Book: Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud

This August Cambridge University Press will publish Radical Orientalism: Rights, Reform, and Romanticism by Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud.

rad orientThis fascinating study reveals the extent to which the Orientalism of Byron and the Shelleys resonated with the reformist movement of the Romantic era. It documents how and why radicals like Bentham, Cobbett, Carlile, Hone and Wooler, among others in post-Revolutionary Britain, invoked Turkey, North Africa and Mughal India when attacking and seeking to change their government’s domestic policies. Examining a broad archive ranging from satires, journalism, tracts, political and economic treatises, and public speeches, to the exotic poetry and fictions of canonical Romanticism, Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud shows that promoting colonization was not Orientalism’s sole ideological function. Equally vital was its aesthetic and rhetorical capacity to alienate the people’s affection from their rulers and fuel popular opposition to regressive taxation, penal cruelty, police repression, and sexual regulation.

Order it from Cambridge University Press for your library now. You can also order Kindle as well as hardcover versions of Radical Orientalism through Amazon for your personal collection.

UT English Dept co-sponsors 2016 INCS conference in Asheville, NC

INCS2016CFP_curtainINCS 2016, “Natural and Unnatural Histories” will be hosted at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC on 10-13 March 2016. 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.

The Keynote speakers are Kate Flint (University of Southern California) and Elaine Freedgood (NYU). See the cfp here: INCS2016CFP

Deadline: November 2, 2015. Upload proposals and a one-page CV via  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

Nancy Henry named new associate editor of George Eliot-George Henry Lewes Studies.

Recently, Professor Nancy Henry was named the new associate editor of George Eliot-George Henry Lewes Studies. Nancy_HenrySince its inception more than thirty years ago, George Eliot-George Henry Lewes Studies seeks to provide a forum for those interested and actively engaged in working with either George Eliot, George Henry Lewes, or the relationship between them and their circle. Congratulations, Professor Henry!

Soon, the journal will be publishing a George Henry Lewes Bicentennial Issue

EL_WEBcovGeorge Eliot-George Henry Lewes Studies, a peer-reviewed journal, invites submissions for a special issue to commemorate the life and writing of George Henry Lewes (1817-1878) on the bicentennial of his birth.

Submissions of 5,000-6,000 words on any aspect of Lewes’s life and writing are due by July 29, 2016.

To submit a manuscript, visit: and create an author profile.

Address inquiries to William Baker ( and Nancy Henry (

Victorian Modernities Conference, 25-27 June 2015

Recently, graduate student Kat Powell traveled to Canterbury, England to attend the Victorian Modernities conference at the University of Kent. The event was inspired by the 150th anniversary of the famous Staplehurst railway accident in which Charles Dickens, Ellen Ternan and her mother were all surviving victims. vm

The conference featured two stellar Keynote speakers: Professor Jonathan Grossman (UCLA), “Standardisation (standardization)” and Professor Ruth Livesey (Royal Holloway, University of London), “Victorian Modernity & the ‘Just Past’: Travelling the Empty Road with Dickens & Hardy.” Conference attendants were also treated to a spectacular magic lantern show, which traced the development and influence of the railways over the 19th century. At the conference, UT graduate student Kat Powell presented her paper, “Engineering heroes: Railway inventions & literary interventions in Victorian women’s writing.”

Dickens Project Graduate Winter Conference at UT, February 2015



On a snowy Saturday in late February, faculty and graduate students who attended last summer’s Dickens Universe in Santa Cruz convened in Knoxville, Tennessee for the Graduate Winter Conference. Funded by the Dickens Project, this year’s conference was  co-organized by Professor Nancy Henry (English, UT) and Professor Ellen Rosenman (English, UK). Graduate student Kat Powell (English, UT) assisted in organizing the conference along with a committee of UT graduate students in the nineteenth-century literature division, including Becky McCann, Alli Clymer, John Stromski, and Matt Smith.

Dickens Project Graduate Winter Conference, Moderators and Presenters                                     Left to Right: Sophia Hsu, Mark Celeste, Jackie Harris, Brianna Beehler, Lily Zhu, Kathryne Ford, Amy Billone, Carol MacKay, Nancy Henry, Kristin Smith, Ellen Rosenman, Matt Smith, Kat Powell, Becky McCann, Kevin Sigerman, Anne Sullivan, Tara Thomas, Pritika Pradhan

Dickens Project Graduate Winter Conference, Moderators and Presenters                                       (Left to Right): Sophia Hsu, Mark Celeste, Jackie Harris, Brianna Beehler, Lily Zhu, Kathryne Ford, Amy Billone, Carol MacKay, Nancy Henry, Kristin Smith, Ellen Rosenman, Matt Smith, Kat Powell, Becky McCann, Kevin Sigerman, Anne Sullivan, Tara Thomas, Pritika Pradhan



For this conference, faculty members serve as mentors, providing feedback on student papers in advance of the conference. This year’s mentors included Dickens Project Director John O. Jordan (UC, Santa Cruz), Ryan Fong (Kalamazoo), Elizabeth Meadows (Vanderbilt), Carol MacKay, (U of Texas), and Ellen Rosenman (U of Kentucky). Professors MacKay and Rosenman also served as panel moderators along with Amy Billone (U of Tennessee), Nancy Henry, and Kat Powell.

Representing universities from the west to east coast, Canada to Texas (and Australia!), the graduate students presented engaging papers on diverse subjects from the rhetoric of nineteenth-century beards to the “behindance” of parentheticals in fiction to the musical mechanics of poetry. As always, the warm and collegial atmosphere associated with Dickens Project events helped make the conference a success. After a long and lively day of exchanging ideas, graduate students and faculty braved winter weather conditions to explore Knoxville’s unique charms.

We look forward to this summer’s Dickens Universe in Santa Cruz on Aug. 2-7, which takes for its focus Charles Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit and American Notes. The Universe will be preceded by a conference on The Long, Wide Nineteenth Century, July 31-Aug. 2. Besides the scholarly program, attendants look forward to the nightly celebrations guided by this summer’s capable Cruise Directors, Anne Sullivan (UCR) and Kevin Sigerman (Rutgers). In the words of Nicholas Nickleby, “The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.” Hope to see many of you there!


Professor Michelle Meinhart visits UT on Friday, Jan. 30th

On Friday, January 30th at 3:30 p.m. in 1210 McClung Tower the Nineteenth-Century British Research Seminar will hold a seminar-style discussion with Michelle Meinhart (Music Department, Martin Methodist College) to discuss her work on Music in Nineteenth-Century British Women’s Travel Writing.

Michelle is an Assistant Professor of Music at Martin Methodist College in Tennessee, where she teaches courses in music history. She earned her PhD in musicology at the University of Cincinnati in 2013, and her research focuses on British women’s music collections and life writing in the long nineteenth century. She is currently completing a monograph titled Sites of Performance, Sites of Healing: Sheet Music Collections and Memorializing the First World War in the English Country House from which her March 2014 article in the Journal of Musicological Research was derived. In 2014 she was a fellow at the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Research Institute, “World War I and the Arts: Sound, Vision, Psyche,” and her archival work has been funded by the American Association of University Women, the English Speaking Union, and the Presser Foundation. She also plans to write a book on music in nineteenth-century British women’s travel writing. Her essay “Variations on the Grand Tour: Musical Seduction and Catholic Communion in the Italian Travel Diaries of Lady Anne Noel Blunt, 1853-4” will appear in Perplext in Faith: Essays on Victorian Belief and Doubts, edited by Alisa Clapp-Itnyre and Julie Melnyk, forthcoming this year. Currently she also is completing a journal article on nineteenth-century music collections at the Columbia Athenaeum, formerly a girls’ school in middle Tennessee.

Professor Meinhart’s forthcoming article, and the subject of discussion, is available upon request. If you would like to attend the seminar, please contact graduate student coordinator, Kat Powell.