Professor of English and Program Faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies

Degrees and institutions granting the degree

  • Smith College, A.B. 1985 (magna cum laude with high honors in English)
  • University of Pennsylvania, A.M. 1987
  • University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D. 1998

Professional Areas of Specialty

American Literature and the History of the Book from the Early Republic through the early 20th century, with a focus on women’s authorship; the American novel; Catharine Sedgwick; Willa Cather

Courses regularly taught

American Literature Survey, The World of Willa Cather, Introduction to Women’s Literature, Survey of Women’s Literature, Introduction to English Studies, Short Story, Early American Novel, Nineteenth-Century American Novel, Capstone Seminar, Graduate Seminars on Women Writers and the American Novel (Women in Print; Willa Cather; the Novel in the Early Republic)

Professional Activities

  • Coordinator of Assessment, English Department

Selected publications


  • American Women Authors and Literary Property, 1822-1869. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005 (pbk 2010) (chapters on Catharine Sedgwick, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Fanny Fern, Augusta Jane Evans, and Mary Virginia Terhune).
  • With Ellen Foster, co-editor Clarence; or, a Tale of Our Times (1830) by Catharine Maria Sedgwick. Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 2011. Honorable Mention, Society for the Study of American Women Writers Edition Award, 2012.
  • With Guy Reynolds, co-editor Willa Cather and Modern Cultures. Cather Studies 9. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2011. Introduction available at
  • With Pamela T. Washington, co-editor, E.D.E.N. Southworth: Recovering a Nineteenth-Century Popular Novelist. U of Tennessee P, December 2012. Introduction available at

Digital Projects


  • “Willa Cather, Sarah Orne Jewett, and the Historiography of Lesbian Sexuality,” forthcoming in Willa Cather and the Nineteenth Century (Cather Studies 10). Forthcoming 2015.
  • "American Novelist Catharine Sedgwick Negotiates British Copyright, 1822-1857," Yearbook of English Studies, topic: Book History and Literature, editors Stephen Colclough and Sandro Jung. Forthcoming 2015.
  • With Terry Heller, "'The Other One': An Unpublished Chapter of Sarah Orne Jewett's Country of the Pointed Firs," J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 2.2 (2014): 133-167. Edition of manuscript accompanied by substantial essay.
  •  “Willa Cather, Edith Lewis, and Collaboration: The Southwestern Novels of the 1920s and Beyond.” Studies in the Novel 45.3 (2013): 408-431.
  • “From Periodical to Book in her Early Career: E. D. E. N. Southworth’s Letters to Abraham Hart.” Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 29.1 (2012): 115-47. Available at
  • “The Shape of Catharine Sedgwick’s Career.” Cambridge History of American Women’s Literature. Ed. Dale Bauer. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2012. 185-203.
  • “Edith Lewis as Editor: Every Week Magazine and the Contexts of Cather’s Fiction.” Willa Cather: A Writer’s Worlds. Cather Studies 8. Ed Robert Thacker and John Murphy. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2010. 325-52. Available at
  • With Camryn Hansen, "Susanna Rowson’s Transatlantic Career.”Early American Literature 45.3 (2010): 619-54. Available at
  • “Did a Woman Writer the Great American Novel?: Judging Women’s Fiction in the Nineteenth Century and Today” (review essay of Elaine Showalter’s A Jury of Her Peers). Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 29.2 (2010): 447-57. Available at
  • “Middlebrow Readers and Pioneer Heroines: Willa Cather’s My Antonia, Bess Streeter Aldrich’s A Lantern in Her Hand, and the Popular Fiction Market.” Crisscrossing Borders in the Literature of the American West. Ed. Reginald Dyck and Cheli Reutter. New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, 2009. 75-94. available at
  • With Anne L. Kaufman. "Nebraska, New England, New York: Mapping the Foreground of Willa Cather and Edith Lewis’s Creative Partnership." Western American Literature 43.1 (2008): 41-69. available at
  • “The Beginnings of the American Novel.” Oxford Handbook of Early American Literature, ed. Kevin J. Hayes. New York: Oxford UP, 2008. 527-46. available at
  • "The Publishing History of Augusta Jane Evans's Confederate Novel Macaria: Unwriting Some Lost Cause Myths." Mississippi Quarterly: The Journal of Southern Cultures  28.3-4 (2005): 665-702. available at
  • "When I Can Read My Title Clear: Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Stowe v. Thomas Copyright Infringement Case." Prospects: An Annual of American Cultural Studies 27 (2002): 201-45. available at (a revised and expanded version appears my book)
  •  “Behind the Veil: Sedgwick and Anonymous Publication.” Catharine Maria Sedgwick: Critical Perspectives. Ed. Lucinda L. Damon-Bach and Victoria Clements. Boston: Northeastern UP, 2002. 19−35. Available at
  • "'Every Body Sees the Theft': Fanny Fern and Literary Proprietorship in Antebellum America." New England Quarterly 74 (2001): 210-37. available at (a revised and expanded version appears in my book)
  • “‘Links of Similitude’: The Narrator of The Country of the Pointed Firs and Author-Reader Relations at the End of the Nineteenth Century. Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. Ed. Karen L. Kilcup and Thomas S. Edwards. Gainesville: UP of Florida, 1999. 76-98. available at

Introductions and Bibliographies

  • Introduction, The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather. New York: Signet Classics, 2007.  Available at
  • Lucinda L. Damon-Bach, Allison J. Roepsch, and Melissa J. Homestead. “Chronological Bibliography of the Works of Catharine Maria Sedgwick.” Catharine Maria Sedgwick: Critical Perspectives. Ed. Lucinda L. Damon-Bach and Victoria Clements. Boston: Northeastern UP, 2002. 295-313. Available at
  • Melissa J. Homestead and Vicki L. Martin. “Chronological Bibliography of E.D.E.N. Southworth’s Works Privileging Periodical Publication.” E.D.E.N. Southworth: Recovering a Nineteenth-Century Popular Novelist. Melissa J. Homestead and Pamela T. Washington, eds. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 2012. 285-306. Available at
Melissa J. Homestead Photo

Melissa J. Homestead
336B Andrews Hall
Lincoln, NE 68588-0333
(402)472-0323 (office)