Melissa J. Homestead

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Smith College, AB (1985)

Magna cum laude with high honors in English

University of Pennsylvania, AM (1987)

University of Pennsylvania, PhD (1998)

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

Graduate Seminars on Women Writers and the American Novel (Women in Print; Willa Cather; the Novel in the Early Republic)

Professional Activities

Member, English Department Graduate Studies Committee

Member, Steering Committee, Program in Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies

Chair, Committee on Prizes and Scholarships, Women’s & Gender Studies Program.

Selected Publications and Projects


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

In Progress

“The Creative Partnership of Willa Cather and Edith Lewis,” book manuscript under contract with Oxford University Press.

Digital Projects

Project Director of a Digital Edition of Every Week Magazine (1915-1918).

Associate Editor, The Complete Letters of Willa Cather, funded by an NEH Scholarly Editions Grant.


“The Composing, Editing, and Publication of Willa Cather’s Obscure Destinies Stories.” Scholarly Editing: The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing 38 (2017):

“Buried in Plain Sight: Unearthing Willa Cather’s Allusion to Thomas William Parsons’ ‘The Sculptor's Funeral’,” Studies in American Fiction 43.2 (2016): 207-229.

“Willa Cather Editing Sarah Orne Jewett.” American Literary Realism 49.1 (2016): 63-89.

“The Transatlantic Village: The Rise and Fall of the Epistolary Friendship of Catharine Maria Sedgwick and Mary Russell Mitford.” Edinburgh Companion to Nineteenth-Century American Letters and Letter-Writing, Eds. Celeste-Marie Bernier, Judie Newman and Matthew Pethers. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2016. 538-553.

“American Novelist Catharine Sedgwick Negotiates British Copyright, 1822-57,” Yearbook of English Studies, 45 (2015): 196-215. Topic: Book History and Literature, ed. Stephen Colclough and Sandro Jung.

“Willa Cather, Sarah Orne Jewett, and the Historiography of Lesbian Sexuality.” Willa Cather and the Nineteenth Century (Cather Studies 10). Ed. Anne L. Kaufman and Richard H. Millington. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2015. 3-37.

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.

“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.

“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.

With Camryn Hansen, “Susanna Rowson’s Transatlantic Career.” Early American Literature 45.3 (2010): 619-54.

“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.

“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.

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.\

“The Beginnings of the American Novel.” Oxford Handbook of Early American Literature, ed. Kevin J. Hayes. New York: Oxford UP, 2008. 527-46.

“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.

“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. (a revised and expanded version appears in 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.

“‘Every Body Sees the Theft’: Fanny Fern and Literary Proprietorship in Antebellum America.” New England Quarterly 74 (2001): 210-37. (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.

Introductions and Bibliographies

Introduction, The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather. New York: Signet Classics, 2007.

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.

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.