Lindsey Eckert to speak on April 22

This Friday, April 22 , invited speaker Lindsey Eckert will give a talk titled “‘Though a stranger to you’: Byron’s Fan Mail and Readerly Love” at 3:30pm in McClung 1210.

Many of Lord Byron’s readers didn’t just love the texts that he wrote; they loved the man behind them. Drawing on the fan mail that Byron received, this talk will explore the affective connections that Romantic readers had with authors they would never know.  Byron’s case points to larger cultural and literary structures that not only changed readers’ relationships with authors but also helped redefine Romantic-era authorship itself.

Poster for Invited Speaker Lindsey Eckert
Lindsey Eckert is Assistant Professor of English at Georgia State University where she teaches courses in Romanticism and Digital Humanities. Her research has appeared in Nineteenth-Century LiteratureEuropean Romantic Review, and Digital Humanities Quarterly. In 2014, she received the annual Pedagogy Prize from the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism and Romantic Circles. She’s currently working on a monograph entitled Loving Strangers: Romantic Authorship and the Limits of Familiarity.

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

Professor Talia Schaffer Presented at UTK on March 24

Last week, the Nineteenth-Century British Research Seminar at the University of Tennessee hosted Professor Talia Schaffer (Queen’s College CUNY and The Graduate Center CUNY), who presented work titled “Why Lucy Doesn’t Care: Migration and Emotional Labor in Villette.”

In this talk, Shaffer explored what happens if we read Lucy Snowe in Villette (1853) as a migrant caregiver, an early fictional example of a worker in an emerging economic category. Drawing on contemporary sociological studies of caregivers’ experiences with surveillance, cultural disorientation, and visibility, particularly Arlie Russell Hochschild’s theory of ’emotional labor,’ she asked,  is it possible to read Charlotte Brontë’s last novel not as a case study of the unique psychology of a baffling individual but, rather, as a proto-sociological account of labor in a new global economy? What might such an approach mean for readings of the novel?

Schaffer has published widely on Victorian familial and marital norms, disability studies, noncanonical women writers, material culture, popular fiction, aestheticism, and late-Victorian texts. Her publications include Novel Craft: Victorian Domestic Handicraft and Nineteenth-Century Fiction (2011) and more recently, Romance’s Rival: Familiar Marriage in Victorian Fiction (2016).

Schaffer’s current work in progress is a book on the ethics of care, a feminist and disability studies philosophy that remains remarkably useful for reading Victorian literature. Through their lived experiences of care relations, Victorian novelists strove to imagine and assess the merits of care, providing us with a series of case studies about the varieties, usefulness, and dangers of caregiving.

Letter Speaker Poster-Talia Schaffer

Danny O’Quinn (Univ. of Guelph) will visit UTK on Monday, February 22.

Danny O’Quinn (Univ. of Guelph) will give a talk entitled “Shylocks: Anti-Semitism, Pugilism and the Repertoire of Theatrical Violence” on Monday, February 22 at 3:30pm in the Lindsay Young Auditorium, Hodges at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This talk is part of The UT Humanities Center Fourth Annual Distinguished Lecture Series.

O’Quinn tracks the career of the great eighteenth-century Jewish fighter Daniel Mendoza, the “Star of Jerusalem,” and his triumphs over the conspicuously English boxer Richard Humphries both before and after the French Revolution. The lecture explores the degree to which Mendoza’s acts were both conditioned by and aimed at ethnic stereotypes found on the Georgian stage. In startling ways, Mendoza was locked in endless rounds with Shakespeare’s Shylock himself.

16-010 HC DistLec OQuinn

Daniel O’Quinn is the author of Entertaining Crisis in the Atlantic Imperium (Johns Hopkins, 2011) and Staging Governance: Theatrical Imperialism in London, 1770-1800 (Johns Hopkins, 2005).  Both are richly researched works of performance history that show how theatrical performance, in conjunction with newspapers, articulated the scripts of British liberty, masculinity, sociability, and sovereignty in a global colonial age.  He is currently at work on a third installment in this inquiry, After Peace, which turns to the interactions between Britain and the Ottoman empire.  This new study, enriched by his editorial work on The Travels of Mirza Abu Taleb Khan, Lady Elizabeth Craven’s A Journey through the Crimea to Constantinople, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s The Turkish Embassy Letters, will be of great interest to scholars in English, Theatre, Religious Studies, Islamic Studies, and History.

Journal Article: Kat Powell

UTK graduate student Kat Powell‘s “Engineering Heroes: Revising the Self-Help Narrative in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cousin Phillis” was recently featured in a 2015 special edition issue of The Gaskell Journal.

GaskellPowell 72ppi
This insightful article examines how Elizabeth Gaskell adopted and reworked conventions of Samuel Smiles’s exemplar biography The Life of George Stephenson in her novella Cousin Phillis. It demonstrates the ways Gaskell tests the depth and boundaries of the ideological claims invested in Smiles’s figuration of the inventor hero and thereby draws attention to the logical fallacies of self-help and the potentially dangerous conclusions of the logic of self-interest. In her article, Kat Powell reveals the ways Gaskell reframes the narrative of the heroic invention to better match reality and give higher priority to community values within a capitalist economy, values that acknowledge the importance and proper use of networks and the dangers of self-interestedness.

Elsie Michie (LSU) will visit UTK on Thursday, Nov. 12

Elsie Michie, the chair of English at Louisiana State University, will give a talk at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville entitled “‘Counterparts and Prototypes in the Great World’: Martin Chuzzlewit and America” from 11:10 am-12:30 pm on November 12 in Melrose E-102.

Professor Michie has published on such topics as nineteenth-century women novelists, the Victorian canon, and issues of money, taste, and gender difference in the Victorian novel. Her books include Outside the Pale: Cultural Exclusion, Gender Difference and the Victorian Woman Writer (Cornell 1993) and The Vulgar Question of Money: Heiresses, Materialism, and the Novel of Manners from Jane Austen to Henry James (Hopkins 2011). She is currently working on a book tentatively titled Trollopizing the Canon about Francis Trollope’s relation to canonical Victorian Writers.

The event is free and open to the public.

Elsie Michie--Poster

Rita Felski (Virginia) visits UTK Nov. 5 & 6

The Limits of Critique CoverRita Felski will be on campus November 5 and 6, as part of this year’s Literature, Criticism, and Textual Studies Speaker Series at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

On Thursday, November 5 at 3:30pm in McClung Tower 1210, Professor Felski will lecture on “Attachment Theory.” Drawing on arguments from Bruno Latour and Antoine Hennion and an essay by Zadie Smith, her lecture will explore forms of aesthetic attachment. How and why do we become attached to works of art, and how might “attachment theory” help us make sense of this process?

On Friday, November 6, from noon to 2pm in 1210, Professor Felski will lead a discussion of her most recent book, The Limits of Critique, just published last week by the University of Chicago Press.

Rita Felski is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English at the University of Virginia and the editor of New Literary History.  Her many publications include The Gender of Modernity (Harvard UP, 1995), Doing Time: Feminist Theory and Postmodern Culture (New York UP, 2000), and Uses of Literature (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008).

All interested English faculty and graduate students are encouraged to attend.

INCS 2016 Call for Proposals Deadline- Monday, November 2

The Call for Proposals deadline for the INCS 2016 Conference is this Monday, November 2. Individual or panel proposals should be uploaded via the INCS Proposal Submission page along with a one-page CV. For individual papers, send 250-word proposals; for panels, send individual proposals plus a 250-word panel description. Proposals that are interdisciplinary in method or panels that involve multiple disciplines are especially welcome. Questions? Contact Jill Ehnenn at

INCS 2016INCS 2016 is scheduled for March 10-13 at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC with the theme, “Natural and Unnatural Histories.” The Keynote speakers are Kate Flint(University of Southern California) and Elaine Freedgood (NYU).

The University of Tennessee English Department is one of the sponsors of the event along with main sponsor Appalachia State, and Professors Nancy Henry and Amy Billone  of UT are members of the organizing committee.

For more information about this year’s conference, please visit the INCS 2016 website.