English Department

Faculty Bookshelf

  • Bunkong Tuon: Dead Tongue
    Cover illustration of Dead Tongue by illustrator Joanna Valente

    Poetry by Bunkong Tuon and illustrations by Joanna C. Valente. These poems follow Tuon's childhood in Cambodia. "Brief does not mean lacking in substance and depth. Quite the opposite. This tight chapbook collects a group of compact poems revealing a wide range of emotion and concerns, from exile, to marriage, to night fishing. As always, poet Tuon captures the essence of the moment. Dead Tongue's is ably illustrated by Joanna C. Valente with ink line drawings evocative of Picasso, a child’s playroom, moments of whimsy, and more, as the poetry suggests." Alan Catlin, poetry and review editor at Misfit Magazine“I have interviewed both Tuon and Valente on their individual art and their collaboration. To see the combination of their poetry and their image is a beautiful joy. Their dialogue begins here and opens up an art-world I want to live in, to breath in, to be in.” Ken Volante, host of the podcast, Something (rather than nothing)

  • Jillmarie Murphy: Gendered Ecologies
    Book cover -- impressionist painting of a woman standing in a flower field

    From Clemson University Press comes a new edited anthology Gendered Ecologies: New Materialist Interpretations of Women Writers in the Long Nineteenth Century considers the value of interrelationships that exist among human, nonhuman species, and inanimate objects as part of the environment in the work of a diversity of nineteenth-century female writers. The collection engages with current paradigms of thought influencing the field of ecocriticism and, more specifically, ecofeminism. Various theories are featured, informing interpretation of literary and non-literary material, which include Anthropocene feminism, feminist geography, neo-materialism, object-oriented ontology, panarchy, and trans-corporeality. In particular, neo-materialism becomes a means by which to examine literary and non-literary content by women writers with attention to the materiality of objects as the aim of inquiry.

  • Claire Bracken: Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland and Contemporary Women’s Writing Feminist Interventions and Imaginings

    The edited collection of essays, Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland and Contemporary Women’s Writing: Feminist Interventions and Imaginings, has just been released by Routledge. Edited by Claire Bracken, associate professor of English, and Tara Harney-Mahajan, this book is an updated version of a special issue previously published in Literature Interpretation Theory.

  • Kara Doyle: The Reception of Chaucer's Shorter Poems 1400-1450: Female Audiences, English Manuscripts, French Contexts

    The Reception of Chaucer's Shorter Poems 1400-1450: Female Audiences, English Manuscripts, French Contexts

    Boydell & Brewer, 2021

    By Kara A. Doyle

    doyle book cover

    Readers have disagreed for centuries about the way Chaucer represented female voices in his Hous of Fame, Parliament of Foules, Anelida and Arcite, Legend of Good Women, and Book of the Duchess; but little attention has hitherto been paid to the earliest manuscript contexts in which these poems appear -- a gap which this study aims to fill. It demonstrates that, even in unrelated manuscripts, Chaucer's earliest compilers repeatedly create for these poems a mixed-gender audience well versed in the lively French poetic conversation about the problem of a lack of interest on a woman's part: can she legitimately refuse the advances of her suitor on the grounds that men's fin'amor language cannot be trusted? By highlighting this French controversy and its echoes in the English poetry of Chaucer, Hoccleve, Lydgate, Roos, and others, these manuscript compilers construct a Chaucer who participates posthumously in an ongoing literary debate about female voice, female agency, female scepticism, and the false promises of male fin'amor suitors. This book also expands understanding of Chaucer's early reception by showing how the manuscript context of his shorter poems painted a French-centred, woman-friendly picture of his literary interests - a picture that some early printers would subsequently find difficult, and, in extreme cases, actively work to dismiss.

  • Jordan Smith: Little Black Train

    Jordan Smith's eighth full-length volume of poems, Little Black Train, won the 2019 Three Mile Harbor Press Poetry Prize and was published by the press in 2020. The book collects a decade's worth of work, including "Hat and Key," a set of poems in conversation with paintings by Walter Hatke, originally composed as a limited edition of broadsides incorporating both poetry and artwork, and "Sketches for a Novel," a narrative sequence after paintings from Ireland's National Gallery, as well as poems about music, politics, and travel.

  • Jim and Carol McCord: Beneath the Midi Sun

    Beneath the Midi Sun (Shanti Arts, 2020)

    Bringing their artistic vision and keen sense of awareness, Jim and Carol McCord have traveled throughout Europe recording memorable places and moments in poems and images. Their first collection together, Two Lenses-Four Europes (Shanti Arts, 2019), conveyed the highlights of their travels through England, France, Greece, and Spain. This second collection, Beneath the Midi Sun, offers a focused look at southern France-its remarkable structures and monuments, rivers and lush landscapes, colorful markets and plentiful food, and above all, its relationship with the sun, source of life-giving warmth as it washes over this ancient land and its passionate people.

  • Shena McAuliffe: Glass, Light, Electricity

    Glass, Light, Electricity

    From Amazon.com:

    "Lyric and taut, the essays in Glass, Light, Electricity hum with quiet urgency. Shena McAuliffe has written a book that blends prose and poetry, research and reflection, and form and meditation into a finely crafted whole. The end result is haunting, electric, and intimate."

    --Kelly Sundberg, author of Goodbye, Sweet Girl.

    "In Glass, Light, Electricity one finds examples of lyric nonfiction at its most nimble and challenging. The wayward and unexpected essays of Shena McAuliffe's collection engage research, memory, experimentation, and melodic prose to build castles of grief or inquiry or humor or daring. In a book like this one, all could await the reader on the very next page."

    --Elena Passarello, author of Let Me Clear My Throat and Animals Strike Curious Poses, and judge of the 2019 Permafrost Prize

  • Jennifer Mitchell Ordinary Masochisms: Agency and Desire in Victorian and Modernist Fiction

    Professor Jennifer Mitchel '04 has published a book Ordinary Masochisms: Agency and Desire in Victorian and Modernist Fiction. University Press of Florida, October, 2020.

    Click here to see the table of contents and sample excerpts from the book.

    From the University Press of Florida:

    “Offers a series of provocative readings of ‘everyday masochisms’ across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Rather than defining this as a ‘perversion,’ Mitchell reveals the sheer mundanity of masochism, expressed in courtship rituals, marriage, religious worship, school, and the workplace. In doing so, Mitchell uncovers the paradoxically painful pleasures of the reading experience itself.”—Sarah Parker, author of The Lesbian Muse and Poetic Identity, 1889–1930

    Ordinary Masochisms reveals how literary works from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries frequently challenged the prevailing view of masochism as a deviant behavior, an opinion supported by many sexologists and psychoanalysts in the 1800s. In these texts, Jennifer Mitchell highlights everyday examples of characters deriving pleasure from pain in encounters and emotions such as flirtations, courtships, betrothals, lesbian desires, religious zeal, marital relationships, and affairs.

    Mitchell begins by examining the archetypal tale of Samson and Delilah together with Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, from whom masochism gets its name. Through close readings, Mitchell then argues that Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, George Moore’s A Drama in Muslin, D. H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow, and Jean Rhys’s Quartet all experiment with masochistic relationships that are more complex than they seem. Mitchell shows that, far from being victimized, the characters in these works achieve self-definition and empowerment by pursuing and performing pain and that masochism is a generative response rather than a destructive force beyond their control.

    Including readings of Octave Mirbeau’s The Torture Garden and Ian McEwan’s The Comfort of Strangers, Mitchell traces shifts in public consciousness regarding sex and gender and discusses why masochism continues to be categorized as a perversion today. The literary world, she asserts, has repeatedly questioned this notion as well as masochism’s associations with passivity and femininity, using the behavior to defy heteronormative and heteropatriarchal gender dynamics.

  • Jim and Carol McCord: Two Lenses — Four Europes
    McCords' new book cover

    Two Lenses — Four Europes

    During their many travels to countries in Europe, Jim and Carol McCord have seen and responded to the world around them through two different lenses—Jim through the lens of emotive wordsmithing and Carol through the lens of striking visual imagery. In this beautiful collection of poems and photographs from their travels in England, France, Greece, and Spain, the two lenses come together in one seamless offering of artistic expression. Visit the authors' website.

  • Shena McAuliffe: The Good Echo

    The English honor society – Sigma Tau Delta -- hosted a reception to celebrate the publication of Professor Shena McAuliffe’s new novel The Good Echo (Black Lawrence Press, Dec. 2018). Tuesday, Feb 26th at 5.30pm in the Breazzano Great Room.

  • Jennifer Mitchell: The Female Fantastic: Gendering the Supernatural in the 1890s and 1920s

    Assistant Professor Jennifer Mitchell has co-edited a book of scholarly essays, The Female Fantastic: Gendering the Supernatural in the 1890s and 1920s (Routledge, 2019). To this volume, Prof. Mitchell also contributed her own chapter on “Fantastic Transformations: Queer Desires and ‘Uncanny Time’ in Work by Radclyffe Hall and Virginia Woolf.”

  • Jillmarie Murphy: Attachment, Place, and Otherness in Nineteenth Century American Literature: New Materialist Representations

    This interdisciplinary study examines the role interpersonal and place attachment bonds play in crafting a national identity in American literature. Although there have been numerous ecocritical studies of and psychoanalytic approaches to American literature, this study seeks to integrate the language of empirical science and the physical realities of place, while also investigating non-human agency and that which exists beyond the material realm. Murphy considers how writers in the early American Republic constructed modernity by restructuring representations of interpersonal and place attachments, which are subsequently reimagined, reconfigured, and sometimes even rejected by writers in the long nineteenth century. Within each narrative American perceptions of otherness are pathologized as a result of insecure human-to-human and human-to-place attachments, resulting in a restructuring of antiquated notions of difference. Throughout, Murphy argues that in order to understand fully the contextually varied framework of human bonding, it is important to emphasize America's “attachment” to various constructions of otherness. Historically, people of color, women, ethnic groups, and lower class citizens have been relegated—socially, politically, and culturally—to a place of subordination. Refugees escaping the French and Haitian Revolutions to American cities encouraged writers to transform social, cultural, and political attachments in ways that the American Revolution did not. The United States has always been part of an extended global network that provides fertile ground from which to imagine a future American identity; this book thus gestures toward future readers, educators, and scholars who seek to explore new fields and new approaches to understand the underlying human motivations that continually inspire the American imagination.

  • Hugh Jenkins: Teaching the Beatles

    Teaching the Beatles is designed to provide ideas for instructors who teach the music of the Beatles. Experienced contributors describe varied approaches to effectively convey the group’s characteristics and lasting importance. Some of these include: treating the Beatles’ lyrics as poetry; their influence on the world of art, film, fashion and spirituality; the group’s impact on post-war Britain; political aspects of the Fab Four; Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting and musical innovations; the band’s use of recording technology; business aspects of the Beatles’ career; and insights into teaching the Beatles in an online format.

  • Claire Bracken: Edited Collection, Viewpoints: Theoretical Perspectives on Irish Visual Texts

    Over the last twenty years, Ireland has undergone significant transformation and, as a consequence, notions of Irish identity and nationality have been in constant flux. For this reason, it is a timely moment to consider visual representations, both past and present, of Irish cultural life, and contribute to conversations about questions such as: What kind of iconic currencies does Ireland have? How should we see them? Are there specific ideological frameworks operating when we imagine Ireland? Can we imagine Irishness differently?

    Viewpoints explores the ways in which visual texts engage with questions of Irish culture, and the manner in which those texts are received, circulated, and consumed. By way of recourse to a range of theoretical positions that include feminism, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, philosophy, and queer theory, the collection presents multiple and variegated perspectives on Irish texts, culture, society, and life. With essays on theories of visualization and early Irish photography, adaptation and memory in the diasporic image, identities in Irish photographic art, the advertising of therapeutic wellness sites, as well as essays which read and focus on Irish film and television differently, this book brings new critical readings to how we see Irish culture.

  • Andrew Burkett: Romantic Mediations: Media Theory and British Romanticism

    Dr. Burkett’s monograph, Romantic Mediations: Media Theory and British Romanticism, will be published by State University of New York Press on 1 December 2016. It will be available for pre-order on 1 September 2016. Further information about his book is available in the flyer below.

  • Jennifer Mitchell: HBO’s Girls and the Awkward Politics of Gender, Race, and Privilege

    Professor Jennifer Mitchell and her colleagues Elwood Watson and Marc Edward Shaw have published a new book (Lexington Books). It is titled HBO’s Girls and the Awkward Politics of Gender, Race, and Privilege. The book is a collection of essays that examines the HBO program Girls. Since its premiere in 2012, the series has garnered the attention of individuals from various walks of life. The show has been described in many terms: insightful, out-of-touch, brash, sexist, racist, perverse, complex, edgy, daring, provocative—just to name a few. Overall, there is no doubt that Girls has firmly etched itself in the fabric of early twenty-first-century popular culture.

    The essays in this book examine the show from various angles including: white privilege; body image; gender; culture; race; sexuality; parental and generational attitudes; third wave feminism; male emasculation and immaturity; hipster, indie, and urban music as it relates to Generation Y and Generation X. By examining these perspectives, this book uncovers many of the most pressing issues that have surfaced in the show, while considering the broader societal implications therein.

    Text Source: rowman.com

  • Andrew Burkett: Multi-Media Romanticisms

    Andrew Burkett, Assistant Professor of English, and his colleague James Brooke-Smith have just been notified that their co-edited book, entitled Multi-Media Romanticisms, will be published by Romantic Circles Praxis series.

    This book is a collection of five essays, with a co-authored introduction. It is expected to be published by early next year.

  • Jordan Smith: Clare’s Empire

    Although the British poet John Clare’s life may seem remote, his experience of radical inequality and its psychological effects, the loss of a common stake in the landscape he loved and wrote about, and the difficulties of making his way as a writer will seem very timely.

    Professor Smith’s book is the first to be published by The Hydroelectric Press. The poetry collection is now available in e-book format through Kindle, iTunes, as well as through the websites of independent booksellers including, regionally, The Northshire Bookstore Saratoga, The Open Door in Schenectady, The Book House in Albany, and Market Block Books in Troy.

    More information about The Hydroelectric Press.

  • Jillmarie Murphy: Monstrous Kinships

    Monstrous Kinships: Realism and Attachment Theory in the Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth Century Novel investigates the connection between realist fiction of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the psychoanalytic approach of John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory. Attachment Theory arises from the guiding principles of realism and the veratist’s devotion to long-term, direct observation of subject matter. Additionally, because Attachment Theory originated in the field of child psychoanalysis, this book highlights the detrimental effects of parental obsession and abandonment, industrialism, poverty, alcoholism, religious addiction, and physical, emotional, and sexual abuse on child characters. The subject of Monstrous Kinships is timely, as literary critics and theorists as well as creative writers continue to expand their range of inquiry to include the child as primary subject in various treatments of post-colonial and transnational culture.

  • Jillmarie Murphy: Hawthorne in His Own Time

    Hawthorne in His Own Time is better than a biography: it provides canny first-hand accounts of an author often considered unknowable, along with key literary assessments of the era, allowing readers to sift through the evidence and form their own judgments. Students, scholars, and lovers of the Great Romancer’s work will all find much of value in this collection of gems.” —Megan Marshall, author of The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism.

    At his death, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864) was universally acknowledged in America and England as “the Great Romancer.” Novels such as The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables and stories published in such collections as Twice-Told Tales continue to capture the minds and imaginations of readers and critics to this day. Harder to capture, however, were the character and personality of the man himself. So few of the essays that appeared in the two years after his death offered new insights into his life, art, and reputation that Hawthorne seemed fated to premature obscurity or, at least, permanent misrepresentation. This first collection of personal reminiscences by those who knew Hawthorne intimately or knew about him through reliable secondary sources rescues him from these confusions and provides the real human history behind the successful writer.

    Remembrances from Elizabeth Peabody, Sophia Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott, Rebecca Harding Davis, and twenty others printed in Hawthorne in His Own Time follow him from his childhood in Salem, through his years of initial literary obscurity, his days in the Boston and Salem Custom Houses, his service as U.S. Consul to Liverpool and Manchester and his life in the Anglo-American communities at Rome and Florence, to his late years as the “Great Romancer.”

    In their enlightening introduction, editors Ronald Bosco and Jillmarie Murphy assess the postmortem building of Hawthorne’s reputation as well as his relationship to the prominent Transcendentalists, spiritualists, Swedenborgians, and other personalities of his time. By clarifying the sentimental associations between Hawthorne’s writings and his actual personality and moving away from the critical review to the personal narrative, these artful and perceptive reminiscences tell the private and public story of a remarkable life.

  • Peter Heinegg: Abraham’s Ashes: The Absurdity of Monotheism

    Peter Heinegg has recently published Abraham’s Ashes: The Absurdity of Monotheism, released in February 2013 by the University Press of America. He calls this book “an apt introduction to the bizarre, contradictory, and oppressive fantasy known as monotheism.” He is the translator of nearly fifty books and is a regular book reviewer as well. With Airy Nothings: Religion and the Flight from Time due for release in March 2014, Professor Heinegg will add another text to his list of monographs, which include within the past five years: Crazy Culture: The Sins of Civilization (2011); Bitter Scrolls: Sexist Poison in the Canon (2010); God: An Obituary (2009); and That Does It: Desperate Reflections on American Culture(2008), all published by the University Press of America.

  • Claire Bracken: Edited Collection Anne Enright (Visions and Revisions: Irish Writers in Their Time)

    This is the first study of Man Booker prize winner Anne Enright, in which leading scholars examine her work in relation to style; her situation in a postmodern and experimental tradition in Irish and non-Irish writing; and her engagement with culture and social change, tradition and modernity, memory, gender, and sexuality. The book also includes an extensive interview with Anne Enright and a comprehensive bibliography.

  • Jordan Smith: The Light in the Film

    Drawing on characters from Tosca to Lew Welch to Henry Purcell and on landscapes from Mexico to Hell to Saratoga Springs, Jordan Smith’s sixth collection of poems is a wide-ranging consideration of the world viewed in the light of loss and restitution. As in the work of Charles Ives, celebrated in one poem, these lyrics look for likenesses found in the combination of the unlikely, and they discover, in the do-it-yourself culture of America a determined, eccentric resistance to time’s erosions.

  • Bernhard Kuhn: Autobiography and Natural Science in the Age of Romanticism

    Set against the backdrop of a rapidly fissuring disciplinary landscape where poetry and science are increasingly viewed as irreconcilable and unrelated, Bernhard Kuhn’s study uncovers a previously ignored, fundamental connection between autobiography and the natural sciences. Examining the autobiographies and scientific writings of Rousseau, Goethe, and Thoreau as representative of their ages, Kuhn challenges the now entrenched thesis of the “two cultures.” Rather, these three writers are exemplary in that their autobiographical and scientific writings may be read not as separate or even antithetical but as mutually constitutive projects that challenge the newly emerging boundaries between scientific and humanistic thought during the Romantic period.

    Reading each writer’s life stories and nature works side by side-as they were written-Kuhn reveals the scientific character of autobiographical writing while demonstrating the autobiographical nature of natural science. He considers all three writers in the context of scientific developments in their own times as well as ours, showing how each one marks a distinctive stage in the growing estrangement of the arts and sciences, from the self-assured epistemic unity of Rousseau’s time, to the splintering of disciplines into competing ways of knowing under the pressures of specialization and professionalization during the late Romantic age of Thoreau. His book thus traces an unfolding drama, in which these writers and their contemporaries, each situated in an intellectual landscape more fragmented than the last, seek to keep together what modern culture is determined to break apart. [Bernhard Kuhn’s book description from Ashgate Press.]

  • Peter Heinegg: Dim and Dimmer

    Our amazingly prolific Professor Peter Heinegg has published a new book, Dim and Dimmer: Prospects for a New Enlightenment(R&L Publishers, 2014). The book explores the crucial moral and philosophical questions of the modern world: can human traditional beliefs, many of which have led humanity to the brink of environmental and cultural collapse, be amended or replaced by a New Enlightenment? Can the dawn of modern, secular, ethical and global thinking help humanity survive? And, if so, will these changes come before it is too late?