Graduate Salon: Rebecca Rosen and Roy Scranton

Thu, Feb 16, 2012, 12:00 pm
Speaker(s): 

Rebecca Rosen

Rebecca Rosen’s research on women's commonplace books and scribal canon formation began in Philadelphia and continued this past summer during her research in the Boston area, with the majority of her research taking place at the Houghton Library, the Massachusetts Historical Society and the American Antiquarian Society. There she conducted a comparison between colonial and 18th-century Boston and Philadelphia sources in order to better understand how women’s manuscript writing practices evolved in the early Republic across geographic and religious lines. During research, two separate projects evolved: one which looks at women’s commonplace books in the two cities as serving different but overlapping literary purposes, and another on the development of early American autobiography as a process of individual and collective writing. The wealth of material in these archives — starting with commonplace books, but including documents such as land grants, records of sermons delivered and census counts in Puritan and Native American communities — shows the elaboration of local canons and values, as well as the collective illustration of a community’s members, from the copied passage to the list as life writing.

Roy Scranton

Roy Scranton’s research on Harry Mathews and his connections to both the New York School poets and the Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle has developed into multiple projects. The main project resulting from his research, “Dear Moon Governor,” will be an edited volume of the selected letters between John Ashbery and Harry Mathews, including an introductory essay discussing Mathews’s friendship with Ashbery, his role in the so-called New York School, and the transatlantic coteries in which they moved. The second project, “Talking With Harry,” will be to document and edit the long interview Roy conducted with Mathews this summer in Grenoble on his career, work, life, and coterie. In addition, Roy’s research at the Houghton Library at Harvard, at the Annenberg Library at the University of Pennsylvania, and in conversation with Mathews himself, thanks to the gracious support of a Summer Research Prize, has fed and will feed into other work on postwar American literature.