman to speak at UTK

This Tuesday, October 18, invited speaker Ellen Rosenman will give a talk titled “Fictions of Belonging: Penny Novels and Radical Politics” at 11:00 am in Melrose E-102.

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Ellen Rosenman is a Professor of English at the University of Kentucky. Her current book project examines the political implications of Victorian penny novels, strange and sensational tales written for and sometimes by members of the working classes.

Rosenman has published widely on Victorian popular fiction and social class, gender, and sexuality. Her publications include Unauthorized Pleasures: Accounts of Victorian Erotic Experience (2003) and Other Mothers: Beyond the Maternal Ideal (2008), co-edited with Claudia Klaver (Syracuse University).

This event is hosted by The Nineteenth-Century British Research Seminar.