Mar 11, 2018
The past twenty years, along with the promises and perils of the digital turn, have seen a robust engagement with the modernist archive. One can map nearly point for point the rise of the New Modernist Studies and the Modernist Studies Association with the rise of digital resources that have reenergized the field: the Modernist Journals Project (1997), the...
Oct 3, 2018
Cambridge, King’s College Library (1865). A. D. White Architectural Photographs, Cornell University Library.
When a convener adds Things Fall Apart (1959) to their syllabus something strange happens. If all goes well the class will read Chinua Achebe’s novel together, discussions will grow around the colonial history of Nigeria, and textual details will emerge from their conversation. Two systems will touch: context and close reading will intersect. The...
Jul 7, 2018
The information superhighway is paved with good intentions. This thought occurred to me earlier this summer, as I drove the Silicon Valley corridor of 101. “The first survivor of Alzheimer’s is out there,” one billboard declared. “Hello marijuana, goodbye anxiety,” announced a second (the company, Eaze, hand-delivers the substance, à la Instacart). “No data left behind,” avowed a third. Perhaps because I was headed to the ALA to deliver a paper on Edith Wharton’s satire of interwar...
Aug 18, 2018
On August 17, 1911, Methuen published E.V. Lucas and George Morrow’s What A Life!: An Autobiography .  In spite of the title, What A Life! is not an autobiography, at least not in the literal sense. Instead, it is a brief collage novel illustrated with engravings from Whiteley’s General Catalogue, originally a mail order publication and, at the time, the largest British department store.
Apr 11, 2018
From this day forward, every time you see the name Roberto Busa invoked as a—or the— founding scholar of either quantitative or computational method in the humanities, we want you to mentally search and replace with another name: Josephine Miles.
Jul 4, 2018
The epigraph implies origin. As a literary device it often announces source material for a text, and it is a place where, presumably, the reading experience begins. The epigraphs I have placed above are modeled after the form that Samuel R. Delany uses for his 1995 novella “Atlantis: Model 1924,” which has two literary excerpts at the beginning of each chapter.  Four of the five chapters of “Atlantis: Model 1924” contain...
Apr 26, 2018
I’m taking over the Process blog from Lesley Wheeler at the moment when I’m nearly finished the process of writing my first book and am waiting for page proofs from the press.
Jan 4, 2018
What can the acknowledgements page of an academic book reveal to us about the discipline of literary studies? Scholarly acknowledgment is often characterized by the special fulsomeness of its intimate enumeration of gratitude. It’s easy to experience a kind of vertigo when moving from the cozy intimacy of these expressions of thanks to the rigorous delimitations and impersonal critical surveys of the introductory material that follows. What would it mean to close the gap between these modes—...
Jun 18, 2018
On a recent episode of the Modernist Podcast , I asked “What does precarity mean to you?” My inquiry came in the wake of the strike action that swept the UK in the early months of 2018, as academics became embroiled in an all too familiar fight to protect their working conditions by halting alterations that would see sweeping changes to...
Aug 25, 2018
Using the modernist archive requires finding it first. The modernist archive does not live in one collection at one repository, such as a single university special collections department or one pivotal private library. Rather, the modernist archive is a term used to conceptualize a networked set of collections across many repositories in the United States or abroad.  The fact that the modernist archive is dispersed rather than...
Feb 26, 2018
My farewell post for the “Process” column is a brief conversation with Jahan Ramazani , University Professor and Edgar F. Shannon Professor of English at the University of Virginia, and a scholar whose work I admire greatly and follow closely. He gives serious attention to strong poets who aren’t always read with such insight, as well as leveling powerful arguments about how verse frames identity, feeling, and nation. In short...
Apr 26, 2018
Turn-of-the-century Rio de Janeiro: this period was a time of radical changes for what was then Brazil’s capital. These changes intended to make the city Brazil’s “capital of the twentieth century” (to paraphrase Walter Benjamin). Rio’s transformations were part of broader changes taking place in the country. In 1888 slavery had been abolished in Brazil, followed a year later by the ousting of the imperial family. These events marked the start of the First Republic (1889-1930) and signaled a...
Feb 5, 2018
So, there I was: an art history doctoral candidate on a Fulbright-Hays fellowship lying naked at the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow—an activity neither proposed in my fellowship application nor predicted upon my arrival in Russia. This is one way of introducing the story of an art historian participating in reperformances at Marina Abramović’s The Artist Is Present exhibition in Moscow in 2011—a sensationally effective but superficial way
Jan 31, 2018
Originally constructed in 1817, Auburn Correctional Facility in Upstate New York stands as the oldest continually functional maximum-security penitentiary in the United States.  I doubt that its designers would have predicted that 200 years later the US would come to incarcerate more people than any other country in history. We currently make up only 5% of the world’s population, but confine about 21% of its prisoners.
Sep 23, 2018
This summer, the modernist scholar Johanna Winant and I found ourselves working on a number of converging projects, from book chapters to essays on Stanley Cavell’s philosophy and Donald Hall’s poetry. Below we reflect on the process of writing together, sharing work, and discovering the kinds of friendship that collaboration makes possible