Every week in 2018, Ivy Schweitzer and her team of students at Dartmouth College select several poems and letters written by Emily Dickinson in 1862, a year of creativity “at the White Heat,” and then frame them with a summary of the news of the time, literary culture, biographical events in the Dickinson circle, a brief survey of more recent critical responses and a personal reflection. This episode explores the “White Heat” blog, where the goal is to create immersive contexts in which to read this notoriously difficult writer and to counter the mythology that Dickinson was isolated and sui generis. In fact, this was the year Dickinson “came out as a poet” to the famous literary figure, Thomas Higginson. Members of the team, including Schweitzer, Victoria Corwin, a senior undergraduate, and Joe Waring, a recent graduate, talk with Michael Amico (Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development) about their experiences blogging Dickinson in what the team regards as an experiment in public humanities and a model for doing scholarship and experiential learning in the digital age. This episode was produced by Michael Amico and Conrad Winslow. Post-production help from Doug Guerra.
The new issue of J19 is hot off the presses! Starting with the cover image of the 1833 Leonid meteor shower, J19 editors Elizabeth Duquette and Stacey Margolis share their process, advice, and what makes them excited about the ideas and conversations in this issue. Hear teasers about the articles that critically engage crows, notebooks, juvenile delinquents, comets, sin, and Indigenous newspapers. Features include the forum on theatre via keywords, a Pleasure Reading piece on teaching in a maximum security prison, and letters that help to build a sense of scholarly community.
Submit not only your research but also your letters about anything in previous J19 issues and your personal Pleasure Reading essays!
Essays by Jamie Bolker, Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Zach Marshall, Laura Soderberg, Kathryn Walkiewicz, David Zimmerman
Pleasure Reading by Gale Temple
Letters by Holly Jackson, Sarah E. Chinn
Forum edited by Matthew Rebhorn featuring Heather Nathans, Douglas A. Jones Jr, Amy E. Hughes, Joseph Roach.
May Alcott Nieriker is mostly remembered as a footnote in a famous family: the daughter of Bronson Alcott and the inspiration for Amy March in her sister Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. But Alcott Nieriker was a writer and an accomplished painter who studied in Paris and was described by John Ruskin as “the only artist worthy to copy Turner.” This episode emerges from the the conference “Recovering May Alcott Nieriker’s Life and Works,” which was held at the Université Paris Diderot on June 28, 2018. What work can be done through research, teaching, and even historical fiction to bring her to the fore? Here Azelina Flint (University of East Anglia) and her students Poppy Henson and Emelia Platt introduce listeners to May Alcott Nieriker and interview novelist Elise Hooper, author of The Other Alcott (2017), Marlowe Daly-Galeano (Lewis Clark State College), Lauren Hehmeyer (Texarkana College), and John Matteson (John Jay College, CUNY). This episode was created by Flint and produced by Chris Timms (Essex University) with post-production help from Mark Sussman.
In February 2018, Mark H., then a Columbia MFA Directing Candidate, presented his production of William Wells Brown’s 1858 play, The Escape; or a Leap for Freedom to a full house at the Lenfest Center for the Arts in Harlem. In this episode of the podcast Brigitte Fielder and Jonathan Senchyne (University of Wisconsin-Madison) talk to Mark H. about being only the second director to stage this 150-year old play. Their conversation includes discussion of attitudes toward melodrama and, significantly, of some of the decisions involved when presenting nineteenth-century depictions of anti-black violence to a contemporary audience. Post-production help from Melissa Gniadek.
How does looking back to a time before institutionalization and medicalization affect how we think about disability today? What would it mean to "crip" the classics? These are some of the questions answered by Professors Benjamin Reiss (Emory University), Ellen Samuels (UW Madison) and Sari Altschuler (Northeastern University) as they speak with Ittai Orr (Yale University) about the study of what Reiss calls the "disability cultures" of the 19th century. Making the case that such cultures deeply influenced what we now think of as mainstream American history and literature, they share their exciting research on Emerson, Thoreau and Fuller's ethics of care, the afterlives of nineteenth-century freakshows on the internet, and the impact of raised type and blind education on The Scarlet Letter, and they identify exciting new areas of study yet to be fully explored. This episode was produced by Ittai Orr with major support from Christine "Xine" Yao, Kristie Schlauraff, and Dan Kubis of the University of Pittsburgh Humanities Center.
The N-word is here to stay, and so are debates about it. However, scholars and teachers don’t need the word to disappear so much as they need to be more deliberate and intellectually rigorous in handling it. In this episode, Koritha Mitchell (Ohio State University) suggests that students and faculty members should not be subjected to hate speech in the classroom just because it appears in the texts we study.The N-word is here to stay, and so are debates about it. However, scholars and teachers don’t need the word to disappear so much as they need to be more deliberate and intellectually rigorous in handling it. In this episode, Koritha Mitchell (Ohio State University) suggests that students and faculty members should not be subjected to hate speech in the classroom just because it appears in the texts we study.
This podcast explores the Spanish-language dedication poems of nineteenth-century Latinas who exchanged verses in and across the borders of the United States. These verses stage conversations that tease out definitions of femininity and creative expression between women in the public space of the Spanish-language press, and thus before an audience of silent, male interlocutors. Sarah Skillen discusses the Cuban poet Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda and her 1846 poem “Contestando a otro de una señorita” [“Ballad Answering Another by a Young Lady”]. She and Vanessa Ovalle Perez then turn to an exchange of dedicatorias between the Panamanian poet Amelia Denis and San Francisco poet Carlota Gutierrez, which was printed from 1875 through 1876 in San Salvador and Los Angeles. Of particular interest is how these women participated in a growing, transnational network of poetisas writing to and for one other.
This podcast also includes readings of these nineteenth-century dedicatorias in Spanish and in translation, performed respectively by the contemporary poets Liana Bravo, Lucy Cristina Chau, and Vanessa Angélica Villarreal. These readings are mobilized as a collaboration and performative dialogue between Latinas of past and present and between languages, Spanish and English. Episode produced by Vanessa Ovalle Perez, Sarah Skillen, Christine “Xine” Yao, and Matthew Teutsch.
During the rapid rise of psychiatric institutions in the nineteenth century a doctor’s testimony and the signature of a husband, friend, or community leader was enough to institutionalize a woman. This episode explores the intake narratives of two patients-turned-advocates, Elizabeth Packard and Lydia Smith, along with intake paperwork from the Dixmont Hospital for the Insane in Pittsburgh in order to probe issues around patient agency, class-based medical treatment, and women’s rights in marriage. These little-known narratives and archival materials reveal important histories of medicine in the United States. Created by Liana Kathleen Glew. Post-production help from Melissa Gniadek.
Transcript accessible here.
Image: Frontispiece featuring Cuban poet Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga, 1844