ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT

The UCSB English Department is unique for its collaborative research initiatives. While offering a full range of literary historical periods, national and global literatures written in English, and critical approaches, the department has eight centers that cut across traditional boundaries to allow faculty and students to collaborate on leading-edge research activities and courses.  (Read more ...)

Faculty Bookshelf

Staying Alive: A Survival Manual for the Liberal Arts

Staying Alive: A Survival Manual for the Liberal Arts fiercely defends the liberal arts in and from an age of neoliberal capital and techno-corporatization run amok, arguing that the public university’s purpose is not vocational training, but rather the cultivation of what Fradenburg calls “artfulness,” including the art of making knowledge. 

Real Mysteries

/Real Mysteries: Narrative and the Unknowable/ revisits the ancient
theme of what we cannot know about ourselves and others. But it does so
with a shift in focus from the representation of this theme to the ways
narrative can be manipulated to immerse the willing reader in the...

The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative

Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition, 2008

Republication by the University of Peking Press, 2007

Serbian language edition (Sluzbeni Glasnik, 2009)

Korean edition (Moonji, 2010)

Diary Fiction: Writing as Action

H. Porter Abbott explores the role of the personal diary and its use as a literary strategy in a number of representative works in fiction. He asserts that the device of the diary can give a work a unique literary reflexivity: the diary not only tells the tale but directly influences its...

Ordinary Pleasures: Couples, Conversation, and Comedy

Ordinary Pleasures offers a new theory of narrative in its uncovering of how conversations and comic exchanges between lovers in stories create an intimacy and happiness of the everyday.  Drawing on philosophy, sociolinguistics and theories of comedy and reading an...

Ballads and Broadsides in Britain, 1500-1800

Bringing together diverse scholars to represent the full historical breadth of the early modern period, and a wide range of disciplines (literature, women's studies, folklore, ethnomusicology, art history, media studies, the history of science, and history), Ballads and Broadsides in Britain, 1500-1800 offers an unprecedented perspective on the development and cultural practice of popular...

A Forward Glance: New Essays on Edith Wharton

This collection focuses on questions of biography, autobiography and aesthetics in Wharton's works, with particular attention to gender, race and class. The volume high-lights previously unpublished manuscripts and letters - notably, an unfinished short story in Italian and Wharton's correspondence with her niece Beatrix Farrand.

Vox intexta: Orality and Textuality in the Middle Ages

Brings together interrelated essays on aspects of oral production and reception in Western European medieval contexts from modern and post-structuralist perspectives. The contributors discusss the physical, social and semiotic qualities of medieval oralism, exploring a range of issues.

The Textuality of Old English Poetry

The modern reader knows Old English poetry as a discrete number of poems, set up and printed in units punctuated as modern sentences, and with titles inserted by modern editors. Carol Braun Pasternack constructs a reading of the poetry that takes into account the format of the verse as it exists in the manuscripts. In a detailed analysis, which takes up issues current in poststructuralist...

Gender and Difference in the Middle Ages

Exposes complex intersections between genders and other identities in medieval cultures.

Nothing less than a rethinking of what we mean when we talk about "men" and "women" of the medieval period, this volume demonstrates how the idea of gender-in the Middle Ages no less than now-intersected in subtle and complex ways with other categories of difference. Responding to the insights of...

The Idolatrous Eye: Iconoclasm and Theater in Early Modern England

This study argues that the century after the Reformation saw a crisis in the way that Europeans expressed their religious experience. Focusing specifically on how this crisis affected the drama of England, O'Connell shows that Reformation culture was preoccupied with idolatry and that the theater was frequently attacked as idolatrous. This anti-theatricalism notably targeted the traditional...

After Political Correctness: The Humanities and Society in the 1990s

This book resituates the political correctness debates in the humanities branch of the academy. Contending that conservatives have tainted entire academic disciplines, causing university humanists to go from irrelevant to dangerous overnight, the contributors see the PC debates as a struggle over the very purposes of higher education in the United States. Ronald Strickland and Christopher...

Mapping Multiculturalism

What is multiculturalism? The word is used everywhere, often without being clearly defined. The first collection of this scope, Mapping Multiculturalism offers cogent critiques of the term and its uses by leading scholars in sociology, history, literary criticism, popular culture studies, ethnic studies, and critical legal studies. The contributors look at current uses of the rubric “...

The Emerson Effect: Individualism and Submission in America

This book presents a revisionist account of Ralph Waldo Emerson's influential thought on individualism, in particular his political psychology.

Christopher Newfield analyzes the interplay of liberal and authoritarian impulses in Emerson's work in various domains: domestic life, the changing New England economy, theories of poetic language, homoerotic friendship, and racial...

Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class

An essential American dream—equal access to higher education—was becoming a reality with the GI Bill and civil rights movements after World War II. But this vital American promise has been broken. Christopher Newfield argues that the financial and political crises of public universities are not the result of economic downturns or of ultimately valuable restructuring, but of a conservative...

Whitman Possessed: Poetry, Sexuality, and Popular Authority

Whitman has long been more than a celebrated American author. He has become a kind of hero, whose poetry vindicates beliefs not only about poetry but also about sexuality and power. In Whitman Possessed: Poetry, Sexuality, and Popular Authority, Mark Maslan presents a challenging theory of Whitman's poetics of possession and his understandings of individual and national identity. By reading...

The Surprising Effects of Sympathy: Marivaux, Diderot, Rousseau, and Mary Shelley

Through readings of works by Marivaux, Diderot, Rousseau, and Mary Shelley, David Marshall provides a new interpretation of the eighteenth-century preoccupation with theatricality and sympathy. Sympathy is seen not as an instance of sensibility or natural benevolence but rather as an aesthetic and epistemological problem that must be understood in relation to the problem of theatricality....

The Frame of Art: Fictions of Aesthetic Experience, 1750-1815

Aesthetic experience was problematic for Enlightenment authors. Arguing against the commonly held view that aesthetics in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was defined by the professionalization of criticism and the disinterested contemplation and evaluation of the work of art in isolation, David Marshall seeks to understand how and why aesthetic experience in fact often generated...

Monsoon History: Selected Poems

Lim's poetry displays a unique sense of place and time. Her belief in the acceptance of cultural multiplicity is reflected in work that evokes her Malaysian childhood and family but which also casts a coolly observant eye over America, where she now...

Two Dreams: New and Selected Stories
The stories of Shirley Geok-lin Lim reflect the complex mosaic of her world. As their setting shifts from the tradition-bound terrain of Malaysia to the liberating but confusing territory of the United States, Lim's stories capture the poignant and perplexing experience of immigrant women, who, torn between two cultures, must build their own values and...
What the Fortune Teller Didn't Say

Written over the last decade, these poems include memories of the authors early childhood in Malaysia, immigration to America, and travel throughout the world, and affirmations of motherhood and maturity in the New World. From her background as a Malaysian Chinese later assimilated into Western culture, she has emerged with her own voice, combining bittersweet laughter and realistic...

The Forbidden Stitch: An Asian American Women's Anthology

Winner of the American Book Award, this book represents, as Mayumi Tsutakawa puts it in the introduction, “a fine diversity of Asian American women who may claim their native soil in Oakland or Tucson or Manila or New Delhi. These writers and artists, many of them young or publishing...

Approaches to Teaching Kingston's The Woman Warrior

Teaching The Woman Warrior can be a challenging project for instructors who are unfamiliar with the work's cultural and historical traditions. As the volume editor, Shirley Geok-lin Lim, explains in her preface, one of the goals of Approaches to Teaching Kingston's The Woman Warrior is "to introduce teachers and students to the larger body of Asian American and ethnic literature...

One World of Literature

One World of Literature addresses students' concerns about social relevance in their reading, and their growing interest in the literature of other cultures. This provocative anthology brings together fiction, poetry, and drama by twentieth-century authors from around the world.

Reading the Literatures of Asian America

With the recent proliferation of critically acclaimed literature by Asian American writers, this groundbreaking collection of essays provides a unique resource for students, scholars, and the general reading public. The homogeneity implied by the term "Asian American" is replaced in this volume with the rich diversity of highly disparate peoples. Languages, religions, races and cultural and...

Transnational Asia Pacific: Gender, Culture, and the Public Sphere

This timely collection provides a critical transnational perspective on some of the complex cultural effects of emerging global capitalisms and modernities in the Asia Pacific region. Geographically, this vast territory encompasses Japan, the newly industrialized states of East Asia and China, the Southeast Asian countries, Australia, New Zealand, the South Sea Islands, and the Pacific coast...

Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Writing

This anthology of American writers originally from Southeast Asia (Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaya, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam) includes poems and short stories by 41 "emerging" writers in English. The anthology has been divided into themes such as "Family," "Eating," "The Different Past," and "Returnings." Some of the writers are already well known (editor Lim, Marianne...

Power, Race, and Gender in Academe: Strangers in the Tower?

The civil rights movement of the 1960s and the affirmative action programs enacted in the 1970s held great promise for people of color, women, and gays and lesbians seeking careers in higher education. Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, what is the status of these traditionally underrepresented groups in English and foreign language departments across the United States? The...

Among the White Moon Faces: An Asian-American Memoir of Homelands

"The first time I heard Shakespeare quoted, it was as a joke," writes poet and Asian American scholar Shirley Geok-Lin Lim in the introduction to her American Book Award-winning memoir, Among the White Moon Faces. Before she'd ever read the play, Lim took the word "Romeo"--as spoken by Malaysians--to mean a sort of "male effect," a sexualized, Westernized code word for "the kind of...

Manifest and Other Destinies: Territorial Fictions of the Nineteenth Century United States
Manifest and Other Destinies critiques Manifest Destiny’s exclusive claim as an explanatory national story in order to rethink the meaning and boundaries of the West and of the United States’ national identity. Stephanie LeMenager considers the American West before it became a trusted symbol of U.S. national character or a distinct literary region in the later nineteenth century, back...
The Incarnate Text: Imagining the Book in Reformation England

In the course of the Reformation, artistic representation famously came under attack. Statues were destroyed, music and theater were forbidden, and poetry was denounced, all in the name of eradicating superstition and idolatry. The iconoclastic impulse that sparked these attacks, however, proved remarkably productive, generating a profusion of theological, polemical, and literary writing from...

Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and his Rendezvous with American History

Charlie Chan promises to be a landmark work in twentieth-century American racial history. Chronicling the fraught narrative of one of Hollywood's most enduring cinematic detectives, English scholar Yunte Huang uncovers the untold story of the real "Charlie Chan," a bullwhip-wielding, five-foot Chinese-American detective whose raids on opium dens and gambling parlors transformed him...

Shi: A Radical Reading of Chinese Poetry

This book is not an attempt to grasp the "essence" of Chinese poetry, nor is it an endeavor to produce an over-polished version of English that claims aesthetic superiority over other works in the same field. It grapples rather with the nature of translation and poetry, and explores poetic issues from the perspective of translation and translation issues from the perspective of poetry. With...

Transpacific Displacement: Ethnography, Translation, and Intertextual Travel in Twentieth-Century American Literature

Yunte Huang takes a most original "ethnographic" approach to more and less well-known American texts as he traces what he calls the transpacific displacement of cultural meanings through twentieth-century America's imaging of Asia.

Informed by the politics of linguistic appropriation and disappropriation, Transpacific Displacement opens with a radically new reading of...

Cribs

Cribs is a discrete sequence of poems probing into the manifolds of the book's title word: "crib" as a small child's bed, as literal translation, as plagiarism, as a summary or key to understanding a literary work, as a manger for feeding animals, as confinement, as home, as a memory aid for illegal immigrants, and so on. Speaking in a forked/chopsticked tongue,...

Transpacific Imaginations: History, Literature, Counterpoetics
Renaissance Ecology: Imagining Eden in Milton's England

These essays consider how writers and artists such as John Milton imagined, by way of Eden, a future where human beings would live in greater peace with the natural world. This impressive collection, which includes contributions by such eminent scholars as Barbara Lewalski and Diane McColley, takes an exciting, new, 'green' approach to representations of Eden, while also considering the role...

Rethinking the Borderlands: Between Chicano Narrative and Legal Discourse

Challenging the long-cherished notion of legal objectivity in the United States, Carl Gutirrez-Jones argues that Chicano history has been consistently shaped by racially biased, combative legal interactions. Rethinking the Borderlands is an insightful and provocative exploration of the ways Chicano and Chicana artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers engage this history in order to resist...

Critical Race Narratives: A Study of Race, Rhetoric and Injury

The beating of Rodney King, the killing of Amadou Diallo, and the LAPD Rampart Scandal: these events have been interpreted by the courts, the media and the public in dramatically conflicting ways. Critical Race Narratives examines what is at stake in these conflicts and, in so doing, rethinks racial strife in the United States as a highly-charged struggle over different methods of reading and...

Thinking Across the American Grain: Ideology, Intellect, and the New Pragmatism

In Thinking Across the American Grain Giles Gunn makes a
major contribution to the current revival of pragmatism in
America by showing how it provides the most critically
resilient and constructive response to the intellectual
challenges of postmodernism.

Gunn reclaims and refurbishes elements of the pragmatic
tradition that either have...

Beyond Solidarity: Pragmatism and Difference in a Globalized World
Beyond Solidarity is an impassioned argument for a sharable morality in a world increasingly fractured along lines of difference. Giles Gunn asks how human solidarity can be reconceived when its expressions have become increasingly exceptionalist and outmoded, and when the pressures of globalization divide as much as they unify.
 
...
Interventions: Feminist dialogues on Third World Women's Literature and Film

The editors are committed to destroying perceptions and stereotypes of third world women as passive victims who need to be "liberated" by Western feminists. The essays address cases in which women have challenged and resisted the political formations-nationalist struggles, revolutions, religious fundamentalist practices, and authoritarian regimes-that shape their daily lives. Each critic...

When Borne Across: The Literary Cosmopolitics of the Contemporary Indian Novel

India’s 1997 celebration of the Golden Jubilee marked fifty years of independence from British colonial rule. This anniversary is the impetus for Bishnupriya Ghosh’s exploration of the English language icons of South Asian postcolonial literature: Salman Rushdie, Vikram Chandra, Amitav Ghosh, Upamanyu Chatterjee, and Arundhati Roy. These authors, grouped together as South Asian cosmopolitical...

Cultural Aesthetics: Renaissance Literature and the Practice of Social Ornament

A brilliant postmodern critique of Renaissance subjectivity, Cultural Aesthetics explores the simultaneous formation and fragmentation of aristocratic "selfhood" in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Patricia Fumerton situates the self within its sumptuous array of "trivial" arts—including the court literatures of chivalric romance, sonnet, and masque and the arts of...

Renaissance Culture and the Everyday

It was not unusual during the Renaissance for cooks to torture animals before slaughtering them in order to render the meat more tender, for women to use needlepoint to cover up their misconduct and prove their obedience, and for people to cover the walls of their own homes with graffiti.

Items and activities as familiar as mirrors, books, horses, everyday speech, money, laundry...

The Subaltern Ulysses

How might an IRA bomb and James Joyce's Ulysses have anything in common? Could this masterpiece of modernism, written at the violent moment of Ireland's national emergence, actually be the first postcolonial novel? Exploring the relation of Ulysses to the colony in which it is set, and to the nation being born as the book was written, Enda Duffy uncovers a postcolonial modernism...

The Speed Handbook: Velocity, Pleasure, Modernism

Speed, the sensation one gets when driving fast, was described by Aldous Huxley as the single new pleasure invented by modernity. The Speed Handbook is a virtuoso exploration of Huxley’s claim. Enda Duffy shows how the experience of speed has always been political and how it has affected nearly all aspects of modern culture. Primarily a result of the mass-produced automobile, the...

City, Marriage, Tournament: Arts of Rule in Late Medieval Scotland

The “theater of political power” is a familiar phenomenon in the twentieth century, but it is by no means a new one. How was statecraft performed five centuries ago? In City, Marriage, Tournament, Louise Fradenburg shows us the evolution of these arts of rule by examining the reigns of James III and James IV of Scotland, revealing in...

Sacrifice Your Love: Psychoanalysis, Historicism, Chaucer

A long-awaited reevaluation of Chaucer through the lens of sacrifice by a major figure in medieval studies.

Historicism and its discontents have long been central to the work of Louise Fradenburg, one of the world's most original and provocative literary medievalists. Sacrifice Your Love brings this interest to bear on Chaucer's writing and his world, rethought in light of a...

In the Theatre of Romanticism: Coleridge, Nationalism, Women

English Romanticism has long been considered an 'undramatic' and 'anti-theatrical' age, yet Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley and Keats all wrote plays and viewed them as central to England's poetic and political reform. In the Theatre of Romanticism analyses these plays, in the context of London theatre at the time, and argues that Romantic discourse on theatre is crucial to constructions...

England's First Family of Writers: Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, Mary Shelley Julie A. Carlson

Life and literature were inseparable in the daily lives of Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, and Mary Shelley. In England's First Family of Writers, Julie A. Carlson demonstrates how and why the works of these individuals can best be understood within the context of the family unit in which they were created.

The first to consider their writing collectively, Carlson finds...

Literature and Medicine in Nineteenth-Century Britain: From Mary Shelley to George Eliot

Janis Caldwell investigates the links between the growing scientific materialism of the nineteenth century and the persistence of the Romantic literary imagination. Through closely analyzing literary texts from Frankenstein to Middlemarch, and examining fiction alongside biomedical lectures, textbooks and articles, Caldwell argues that the way "Romantic materialism" influenced these...

Cannibalism in High Medieval English Literature

From Beowulf through the literature of the crusades and beyond, cannibals haunt the texts of medieval England. Cannibal Narratives attempts to explain their presence. It explores the relationship between the literary trope of cannibalism and the emergence of national identity in medieval England. If England suffered three centuries of invasion - beginning with...

Local Transcendence: Essays on Postmodern Historicism and the Database

Book of essays on the methodology of the new historicism and other modes of postmodern cultural criticism in the age of the network and the database.

Giving Opportunities

Donate to the English DepartmentNow more than ever, the English Department benefits from unrestricted gifts and major support from our alumni, parents, and friends. Help encourage students, develop new ways of teaching, and advance research for our integrated community.