Monthly Archives: March 2007

“Pulled Veal” and Other Delights: Atlanta, 2007

When it arrived at my table, I knew that I had been warned, but not for this.  “It’s pulled veal, sir,” the waiter had said.  “It doesn’t come out as a whole breast, obviously.  It takes two days to prepare.”  So there was my veal, sitting on a brown and white puddle of something, a perfectly nice breast of veal shredded and reconstituted into a large crabcake-sized medallion, and deep fried so that it had a crust with just a hint of pistachio green.  Veal has a crust? 

I thought, why not just get the waffle-iron and the confectioner’s sugar, and just finish the job?  High-end, high-concept Belgian waffles, made with something that had once been veal, I believe.  But it does take two whole days to prepare.

So life, like ASECS, does hold its share of surprises.  I had a good conference, and met some very nice folks, and saw some others I hadn’t seen in some time.  My evenings with the folks from the Irish Studies Caucus were particularly delightful, not least because they made me forget the veal I’d been served. 

Any conference highlights that people would like to share?  Any papers or panels that you’d like to memorialize here?  Just let us know.

Best wishes,



CFP: 2008 Meeting of Southeastern ASECS

The Southeastern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies has announced details for the 2008 meeting, entitled “Legacies and Contexts.” Information can be found at 

The conference will be chaired by none other than Paula Backscheider and hosted by

University. Professor Backscheider is accepting proposals until May 1, 2007 for panels, roundtables, symposia, debates or any other type of session related to the eighteenth century.Proposal forms can be found at Backsheider asks that potential speakers and/or organizers send a paragraph or two electronically to or by snail mail to:

Paula Backscheider
English Department
Haley Center
Auburn University, AL

Please include your snail mail and email addresses in your proposal. All participants must be members of SEASECS at the time of the conference.

It would be great to see you all there.

Kamille Stone Stanton

Where did you get that Grandison?

On Tuesday, I was having a chat with David Richter about his upcoming ASECS paper “Postmodern Pastiche: Jane Austen in New York and A Cock and Bull Story,” about films based so loosely on eighteenth-century texts that one would need to have fairly intimate familiarity with those texts to understand what they’re doing in the film. Jane Austen in New York is especially difficult for viewers, as it depicts a theater company putting on a rarely-seen theatrical adaption by Austen of Richardson’s Sir Charles Grandison, a book so out of print that even bad, stained, and incomplete copies of it go for $75 to $2000 online.

This reminded me that Grandison is on my orals list, but I have never actually held a copy of it in my hands.

The only remedy for this problem seems to be saving 50-page PDFs of it from ECCO, which is how I’ve gotten to read many of Johnson’s more rarely reproduced texts. However, I am not above begging.

Does anyone here know of anyone who would part with a Grandison? I am willing to pay something reasonable for it. Email me at carrieshanafelt at gmail if you have a lead for me.

Also, if you get the chance to see Richter’s presentation (Session X), I’d love to hear how it goes!

CFP: Cultural Studies/Eighteenth-Century Studies in the Classroom (MLA ’07)

Laura R. and I are putting together this Special Session Panel for MLA, and still have some open slots for our roundtable.


Cultural Studies/Eighteenth-Century Studies in the Classroom 

How has cultural studies changed teaching of the long (and wide) eighteenth century?  What are the challenges, limits, and institutional stakes of cultural studies for our research and teaching?  What happens when research agendas do not align with curricular programs?

In the last twenty years, the eclectic mix of practices featured in cultural studies has become broadly institutionalized in eighteenth-century studies: in our publications, graduate seminars, and conference presentations, but also in textbooks like the
cultural editions and in course designs that accommodate both theory and “culture.”  Changes of this sort reflect a key assumption about teaching in higher education, which demands that the paradigms that govern our research projects should also determine, if indirectly, the paradigms taught to our students.

And yet cultural studies, to the extent that it has absorbed Marxism, feminism, Foucauldean discourse analysis, and the multicultural critiques and counter-critiques of the literary canon, sits uneasily within an undergraduate curriculum based on concepts, categories, and distinctions that cultural studies has systematically questioned: the distinction between literature and popular culture; conventional periodizations; national boundaries and the nation-state as the fundamental lines of demarcation for literary history; and all the notions of “coverage” that those distinctions entail.What kinds of problems and tensions does this gap produce and/or reveal?  What is the best strategy for addressing them in the classroom, in the curriculum, and in our institutions?While focused on the way we teach eighteenth-century writing in English and foreign language departments, these questions have relevance across a range of traditional fields.  We are envisioning a roundtable discussion of 5-6 participants, with brief papers followed by discussion.  If you are interested in participating, please submit a 1 paragraph proposal with CV by March 29 to David Mazella, at


After Atlanta: Scandal, Print, Performance, and Nation

In February several of us at the University of Maryland blogged about Maxine Berg (and David Hume) on luxury and commodity culture in anticipation and as follow-up to the meeting of our reading group. Several others contributed as well. This time, I am posting the topic and reading in advance to encourage everyone to join us in this discussion.

Scandal, Print, Performance, and Nation

In 1777, Sheridan’s *School for Scandal* became a hit on the London stage.  As a play about print culture, *School for Scandal* stands at the crossroads of two major arguments about the emergence of nationalism at the end of the eighteenth century.  In his classic *Imagined Communities,* Benedict Anderson argues that print capitalism in this period established and disseminated a new sense of national identity.  Challenging this perspective, Joseph Roach has argued for looking to performance as a more capacious medium that allows for an understanding of a wider variety of nationalisms.  The plot of *Scandal* hinges on both inherited Englishness and imperial spoils; on scandal sheets and scandalous performances. Please join us for a discussion of this play and these two major critical paradigms on Monday, April 9, 3:30-5:30, SQH 3109, University of Maryland.

Critical Readings:

1. Joseph Roach’s *Cities of the Dead* (1996): p. 1-31 (intro), Ch 3, and Ch 4
2. Benedict Anderson’s *Imagined Communities* (1991): p. 1-46 (the intro + chs 1-2)

We look forward to your thoughts on this topic. 

Bill Levine’s Review Essay on Gray for ECS (via Project MUSE)

Since Bill is busy writing two presentations and grading three sets of papers, I thought that in the meantime I should post the location of his Gray review essay from Eighteenth-Century Studies 36.3 (2003) 429-436.  Those of you with Project MUSE access should be able to access this:

Best wishes,


historicizing literature, literaricizing history?

Since I’m teaching some 18c novels alongside Roy Porter’s social history this term in my undergrad course, I’m always thinking about ways to teach students the distinct uses of literary and historical evidence in thinking about our period, since both constitute indispensable sources of information about the past.  In my institution, students typically come to my courses without any prior introduction to either the novels or the history that I teach, so I’m always puzzling over the sequencing of contexts and information.  [people might recognize some of these issues from our discussion of MH’s course earlier this year]

Here’s a quote from F.A. Ankersmit’s Introduction to History and Tropology, where he discusses the possibility of reading Zola’s novels, as opposed to the historian Zeldin, to gain a picture of social life in France under Napoleon III:

The cycle [of novels] would require a specific kind of reading: we would have to read the cycle in such a way that the relevant knowledge could be deduced from the cycle–whereas it is the pretension of history books to present their readers with that kind of knowledge in a straightforward way.  The difference is analogous to that between the clue for a word in a crossword puzzle (the novel) and the intended word itself (history).  And naturally this difference must have its consequences for the narrative organization of either novel or historical text (5-6).

And, I would add, consequences for the narrative organization of a course in the novel.