Department of English Newsletter June 2021

Upcoming Department Events

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Publications & Acceptances

Melissa Homestead’s essay, “What Was Boston Marriage? Sarah Orne Jewett and Biography,” appeared in a forum on “Rethinking Biography and Evidence” in the spring issue of J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists. Also, Melissa’s essay on “Willa Cather's Letters in the Archive” appeared in the spring issue of Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, a special issue on the topic of “Women and Archives.”

Cover of SENSING WILLA CATHERGuy Reynolds is pleased to announce the publication of Sensing Willa Cather: the Writer and the Body in Transition (Edinburgh University Press). The book examines Cather’s works, from her beginnings as a student reviewer and journalist in the 1890s through to her last novel, Sapphira and the Slave Girl, all refracted via the lens of sensory studies. Chapters deal with sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. The book also has a rather compelling cover, sourced from the Wellcome Collection of medical artifacts in London.

Pascha Sotolongo Stevenson’s short story, “Shoelace, Camisole, Rope,” has been accepted for publication in The Southern Review.

Hope Wabuke published a long-form critical essay on the lack of Black representation in Disney animated media for The Los Angeles Review of Books and two pieces of short form criticism for NPR—one on Notes on Grief, the new memoir by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, and the other on The Devil You Know, a new book of nonfiction by Charles Blow. Hope also has a new poem, “White Teeth,” in the spring issue of Agni Magazine and an essay on teaching during the time of COVID and emboldened racism for Poets & Writers Magazine online.

Jessica Poli has new poems published in Autofocus Lit, Moist Poetry Journal, and Josephine Quarterly.

Ashlyn Stewart and Kenneth M. Price published “Nineteenth-Century American Magazines,” a research guide for Oxford Bibliographies. The article surveys scholarship on nineteenth-century printing and publications, large reference works, and relevant methodologies for the study of periodicals.

Conferences, Readings, Workshops & Presentations

Co-PIs Ken Price and Joy Castro and research assistant Claire Jimenez (working with co-PIs Margaret Huettl, Jeannette Jones, Will Thomas, and the staff of the CDRH) designed and are facilitating the intensive ACLS-funded “New Storytellers: The Research Institute in Digital Ethnic Studies” for 10 weeks this summer (May 24-July 30) for 23 faculty members from minority-serving institutions across the country.

Matt Cohen reports that Charles W. Chesnutt Archive and Walt Whitman Archive team members swarmed the annual meeting of the Society for Textual Scholarship. Bianca Swift (UNL ’21) presented a powerful poem about an editor’s relationship with her historical subject; Ashlyn Stewart participated on a featured roundtable on the state of textual scholarship programs; and Cohen and Ken Price presented on various topics. The Society also elected Cohen as its next president (a post that Price occupied in days of yore), a decision which we can only hope that august body will not come to regret.

Since her April 1 virtual book launch for The Only Wonderful Things: The Creative Partnership of Willa Cather and Edith Lewis, Melissa Homestead has been busy with additional events. She has given book talks sponsored by The History Project, Friends of the Smith College Libraries and the Smith College English Department, and the New York Society Library. She also has talks scheduled in June sponsored by the Lawrence (KS) Public Library and Raven Bookstore, and by the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture at the American Antiquarian Society. She also recorded podcast interviews for The Book Cougars (co-hosted by UNL English M.A. alum Chris Wolak) and Lost Ladies of Lit. Finally, also in June she will be presenting virtually at the Willa Cather Spring Conference on “Fending Off Popular Print Culture: Alfred Knopf and Edith Lewis Manage Willa Cather’s Literary Estate.”

Hope Wabuke was selected as the visiting writer for the William C. Kloefkorn Nebraska Writers Series at Nebraska Wesleyan University this spring.

Activities, Accolades, & Grants

Poster for Flatwater's Twelfth Night performances Photo of kids at a Little But Fierce event

Flatwater Shakespeare Company celebrates twenty years of productions with Twelfth Night, the play that started it all for the ensemble in Wyuka Cemetery back in 2001. Kathryn Cover directs this brisk, seventy-five minute version that is ideal for all ages. Steve Buhler is the dramaturg and text editor. Paid performances in The Swan Theatre (AKA The Stables at Wyuka, 3600 “O” Street) are Thursday through Sunday, June 17-20. Flatwater FREE Shakespeare performances will tour Lincoln area parks the following week and finish at James Arthur Vineyards in Raymond. Tickets and details are available on their website.

Flatwater Shakespeare Company is also continuing its Little But Fierce educational initiative this summer, guided by new Education Director Ashley Kobza. The programs are offered free of charge. FSC Resident Scholar Steve Buhler is a Teaching Artist for the initiative. July classes are available for Grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-9.

Melissa Homestead has been appointed to a three-year term as a member of the editorial board of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature.

Ken Price reports that the Matt Cohen-Nicole Gray household is awash in awards. To honor the breakthrough work on the Walt Whitman Archive’s Variorum of Leaves of Grass (1855), Nicole Gray and her collaborators have been awarded the Finneran Prize from the Society of Textual Scholarship (STS) given in recognition of the best edition or book about editorial theory and/or practice published in the English language during the two calendar years since the previous award. This is the first time STS has given this award to a digital edition or archive. At the STS conference Cohen was award the David Greetham prize for the best essay in Textual Cultures.

Timothy Schaffert’s novel The Perfume Thief (to be released Aug 3) was noted by Oprah Daily as “an exhilarating tale... a pulse-pounding thriller and a sensuous experience you’ll want to savor.” CrimeReads included the novel in its list of “Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2021” and called it “elegant and elegiac ... This is the queer spy novel about WWII Paris that I never knew I needed and now could not possibly consider living without.”

Adrian S. Wisnicki, as PI, received a UNL Arts & Humanities Research Enhancement Program Grant ($15,000) to fund a project called “Recovering BIPOC Voices from the Victorian Periodical Press.” The grant will support a one-year initiative related to his One More Voice project. Additionally, as co-PI, he received a Humanities Without Walls Seed Grant ($4000) from Purdue University to fund a project called “Recovering BIPOC Voices.” The grant will support activities related to submitting a full HWW grant focused on his One More Voice, Undisciplining the Victorian Classroom, and COVE projects.

Have news or noteworthy happenings to share?

The Department of English encourages our faculty and current students to submit stories about their activities and publications of note by filling out the Department Newsletter Submission Form.