Preface, Fall 2014, Vol. 33, No. 2

Download PDF

Transitions

It is something of a shock to me to realize that nine years have passed since Holly Laird and I coedited a special topics issue on “Emotions” to mark the transition between our tenures as editors of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature. With this preface, I announce another transition: in August, Jennifer L. Airey, Associate Professor of English at the University of Tulsa, joined me as the journal’s coeditor. We will edit the journal together for two years, and then I will step down, leaving her as sole editor.

I greet this transition with equal parts wistfulness, gratitude, and joy. My years with the journal have been deeply rewarding to me personally, but I feel the need to move on to new tasks. I also feel this is the right moment for the journal to renew itself—as it has three times before—with fresh ideas and energy, even as it remains linked to its original focus on women, writing, and feminist scholarship. The journal could not be in better hands than Jennifer Airey’s. Jennifer joined the Department of English at the University of Tulsa in 2008, having recently completed her doctorate at Boston University. Her major field is Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, with some emphasis on theater and developing interests in the gothic. Her book, The Politics of Rape: Sexual Atrocity, Propaganda Wars, and the Restoration Stage, published by University of Delaware Press in 2012, is a richly detailed consideration of the rhetorical uses of rape throughout the seventeenth century. It shows convincingly that sexual atrocities of various kinds—rape, miscegenation, forcing family members to witness violation and mutilation of parents, children, or partners—featured prominently in seventeenth-century English representations, both in pamphlets and on the stage. These scenes of sexual violence were designed to elicit condemnation of groups enmeshed in the major English conflicts of this era, alternately demonizing Royalist Cavaliers, Parliamentarian Roundheads, and Irish Catholics, along with many others. Her demonstration of how thoroughly political rhetoric inflects images of sexual violence from the English seventeenth century is not only immensely important for our understanding of that particular era but also useful to broader interrogations of the propagandistic contexts in which depictions of rape often are positioned.

Jennifer additionally has published articles in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatre Research, Studies in English Literature, Restoration, and essay collections including Interpreting Sexual Violence, 1660-1800 (2013, edited by Anne Greenfield). She is at work on a new book titled “Poison Pens: Writing and the Role of the Author, 1789-1830,” as well as a project on religious controversy in the works of Mary Shelley. She also harbors interest in a range of other topics relevant to this journal, including gender and video games, representations of gender in popular culture, and young adult literature. She is, in my opinion, a rising star in literary scholarship and women’s studies, and her achievements in scholarship have been matched by those in teaching. Last year she received the Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Tulsa, as well as the Linda J. Lacey Award for Mentoring Excellence from the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Jennifer showed the strength of her organizational mettle last fall when she hosted the biennial conference of the Aphra Behn Society for Women in the Arts, 1660-1830, in Tulsa. Finally, on a more personal note, I truly could not imagine a better colleague, indeed friend. Jennifer and I have worked together a great deal in our mentoring of graduate students and in the workaday committee projects that comprise so much of academic lives, and in all those interactions, I have been more delighted than I can say to have such a wonderful person to work with. I enthusiastically look forward to the next two years of collaborative editing, and I know that I am leaving the journal in the hands of an eminently capable, creative, and imaginative scholar.

 

Jennifer’s is not the only introduction it is my pleasure to make right now, for, as has been our procedure since 2008, three new members join the journal’s editorial board every six months, with every member serving a three-year term. Our last issue was a special topics double issue with guest editors (the wonderful Mary K. DeShazer and Anita Helle), in which we did not announce our most recent appointments to the editorial board, so with this issue I am delighted to introduce to our readers the journal’s nine most recent appointments, in alphabetical order.

Sandy Alexandre’s research spans late nineteenth-century to present-day black American literature and culture. Her first book, The Properties of Violence: Claims to Ownership in Representations of Lynching (2012), uses the history of American lynching violence as a framework to understand matters concerning displacement, property ownership, and the American pastoral ideology in a literary context. She has published articles in Mississippi Quarterly, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Modern Drama, The Journal of American Drama and Theatre, and Criticism. She was honored with a postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University’s Pembroke Center as well as with a Class of 1948 Career Development Professorship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her essay on August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson (1990) received Modern Drama’s award for the best article of the year in 2009. She is currently writing a second book, “Up From Chattels: Black Thinghood in an Ethics of Material Culture,” which will take as its point of departure the premise that the former, enforced condition of black Americans as fungible merchandise can haunt, inform, and morally energize their own relationships to material objects.

Meryl Altman is Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Depauw University, where she also directed the Women’s Studies program from 1990 to 2006 and then from 2009 to 2010. Her scholarship encompasses modernist American poetry, feminist and queer theory, classics, and the history of sexuality, with some recent focus on the work of Simone de Beauvoir. She has published widely on all these topics in venues including The Women’s Review of Books, Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literature, Feminist Economics, Feminist Studies, Cahiers de l’URMIS, Hypatia, and National Women’s Studies Association Journal. She was the recipient of a University Professorship at Depauw from 2007 to 2010 and a Distinguished Professorship from 2001 to 2003. She has had several distinguished international appointments, including a visiting fellowship at the International Gender Studies Center of Oxford University, a visiting senior associate position at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, and, earlier this year, a visiting fellowship at Mansfield College, Oxford. She is currently writing a book, “Beauvoir in Time: Sexuality, Race, and Transatlantic Feminism,” and a long article titled “Herodotus and Kinship: The Strange Case of Intaphrenes’s Wife.”

Jennie Batchelor is Reader in Eighteenth-Century Studies in the University of Kent’s School of English, where she also has been serving as codirector of Kent’s Centre for Studies in the Long Eighteenth Century. Her ample scholarship includes her book, Women’s Work: Labour, Gender, Authorship, 1750-1830 (2014), articles in publications such as Women’s Writing, Eighteenth-Century Life, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, and many book collections. She has also been intensely engaged with editorial work, having been series editor of Pickering and Chatto’s Chawton House Library Series from 2006 to 2013 and currently serving as general editor (with Cora Kaplan) of the ten-volume A History of British Women’s Writing (2010, 2011, and forthcoming). She has received grants from the Paul Mellon Centre and the British Academy, and this year she was awarded a Leverhulme Project Grant for her work on The Lady’s Magazine (1770-1818). Her current projects include a book manuscript, “Guilty and Other Pleasures: Women’s Periodicals of the Romantic Era,” and two editorial projects: a collection of essays titled “Women and Print Media, 1692-1800” (to be coedited with Manushag Powell) and “Women’s Writing of the Long Eighteenth Century: Feminisms, Fictions, and Futures” (to be coedited with Gillian Dow).

Elena Suet-Ying Chiu is Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where her teaching and research are focused on traditional Chinese narrative and drama, Ming-Qing oral and performing literature, and Manchu language, literature, and culture, as well as ethnicity and gender issues in late imperial and early Republican China. Her book, Bannermen Tales (Zidishu): Manchu Storytelling and Cultural Hybridity in Late Imperial China, is under contract with the Harvard University Asia Center. She is the cotranslator, with Mark Elliott, of “The Manchu Preface to Jakdan’s Selected Stories Translated from Liaozhai zhiyi,” which was published in China Heritage Quarterly, and her articles have appeared in journals and books including CHINOPERL Papers, Saksaha: A Review of Manchu Studies, and Proceedings of the International Conference on New Horizons in Ming-Qing Studies. Her research has been supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from Stanford University’s Center for East Asian Studies as well as several grants from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her works in progress include two books: “The Media, Fiction, and Ethnicity: The Manchu Novelists-Journalists in Late Qing and Early Republican China” and “Beijing in the Nineteenth Century: Manchus and the Tales in Manchu Language.”

MaryEllen Higgins is Associate Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, Greater Allegheny, where she specializes in African literature and cinema, teaching in this area as well as more broadly in world literature. She is coauthor (with Dayna Oscherwitz) of the Historical Dictionary of French Cinema (2007), and she is the editor of Hollywood’s Africa After 1994 (2012). Her articles have been published in African Literature Today, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Research in African Literatures, and several book collections such as Broadening the Horizon: Critical Introductions to Amma Darko (2007, edited by Vincent O. Odamtten) and Perspectives on African Literatures at the Millennium (2007, edited by Arthur D. Drayton, Omofolabo Ajayi-Sonyinka, and L. Peter Ukpokodu). She is a member of the African Literature Association Executive Council and currently is serving as review editor for the journal Resources for American Literary Study. She is at work on a book with the tentative title “African Cinema and Human Rights,” and she is coediting, with Rita Keresztesi and Dayna Oscherwitz, a collection of essays titled “The Western in the Global South.”

Isobel Hurst is Lecturer in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she specializes in nineteenth-century British literature and convenes a Masters in Comparative Literature Studies in Romantic and Victorian Literature and Culture. She is the author of Victorian Women Writers and the Classics: The Feminine of Homer (2006), as well as many articles on Victorian literature, Romantic literature, and British women’s reception of classical writings, published in the Oxford Handbook of Victorian Poetry, Oxford Bibliographies Online, Classical Receptions Journal, Women’s Studies, Victorian Studies, and International Journal of the Classical Tradition, as well as in several essay collections. She is co-convenor (with Jane Desmarais) of the Nineteenth-Century Studies seminar at the Institute of English Studies in Spring 2014, and her work has been supported with grants from the Bristol Institute of Hellenic and Roman Studies, the Board of Trustees of the E. K. Chambers Bequest, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and Goldsmiths. Her current projects include a book under contract with Oxford University Press titled Muse and Minerva: Translatlantic Women’s Writing and the Classical Tradition.

Catherine Keyser is Associate Professor of English at the University of South Carolina, where her scholarship and teaching encompass modern American literature, periodical studies, humor, food studies, and American women writers such as Dorothy Parker, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Hannah Crafts. Her publications include a book, Playing Smart: New York Women Writers and Modern Magazine Culture (2010), and many articles published in book collections and periodicals such as Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, Transition, Journal of Modern Periodical Studies, and American Literary Realism. She has been honored for her teaching at the University of South Carolina with the Department of English Outstanding Teacher Award and the Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award. In addition to receiving a Hartman Center Travel Grant from Duke University Libraries, she also has received several research support awards from her university, including a Provost Humanities Grant and an Institute for African American Research Fellowship. In 2008, she received the Women’s Caucus Essay Prize from the Northeast Modern Language Association for her essay, “Keeping Ironic Company: Mary McCarthy and the Smart Woman in Politics.” She is now working on a book titled “Modern Taste: Food Innovations and U. S. Literature (1890-1965).”

Brigid Rooney is Senior Lecturer in the Australian Literature Program, Department of English, at the University of Sydney. She is the author of Literary Activists: Writer Intellectuals and Australian Public Life (2009) and articles on Australian literature in publications including Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, Journal of Australian Studies, Southerly, Antipodes, and Australian Feminist Studies. Her research pursues questions about the gendering of political thought, public intellectuals and activism, and the interaction between Australian literature and the public sphere. These questions imbue her current project on novelistic renderings of suburban place and environment. Her case studies have ranged from the work of twentieth-century women writers like politically oriented, cosmopolitan writer Christina Stead to the poet and activist Judith Wright. She is frequently invited to contribute to edited collections focused on contemporary Australian writers: most recently on Shirley Hazzard, David Malouf, Alex Miller, Tim Winton, and Patrick White. Her work as editor has included “Materials for Feminism,” a special topics issue of Australian Feminist Studies in 2002, and her most recent book, Scenes of Reading: Is Australian Literature a World Literature? (2013), a collection of scholarly essays coedited with Robert Dixon that leads Australian literary studies in engagement with transnational literary theory and world literature. Last year she chaired the judging panel for the Kibble Literary Awards for Women Writers, which aim to encourage Australian women writers to improve and advance literature for the benefit of the community. She received the Fred Rush Convocation Prize from Macquarie University (Sydney), and in 2009, her book Literary Activists was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award and for the Walter McRae Russell Award (an award of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature). Her work has been supported by the Australian Research Council and other granting agencies. She has just been awarded a Thompson Fellowship for work on her latest project, a book titled “The Novel and the Suburb in Australia: 1901 to the Present.”

Susan Strehle is a new “first” for us, as a returning editorial board member. A longstanding specialist reader for the journal and a board member from 2009 through 2011, she has long been an exceptionally reliable, astute, and efficient reader of new work. I am grateful and deeply gratified to welcome her back. She is Distinguished Professor of English, Vice Provost, and Dean of Graduate School at Binghamton University, State University of New York. She has published widely on contemporary American and global fiction, with some focus on authors including Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, and Barbara Kingsolver. She is the author of Transnational Women’s Fiction: Unsettling Home and Homeland (2008) and Fiction in the Quantum Universe (1992), as well as articles in venues including Critique, Modern Fiction Studies, and Studies in the Novel. She has coedited an essay collection with Mary Paniccia Carden titled Doubled Plots: Romance and History (2003). She also has been actively involved in administration, having held several positions at Binghamton University before her current role as Vice Provost and Dean, including Department Chair and Interim Dean of Education, and she has been honored with Binghamton University’s Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching and in Faculty Service. She is currently working on a book about contemporary historical fictions and their impulse to invent alternative communities.

Even as Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature is graced with the time and talent of these nine eminent scholars, nine equally distinguished scholars are concluding their terms on the editorial board. I would like to thank Anna Battigelli, Anne Fogarty, Sarah Gleeson-White, Cathryn Halverson, Siao-chen Hu, Jacqueline Labbe, Hyungji Park, Monika Shafi, and Joanne van der Woude for their unflagging support and hard work. As they join the burgeoning ranks of our former editorial board members, I look forward to counting on their continued support, calling on them from time to time for their advice.

 

There has been a great deal of activity over the past few months in the offices of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature. For me personally, the most exciting (and relieving!) news I have to report is that we have for the most part caught up on our publication schedule, with this issue appearing close to our stated Fall 2014 date. Our staff is owed a sincere and ample thanks for having reached this goal, especially Karen Dutoi for her hard work and strategic planning. I would also like to express our profuse thanks to our university’s provost, Roger Blais, whose approval of funding for a second summer intern helped us immensely in our efforts to catch up on our publication schedule.

In the pages of this issue you will quickly see two changes to our format: rather than being grouped together at the back of the issue, the abstracts for each article are now located on the first page of the article, and the notes on contributors are located between the article proper and the endnotes. We have made this change largely to meet the needs of readers who encounter our publication as individual articles on Project MUSE and JSTOR, but we hope this alteration is to the liking of all our readers. Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature also has expanded and enlivened its social media presence with a new Facebook page. Some of its content, such as its commemorations of female authors’ birthdays, will mirror the content of our two-year-old Twitter account, but there will be additional material in keeping with its roomier format. Please “like” our page, which can be found through the link on our website, or by searching on Facebook for the journal. If you have not already, please also follow us on Twitter: @TSWLJournal.

Greetings and goodbyes are also needed for some of our office staff. It is my pleasure to welcome (somewhat belatedly) Casie Trotter, who has been our publicity manager for several months now, and Linda Hudson, who began work as our new subscriptions manager this semester. Over the past eighteen months Melissa Antonucci, Mark Rideout, and Ashley Schoppe have completed their tenures as interns with the journal. It was a very great pleasure to have worked with them on the journal, which has gained much from the talents, skills, and sheer effort they brought into our office on a daily basis. For me personally this is not quite a goodbye, for I have the happy duty of serving on all of their dissertation committees. I would nonetheless like to thank them for their very valuable contributions to the journal and wish them well in their future endeavors.

There are two additional farewells to be said, more final ones. Tributes follow this preface, but I would like to convey a few more personal words here. First, last March, a founding member of our editorial board, Marilyn Butler, passed away. I never had the pleasure of being acquainted with Professor Butler, but I have encountered her writing, both through the business of the journal and through her important scholarship on English literature of the Romantic era. Her work ranged widely, but it is perhaps through her research on Maria Edgeworth, previously regarded as a minor writer from Britain’s colonial periphery, that Professor Butler’s impact has been felt for the long run, at least in relation to the purview of this journal. This is also true for me as a former graduate student of the literature of Britain’s long eighteenth century. That I read Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent (1800) as a student, that I taught Edgeworth to undergraduates, that I developed an awareness of her as a canonical writer while I grew into scholarly maturity, owes a debt to Professor Butler’s biography of Edgeworth as well as her other contributions to scholarship on this early nineteenth-century Irish author. Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature benefited from her presence on our editorial and advisory boards, just as the field in general still benefits from her scholarly labor.

My second farewell is more personal, as it is for Charlotte Stewart, the original managing editor of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, Associate Director of Academic Publications at the University of Tulsa from 1971 through 1983, and a central figure in the founding of this journal. Charlotte had left the journal long before I joined it, but her presence was still vividly felt as she remained a quite active and important member of our campus community, having transitioned to the office of the Provost. I very fondly remember having lunch with Charlotte when I, a terrified graduate student, visited the University of Tulsa as a job candidate. She, along with Linda Frazier, former managing editor of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, was one of the most friendly and supportive faces in the room when I gave my job talk. I recollect her coming up to me after my talk with kind and encouraging words, putting me at ease and making me feel that I might just belong here, and that “here” might include a vibrant, supportive community of women. She, along with her partner, Marguerite Chapman, taught me through her actions and words a great deal about female fellowship within academia. The ceramic bowl she gave my child shortly after his birth has stood near his bed every night of his life, constituting, I like to think, a sort of blessing from a figure I did not thank enough for the gentle, constant benediction her very presence granted to those around her. That blessing is felt in the journal’s pages to this day, from a woman who devoted herself in multifold ways to the pleasures and power of written words, especially as those words were uttered by and reflected upon women.

To work on this journal is to reap and disperse the fruits of the labors of those who have preceded us—the authors whose words we study and the scholars whose research we publish, but also the staff, both men and women, who have toiled over the words of others, preparing them for publication and posterity. Charlotte Stewart was one of those who set this particular feminist work in motion. Her ideas and her labor are tacitly present in every page of this journal, advancing the scholarly enterprise that it chronicles. Long may that enterprise, and the memory of her role in it, continue. This issue is dedicated in memory of her.

Laura M. Stevens
University of Tulsa

 

Memorial for Marilyn Butler

Marilyn Butler, a founding member of the editorial board of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, passed away on 11 March 2014. Butler was the first female head of a college at either Oxford or Cambridge, serving as Rector of Exeter College at Oxford from 1993 until 2004. She had previously served as King Edward VII Regius Professor of English Literature at Cambridge from 1986 to 1993. Her doctoral studies and research fellowship at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, led to a literary biography of Maria Edgeworth (1972), which drew attention to this once-neglected but now well-studied Anglo-Irish novelist. Butler would later publish collections of the works of Edgeworth and Mary Wollstonecraft, as well as scholarly editions of novels by Jane Austen and Mary Shelley. As a leading scholar of Romantic literature, she is most well known for Jane Austen and the War of Ideas (1975), which updated the image of Austen as a rural novelist of the inner life through analysis of the ideas and politics enmeshed in her works, and Romantics, Rebels, and Reactionaries: English Literature and its Background, 1760-1830 (1981), which explores the political and social contexts that shaped the literature of the Romantic period. Butler was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2002.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]