Westover and Matthews Books Celebrated

Faculty joined together earlier this month to celebrate two books by colleagues. Paul Westover's Transatlantic Literature and Author Love in the Nineteenth Century (Palgrave Macmillan 2016) is a collection of essays that explore how readers in the 1800s expressed love for books and authors in a variety of media. Prof. Frank Christianson gave a brief review of the book, concluding that "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."

Prof. Ed Cutler reviewed Kristin Matthews's Reading America: Citizenship, Democracy, and Cold War Literature(University of Massachusetts Press, 2016). He says Matthews's book answers such questions as "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?"

Read the reviews