Working group on the novel

Please join us on Tuesday, April 24th for this quarter’s first Working Group on the Novel, which will be held from 6-8 pm in the Terrace Room of Margaret Jacks Hall.

Chelsea Davis (Ph.D. candidate, English) will present work from the first chapter of her dissertation, Scaling the Early American Soldier. Here is what Chelsea has to say about her work:

Since the publication of Leslie Fielder’s Love and Death in the American Novel in 1960, criticism on the Gothic has tended towards expansionism. Rather than limiting its objects of study to narratives commonly labeled as Gothic per se, much scholarship of the so-called “spectral turn” has also determinedly sought out bits and pieces of the genre in unexpected places, asking what work Gothic tropes and themes perform in a wide variety of literary forms—from the adventure novels like Huck Finn that comprise Fielder’s focus, to slave narratives, to scientific writings. Seeking to complicate this critical propensity to find traces of the genre everywhere, my dissertation begins the task of asking in what contexts, and for what reasons, the Gothic (or indeed any genre) might fail to appear. My project finds a surprising case study in American war fiction, wherein—despite the apparent Gothicism of the massive bodily violence and profound cultural trauma entailed by the subject matter—puzzling absences, parodies, hoaxes, and vicious dismissals of the Gothic instead abound. Focusing on the Revolutionary and the Civil Wars, I also seek to use these events’ anti-Gothic literatures as an entry-point into better understanding the nature of the crises that armed conflict presented to early Americans. Each of my chapters examines a different source of disconnect or clash between war as content with the Gothic as literary form. The chapter in circulation considers the ways in which Gothic and Revolutionary War fiction diverge along the axis of tragic scale—that is, the degree to which a single death can be represented, mourned, and made to matter.

Dinner and drinks will be provided. We hope to see many of you there!


spring 2018

Chelsea Davis Ph.D. candidate, English Scaling the Early American Soldier 6:00pm to 8:00pm Terrace

winter 2018

Natalie Deam and Victoria Googasian French & Italian Caves, Fossil Men, and Ferromagnetics 6:00pm to 8:00pm Terrace
Mark Taylor and
Mark Algee-Hewitt
English The Many Men, So Beautiful: The Victorian Political Novel and the Politics of Representation 6:00pm to 8:00pm Terrace