Monday, November 19, 2012
I am now working on a book about mass print culture, emotionality, and women’s narratives in early twentieth-century America, when dramatic changes in the literary marketplace and in women’s social roles helped to make the question of how women really felt seem especially pressing. At the same time, the terrain of feeling was itself being redefined by the immensely powerful engine of mass print culture. The psychic interiority upon which sentimental narratives relied was, in effect, turned inside out by the explosion of cheap newsprint, which allowed newspapers to circulate intimate details in a form that was accessible to far more readers than even the most widely read novel. The first part of the book examines three influential modes of mass-market journalism that were associated with intense emotion: syndicated advice columns, lynching reports, and sensational murder-trial coverage. The second part of the book examines how novelists responded to the new centrality of emotional style.
As co-director of the Gender and Women’s Studies program at Villanova, I seek to honor and nurture the interdisciplinary work of feminist scholarship, which has shaped my own research interests in profound ways. I regularly review manuscript submissions for scholarly journals, and I have served on the editorial boards of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature and Legacy: Journal of American Women Writers. Recently I have taught graduate courses on queer theory, emotion and mass culture in American literature, and modernist style in the American novel.