My first book, Literary Minstrelsy, 1770-1830: Minstrels and Improvisers in British, Irish, and American Literature, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2008. The book first analyzes the emergence of minstrels, bards, and other oral poets as objects of sustained literary concern in 1750s Britain. It then traces those figures as Romantic-era writers used them to negotiate ideas of authorship, gender, and nation. The project emphasizes links between men and women writers, between canonical and non-canonical texts, and among works of different genres. The final chapter draws out the project’s implications for the study of transatlantic blackface minstrelsy’s emergence in the 1830s and 1840s.
Versions of two of the minstrelsy book’s chapters have appeared in print:
- “‘The Minstrels of Modern Italy’: Improvisation Comes to Britain,” European Romantic Review 14:3 [September 2003], 345-367)
- “Minstrelsy Goes to Market: Prize Poems, Minstrel Contests, and Romantic Poetry,” ELH 71.3 , 691-718).
Material from or related to the book has been the stuff of conference papers including these:
- “‘A Minstrel of the Western Continent’: The Last of the Mohicans and American Minstrelsy before Blackface,” Scottish Romanticism and World Literatures, Berkeley (CA), September 2006
- “Last Minstrels, Last Mohicans: Romanticism and Transatlantic Minstrelsy before 1840,” North American Society for the Study of Romanticism Annual Conference, Purdue University, September 2006
- “Authors and Minstrels: Hogg’s The Queen’s Wake, Walter Scott, and the Romantic Canon,” Eleventh James Hogg Society Conference, Selkirk (UK), July 2004
- “False Asymptotes, Wandering Minstrels and the Vexed Nationalisms of Sydney Owenson’s Wild Irish Girl,” Women’s Writing in Britain in 1660 to 1830, Winchester (UK), July 2003
- “Beattie’s Minstrel and Regency Poetry: Or, The Progress of Wordsworth’s Genius,” Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society Annual Meeting, Charleston (SC), April 2003
- “Women Writing the New Britain: William Wallace and Romantic-Era History,” British Women Writers Conference, Madison (WI), April 2002
- “Improvisation, Gender, and Nationalism,” North American Society for the Study of Romanticism Annual Conference, Tempe (AZ), September 2000
- “Another Last Minstrel: Macpherson, Scott, and Sydney Owenson’s Lay of an Irish Harp,” Modern Language Association Convention, Chicago, December 1999 (Keats-Shelley Association panel)
- “A Prize Poem: Felicia Hemans’ ‘Wallace’s Invocation to Bruce’ and Women’s Rewriting of Minstrelsy,” Women Poets of the Romantic Period, Boulder (CO), February 1999
- “The Common Crowd But See the Gloom: Reading the Growing Giaour,” American Conference on Romanticism, Athens (GA), January 1998