Research & Writing In Progress
In progress - Love the Jackalope: Insecurity in Contemporary English Literature from David Foster
Wallace to Ali Smith. In discussion with Bloomsbury Press, David Foster Wallace Series.
This project, Love the Jackalope: Insecurity in Contemporary English Literature from David Foster Wallace
to Ali Smith
, begins with Wallace and examines transatlantic authors who problematize the power and
politics of community through their depictions of love. Love the Jackalope has two linked investigations.
Initially, as foundational to my argument, I reconcile the current critical positions on the trajectory of
the Wallace oeuvre (Boswell’s two-stage and Hayes-Brady’s continuous stage). Second, but as the major architecture
of the project, I take up the nature of love in our contemporary world of insecurity. Beginning with an
extended chapter on Wallace (a version of which is in College Literature
October 2018), I
engage Wallace’s pervasive probing of the problem of love, and his own attempt to make sincerity therapeutic
to an investigation of human flourishing, as a framework at heart similar to the aesthetic projects of eight
other contemporary authors since Wallace. I show that rampant insecurity and the failure of locus amoenus
at the public level (at the core of current issues regarding the wealth gap, immigration, isolationism, Brexit, etc.) cannot
be separated from our understanding of love at the private level. This conception Wallace engaged across
; yet where, for Wallace, sincerity systematically failed to bridge the
gap between skepticism and the fantasy of romance novels, contemporary novelists have not fared better trying
to show a place where love is at home. I conclude that the confused or decayed pictures of love and the unattainability
or unsustainability of love in these aesthetic works correlate to societal indifference and manifest an increasingly
global anxiety of displacement, a recognition of which Wallace was at the forefront.
In progress - Blindsighted: Alienation and Affirmation in T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Target presses
Spring 2019: Ohio State UP, Classical Memories, Modern Identities Series; U of Alabama P, Atlantic
Based on my dissertation, BlindSighted: Alienation and Affirmation in T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound
is an attentive reading in Transatlantic poets Eliot’s and Pound’s oeuvres, with a focus on environmental
ethics and love in their aesthetic exploration of the human condition. Eliot and Pound mime the exclusivity
and inclusivity of human relationships. I identify environmental aspects related to various types of love
(or its absence) in their work from nostalgia for the green world to rejection of sentiment in the urban,
from the micro-regionalism of specific past and present geographies to the transnationalism of past and present
literary appropriations. I argue that Pound privileges the natural and bodily, ultimately affirming the primary
shared reality of human experience in environment. Privileging the supra-natural, Eliot understands human
reality as alternately affirming and alienating environmental experience. Ultimately, Four Quartets
and The Cantos
emerge tangentially as early forms of cosmopoetics, art which—like love itself—resists
the restrictions of temporo-spatial and cultural borders. This research was funded by grants from The University
of Texas at Dallas and Southern Methodist University. I am first author on a chapter of eco-criticism on
Pound in Readings in the Cantos
, Volume 1 (2017) and sole author of another in Volume 2 (2019). I
am presenting the essay below, “Every day (Everyday) Nettles in ‘Little Gidding III’” at the 2018 Eliot Society
conference in September. I have presented this work at conferences for the Modern Language Association, the
American Language Association, the Congress on Medieval Studies, the Eliot Society and the 2018 ALA.
In progress - “Every day (Everyday) Nettles: ‘Little Gidding III’.” Target presses: Modernism/modernity
and The Space Between.
In progress - “Remains to Be Seen: T. S. Eliot’s “Burnt Norton” as Ecopoetics”
In progress - “Cantos LXIV-LXVI: “Geopolitics, Ecopoetics, and the Southern Agrarians in Pound’s Adams Cantos,” Readings
in The Cantos, Vol. 2, Richard Parker, Editor. Clemson UP and concurrently, Liverpool UP, Fall 2019.