Faculty Publications

Kim Johnson


Translated from the Greek by Kimberly Johnson

Hesiod: Theogony and Works and Days, A New Bilingual Edition (Northwestern World Classics)

(Northwestern University Press, 2017)

Widely considered the first poet in the Western tradition to address the matter of his own experience, Hesiod occupies a seminal position in literary history. His Theogony brings together and formalizes many of the narratives of Greek myth, detailing the genealogy of its gods and their violent struggles for power. The Works and Days seems on its face to be a compendium of advice about managing a farm, but it ranges far beyond this scope to meditate on morality, justice, the virtues of a good life, and the place of humans in the universe. These poems are concerned with orderliness and organization, and they proclaim those ideals from small-scale to vast, from a handful of seeds to the story of the cosmos. Presented here in a bilingual edition, Johnson’s translation takes care to preserve the structure of Hesiod’s lines and sentences, achieving a sonic and rhythmic balance that enables us to hear his music across the millennia.


Miranda Wilcox

Studiesinthe HistoryofEnglishLanguageVII

Editor with Don Chapman and Colette Moore

Studies in the History of the English Language VII: Generalizing vs. Particularizing Methodologies in Historical Linguistic Analysis

 (Walter de Gruyter, 2016)

This book looks at how historical linguists accommodate the written records used for evidence. The limitations of the written record restrict our view of the past and the conclusions that we can draw about its language. However, the same limitations force us to be aware of the particularities of language. This collection blends the philological with the linguistic, combining questions of the particular with generalizations about language change.

Kristin Matthews


Reading America: Citizenship, Democracy, and Cold War Literature

(University of Massachusetts Press, 2016)

During the Cold War, the editor of Time magazine declared, “A good citizen is a good reader.” As postwar euphoria faded, a wide variety of Americans turned to reading to understand their place in the changing world. Yet, what did it mean to be a good reader? And how did reading make you a good citizen?

In Reading America, Kristin L. Matthews puts into conversation a range of political, educational, popular, and touchstone literary texts to demonstrate how Americans from across the political spectrum—including “great works” proponents, New Critics, civil rights leaders, postmodern theorists, neoconservatives, and multiculturalists—celebrated particular texts and advocated particular interpretive methods as they worked to make their vision of “America” a reality. She situates the fiction of J. D. Salinger, Ralph Ellison, Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, and Maxine Hong Kingston within these debates, illustrating how Cold War literature was not just an object of but also a vested participant in postwar efforts to define good reading and citizenship.

Review by Ed Cutler presented at Faculty Book Lunch

Kristin L. Matthews’ new book takes a cultural commonplace–the importance of reading and reading well in a democratic society—and recasts it as a discourse whose deeper sociology is fraught with contradiction. Cultural discourses are nothing if not durable and alarmist. And the United States’ purported literacy crisis has persisted, unexamined, across the American Century. Matthews asks what is at stake when the Department of Agriculture hosts a conference on the national reading crisis in 1951? What when dozens of other such initiatives follow? Do good readers really make better citizens, or might “reading well” serve to acculturate an acquiesce toward established authority, to a greatness already distilled in the Great Books and, by extension, the triumphalist self-image of American liberalism itself?  What happens when writers and readers shake off the passive inwardness of middlebrow reading and turn the tables on the question of what is to be read and why?  Matthews’ book sheds a revealing light on these questions, demonstrating how the emergence of the New Left, campus activism, even the birth of metafiction can be read as blowback from the quietist, narcotizing, Book-of-the-Month-Club agendas for American readers.  Deeply researched, persuasive, and wholly original, Reading America is a vital new contribution toward our understanding of a tumultuous era that in turn helps us better perceive our own.

Paul Westover

Editor with Ann Wierda Rowland

Transatlantic Literature and Author Love in the Nineteenth Century

(Palgrave Macmillan; 1st ed. 2016 edition)

This collection of essays explores how readers on both sides of the Atlantic shaped the contours of “English literature” in the 1800s, expressing love for books and their authors through a wide variety of media and social practices. While love as such is difficult to quantify or recover, the records of such affection survive not just in print, but also (for example) in monuments, in art, in architecture, and in the ephemera of material culture. Thus, the authors aim to expand the normal range of literary reception studies.

Review by Frank Christianson presented at Faculty Book Lunch

The author of Necromanticism, explores a related form of philia in the co-edited essay collection Transatlantic Literature and Author Love in the Nineteenth-Century. Examining a formative chapter in the history of Anglophone culture—when Englishness was imagined and materialized beyond Britain’s shores—editors Paul Westover and Ann Wierda Rowland have set themselves the formidable task of turning “love” into a term of art in literary studies. Moving chronologically, beginning in the 1830s, the chapters in this volume consider how the collective act of reading literature in English came to define English Literature as a cultural inheritance. These accounts of author love paradoxically challenge author-centric approaches to periodization. They detail “procreative afterlives” in what amount to “extended histories” of books and their writers as they manifested in the US and Britain over generations within an increasingly varied media landscape. In their careful selection and lucid framing of the essays, Westover and Rowland make the case for a more expansive literary study that documents the “constructive role of reception” in forming social networks of readerships. With essays on Sarah Hale, Wordsworth, Cooper, and Tennyson, among others, this collection may be one of the best explanations to date of how the English literary canon was shaped by a transatlantic context. More importantly, it speaks effectively to more fundamental questions of why we read, and study, and cherish literature in the first place, and how certain kinds of love inspire us to affiliate with each other across space and time and make a culture of the stories we share. 

Matthew Wickman


Literature After Euclid

(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016)

What if historical fiction were understood as a disfiguring of calculus? Or poems enacting the formation and breakdown of community as expositions of irrational numbers? What if, in other words, literary texts possessed a kind of mathematical unconscious?

The persistence of the rhetoric of “two cultures,” one scientific, the other humanities-based, obscures the porous border and productive relationship that has long existed between literature and mathematics. In eighteenth-century Scottish universities, geometry in particular was considered one of the humanities; anchored in philosophy, it inculcated what we call critical thinking. But challenges to classical geometry within the realm of mathematics obligated Scottish geometers to become more creative in their defense of the traditional discipline; and when literary writers and philosophers incorporated these mathematical problems into their own work, the results were not only ingenious but in some cases pioneering.

Literature After Euclid tells the story of the creative adaptation of geometry in Scotland during and after the long eighteenth century. It argues that diverse attempts in literature and philosophy to explain or even emulate the geometric achievements of Isaac Newton and others resulted in innovations that modify our understanding of descriptive and bardic poetry, the aesthetics of the picturesque, and the historical novel. Matthew Wickman’s analyses of these innovations in the work of Walter Scott, Robert Burns, James Thomson, David Hume, Thomas Reid, and other literati change how we perceive the Scottish Enlightenment and the later, modernist ethos that purportedly relegated the “classical” Enlightenment to the dustbin of history. Indeed, the Scottish Enlightenment’s geometric imagination changes how we see literary history itself.


Borge’s Poe

(University of Georgia Press, 2016)

Edgar Allan Poe’s image and import in Spanish America shifted during the twentieth century, and this shift is clearly connected to the work of three writers from the Río de la Plata region—Uruguayan Horacio Quiroga and Argentines Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar. In Borges’s Poe, Emron Esplin focuses on the second author in this trio and argues that Borges, through a sustained and complex literary relationship with Poe’s works, served as the primary catalyst that changed Poe’s image throughout Spanish America from a poet-prophet to a timeless fiction writer.

Most scholarship that couples Poe and Borges focuses primarily on each writer’s detective stories, refers only occasionally to their critical writings and the remainder of their fiction, and deemphasizes the cultural context in which Borges interprets Poe. In this book, Esplin explores Borges’s and Poe’s published works and several previously untapped archival resources to reveal an even more complex literary relationship between the two writers. Emphasizing the spatial and temporal context in which Borges interprets Poe—the Río de la Plata region from the 1920s through the 1980s—Borges’s Poe underlines Poe’s continual presence in Borges’s literary corpus. More important, it demonstrates how Borges’s literary criticism, his Poe translations, and his own fiction create a disparate Poe who serves as a precursor to Borges’s own detective and fantastic stories and as an inspiration to the so-called Latin American Boom.

Seen through this more expansive context, Borges’s Poe shows that literary influence runs both ways since Poe’s writings visibly affect Borges the poet, story writer, essayist, and thinker while Borges’s analyses and translations of Poe’s work and his responses to Poe’s texts in his own fiction forever change how readers of Poe return to his literary corpus.

Editor with Keith Foulcher

Indonesian Notebook: A Sourcebook on Richard Wright and the Banding Conference

(Duke University Press, 2016)

While Richard Wright’s account of the 1955 Bandung Conference in The Color Curtain has been key to shaping Afro-Asian historical narratives, Indonesian accounts of Wright and his conference attendance have been largely overlooked. Indonesian Notebook contains myriad documents by Indonesian writers, intellectuals, and reporters, as well as a newly recovered lecture by Wright, previously published only in Indonesian. Brian Russell Roberts and Keith Foulcher introduce and contextualize these documents with extensive background information and analysis, showcasing the heterogeneity of postcolonial modernity and underscoring the need to consider non-English language perspectives in transnational cultural exchanges. This collection of primary sources and scholarly histories is a crucial companion volume to Wright’sThe Color Curtain.


Sublime Physick

(University of Nebraska Press, 2016)

A follow-up to Patrick Madden’s award-winning debut, this introspective and exuberant collection of essays is wide-ranging and wild, following bifurcating paths of thought to surprising connections. In Sublime Physick, Madden seeks what is common and ennobling among seemingly disparate, even divisive, subjects, ruminating on midlife, time, family, forgiveness, loss, originality, a Canadian rock band, and much more, discerning the ways in which the natural world (fisica) transcends and joins the realm of ideas (sublime) through the application of a meditative mind.  In twelve essays that straddle the classical and the contemporary, Madden transmutes the ruder world into a finer one, articulating with subtle humor and playfulness how science and experience abut and intersect with spirituality and everyday life.


Kill February

(Sage Hill Press, 2015)

What Jeffrey Tucker’s book of poems provides us with, in the face of an increasingly volatile environment, is a focus on now. How do we best live now (which is truly the only things we are granted) even while we are observant, and in acknowledgement of, the storms, the devastations that happen in seemingly quicker successions, both ecological and personal? Given the evidence that Tucker so hauntingly, so bitingly provides, we must embrace our only world, our only possible lives, our now: “Paradise?” he knowlingly asks.  “Look around. It’s vicious out here.”


To See Them Run: Great Plains Coyote Coursing

(University Press of Mississippi, 2015)

To See Them Run explores how and why Great Plains hunters have chased coyotes with greyhounds and other sight hounds since before George Armstrong Custer. Though a well-developed, long-lived, widespread, and undeniably enthralling tradition, the practice remains little known, even to those living in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and South Dakota, where the tradition is common. Coyote coursing, hunting with greyhounds launched from specially made pickup rigs, is a hobby by locals, for locals, and it has remained a quintessentially vernacular enterprise occupying a rung below the Plains’ prestige forms of animal training and interaction–namely with horses and cattle. The coyote coursing tradition provides an ideal setting for exploring the relationship between animals and the study of folklore.

The book examines the artistry, thrills, values, camaraderie, economy, and controversies of this uncommercialized and never-before-studied vernacular tradition. Through ethnographic photographs and authentic collected commentary from participants, this book uncovers how hunting dogs and coyotes both have shaped and been shaped by human aesthetic sensibilities in ongoing folkloric and biological processes. Author Eric A. Eliason and photographer Scott Squire discover deep and sophisticated local knowledge in a unique interaction with the natural ecologies of the great North American prairie.


My Wife Wants You to Know I’m Happily Married

(University of Nebraska Press, 2015)

Modern manhood is confusing and complicated, but Joey Franklin, a thirtysomething father of three, is determined to make the best of it. In My Wife Wants You to Know I’m Happily Married, he offers frank, self-deprecating meditations on everything from male-pattern baldness and the balm of blues harmonica to Grand Theft Auto and the staying power of first kisses. He riffs on cockroaches, hockey, romance novels, Boy Scout hikes, and the challenge of parenting a child through high-stakes Texas T-ball.

With honesty and wit, Franklin explores what it takes to raise three boys, succeed in a relationship, and survive as a modern man. My Wife Wants You to Know I’m Happily Married is an uplifting rumination on learning from the past and living for the present, a hopeful take on being a man without being a menace to society.

 Madden Montaigne
Editor with David Lazar

After Montaigne

(University of Georgia Press, 2015)

Writers of the modern essay can trace their chosen genre all the way back to Michel de Montaigne (1533–92). But save for the recent notable best seller How to Live: A Life of Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell, Montaigne is largely ignored. After Montaigne—a collection of twenty-four new personal essays intended as tribute— aims to correct this collective lapse of memory and introduce modern readers and writers to their stylistic forebear.

Though it’s been over four hundred years since he began writing his essays, Montaigne’s writing is still fresh, and his use of the form as a means of selfexploration in the world around him reads as innovative—even by modern standards. He is, simply put, the writer to whom all essayists are indebted. Each contributor has chosen one of Montaigne’s 107 essays and has written his/her own essay of the same title and on the same theme, using a quote from Montaigne’s essay as an epigraph. The overall effect is akin to a covers album, with each writer offering his or her own interpretation and stylistic verve to Montaigne’s themes in ways that both reinforce and challenge the French writer’s prose, ideas, and forms. Featuring a who’s who of contemporary essayists, After Montaigne offers a startling engagement with Montaigne and the essay form while also pointing the way to the genre’s potential new directions.


Civic Jazz: American Music and Kenneth Burke on the Art of Getting Along

(The University of Chicago Press, 2015)

Jazz is born of collaboration, improvisation, and listening. In much the same way, the American democratic experience is rooted in the interaction of individuals. It is these two seemingly disparate, but ultimately thoroughly American, conceits that Gregory Clark examines in Civic Jazz. Melding Kenneth Burke’s concept of rhetorical communication and jazz music’s aesthetic encounters with a rigorous sort of democracy, this book weaves an innovative argument about how individuals can preserve and improve civic life in a democratic culture.

Jazz music, Clark argues, demonstrates how this aesthetic rhetoric of identification can bind people together through their shared experience in a common project. While such shared experience does not demand agreement—indeed, it often has an air of competition—it does align people in practical effort and purpose. Similarly, Clark shows, Burke considered Americans inhabitants of a persistently rhetorical situation, in which each must choose constantly to identify with some and separate from others. Thought-provoking and path-breaking, Clark’s harmonic mashup of music and rhetoric will appeal to scholars across disciplines as diverse as political science, performance studies, musicology, and literary criticism.

Uncommon Prayer: Poems

(Karen and Michael Braziller Books, 2014)

In this stirring third collection, bursting with spoken and unspoken desire, Kimberly Johnson continues her ecstatic intertwining of the liturgical and the rugged landscape of the American West.  Uncommon Prayer is a book about desire, and about the ways in which desire can and cannot be expressed, contained, or controlled by language.  Invoking the structural organization of the liturgical hours, the calendar, and the alphabet, Uncommon Prayer explores how external forms might compensate for the incommunicability of human want—that is, how the parts of expression that aren’t found in dictionary definitions might help to make up for what our words never quite manage to express.

Editor with Lisa T. Sarasohn

God and Nature in the Thought of Margaret Cavendish

(Ashgate Publishing, 2014)

Only recently have scholars begun to note Margaret Cavendish’s references to “God,” “spirits,” and the “rational soul,” and little has been published in this regard. This volume addresses that scarcity by taking up the theological threads woven into Cavendish’s ideas about nature, matter, magic, governance, and social relations, with special attention given to Cavendish’s literary and philosophical works. Reflecting the lively state of Cavendish studies, God and Nature in the Thought of Margaret Cavendish allows for disagreements among the contributing authors, whose readings of Cavendish sometimes vary in significant ways; and it encourages further exploration of the theological elements evident in her literary and philosophical works. Despite the diversity of thought developed here, several significant points of convergence establish a foundation for future work on Cavendish’s vision of nature, philosophy, and God. The chapters collected here enhance our understanding of the intriguing-and sometimes brilliant-contributions Cavendish made to debates about God’s place in the scientific cosmos.

With Margarida Vale de Gate

Translated Poe (perspectives on Edgar Allan Poe)

(Lehigh University Press, 2014)

Few, if any, U.S. writers are as important to the history of world literature as Edgar Allan Poe, and few, if any, U.S. authors owe so much of their current reputations to the process of translation. Translated Poe brings together 31 essays from 19 different national/literary traditions to demonstrate Poe’s extensive influence on world literature and thought while revealing the importance of the vehicle that delivers Poe to the world—translation.

Translated Poe is not preoccupied with judging the “quality” of any given Poe translation nor with assessing what a specific translation of Poe must or should have done. Rather, the volume demonstrates how Poe’s translations constitute multiple contextual interpretations, testifying to how this prolific author continues to help us read ourselves and the world(s) we live in. The examples of how Poe’s works were spread abroad remind us that literature depends as much on authorial creation and timely readership as on the languages and worlds through which a piece of literature circulates after its initial publication in its first language. This recasting of signs and symbols that intervene in other cultures when a text is translated is one of the principal subjects of the humanistic discipline of Translation Studies, dealing with the the products, functions, and processes of translation as both a cognitive and socially regulated activity. Both literary history and the history of translation benefit from this book’s focus on Poe, whose translated fortune has helped to shape literary modernity, in many cases importantly redefining the target literary systems. Furthermore, we envision this book as a fountain of resources for future Poe scholars from various global sites, including the United States, since the cases of Poe’s translations—both exceptional and paradigmatic—prove that they are also levers that force the reassessment of the source text in its native literature.


Death Coming Up the Hill

(HMH Books for Young Readers , 2014)

It’s 1968, and war is not foreign to seventeen-year-old Ashe. His dogmatic, racist father married his passionate peace-activist mother when she became pregnant with him, and ever since, the couple, like the situation in Vietnam, has been engaged in a “senseless war that could have been prevented.”
When his high school history teacher dares to teach the political realities of the war, Ashe grows to better understand the situation in Vietnam, his family, and the wider world around him. But when a new crisis hits his parents’ marriage, Ashe finds himself trapped, with no options before him but to enter the fray.

 Revision Decisions
With Jeff Anderson

Revision Decisions: Talking through Sentences and Beyond

(Stenhouse Publishers, 2014)

Revision is often a confusing and difficult process for students, but it’s also the most important part of the writing process. If students leave our classrooms not knowing how to move a piece of writing forward, we’ve failed them. Revision Decisions will help teachers develop the skills students need in an ever-evolving writing, language, and reading world. Jeff Anderson and Deborah Dean have written a book that engages writers in the tinkering, playing, and thinking that are essential to clarify and elevate writing.

Focusing on sentences, Jeff and Deborah use mentor texts to show the myriad possibilities that exist for revision. Essential to their process is the concept of classroom talk. Readers will be shown how revision lessons can be discussed in a generative way, and how each student can benefit from talking through the revision process as a group. Revision Decisions focuses on developing both the writing and the writer. The easy-to-follow lessons make clear and accessible the rigorous thinking and the challenging process of making writing work. Narratives, setup lessons, templates, and details about how to move students toward independence round out this essential book. Additionally, the authors weave the language, reading, and writing goals of the Common Core and other standards into an integrated and connected practice.

The noted language arts teacher James Britton once said that good writing “floats on a sea of talk.” Revision Decisions supports those genuine conversations we naturally have as readers and writers, leading the way to the essential goal of making meaning.

 jillrudy book
With Pauline Greenhill

Channeling Wonder: Fairy Tales on Television

(Wayne State University Press, 2014)

Television has long been a familiar vehicle for fairy tales and is, in some ways, an ideal medium for the genre. Both more mundane and more wondrous than cinema, TV magically captures sounds and images that float through the air to bring them into homes, schools, and workplaces. Even apparently realistic forms, like the nightly news, routinely employ discourses of “once upon a time,” “happily ever after,” and “a Cinderella story.” In Channeling Wonder: Fairy Tales on Television, Pauline Greenhill and Jill Terry Rudy offer contributions that invite readers to consider what happens when fairy tale, a narrative genre that revels in variation, joins the flow of television experience.

Looking in detail at programs from Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the U.S., this volume’s twenty-three international contributors demonstrate the wide range of fairy tales that make their way into televisual forms. The writers look at fairy-tale adaptations in musicals like Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, anthologies like Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, made-for-TV movies like Snow White: A Tale of Terror, Bluebeard, and the Red Riding Trilogy, and drama serials like Grimm and Once Upon a Time. Contributors also explore more unexpected representations in the Carosello commercial series, the children’s show Super Why!, the anime series Revolutionary Girl Utena, and the live-action dramas Train Man and Rich Man Poor Woman. In addition, they consider how elements from familiar tales, including “Hansel and Gretel,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Snow White,” and “Cinderella” appear in the long arc serials Merlin, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Dollhouse, and in a range of television formats including variety shows, situation comedies, and reality TV.

Channeling Wonder demonstrates that fairy tales remain ubiquitous on TV, allowing for variations but still resonating with the wonder tale’s familiarity. Scholars of cultural studies, fairy-tale studies, folklore, and television studies will enjoy this first-of-its-kind volume.

 Standing Apart
Editor with John D. Young

Standing Apart: Mormon Historical Consciousness and the Concept of Apostasy

(Oxford, 2014)

Latter-day Saints have a paradoxical relationship to the past; even as they invest their own history with sacred meaning, celebrating the restoration of ancient truths and the fulfillment of biblical prophecies, they repudiate the eighteen centuries of Christianity that preceded the founding of their church as apostate distortions of the truth. Since the early days of Mormonism, Latter-day Saints have used the paradigm of apostasy and restoration in their narratives about the origin of their church. This has generated a powerful and enduring binary of categorization that has profoundly impacted Mormon self-perception and relations with others. Standing Apart explores how the idea of apostasy has functioned as a category to mark, define, and set apart “the other” in Mormon historical consciousness and in the construction of Mormon narrative identity. The volume’s fifteen contributors trace the development of LDS narratives of apostasy within the context of both Mormon history and American Protestant historiography. They suggest ways in which these narratives might be reformulated to engage with the past, as well as offering new models for interfaith relations. This volume provides a novel approach for understanding and resolving some of the challenges faced by the LDS church in the twenty-first century.


Textual Warfare and the Making of Methodism

(Oxford, 2014)

Textual Warfare and the Making of Methodism examines the satirical and polemical literature written in response to the eighteenth-century Methodist revival and the ways Methodists, who were acutely aware of the antagonism that tailed the revival, responded to this literature, both in public and in the ways they expressed and practiced their faith. The debate that unfolded in the press naturally shaped the public face of Methodism. More importantly, Methodists believed more firmly as a result of their clashes with their critics, and these clashes provided much of the energy that propelled the movement forward. Textual Warfare documents these processes by examining pro- and anti-Methodist texts, John Wesley’s management of the movement, and the personal writings of the Methodists themselves, which illustrate the ways their faith was refined by controversy.

 Trained Capacities
With Gregory Clark

Trained Capacities: John Dewey, Rhetoric, and Democratic Practice

(University of South Carolina Press, 2014)


Made Flesh: Sacrament and Poetics in Post-Reformation England

(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014)

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