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Early and 19th-Century American Literature

Phyllis Wheatley

Beginning with Leslie Fiedler’s groundbreaking Love and Death in the American Novel, UB’s English Department has had a long history of innovative work in nineteenth-century American literary studies. From Wittgenstein and Emerson to Civil War studies, Jamesian pragmatism and Emily Dickinson, this legacy is eclectic, original, and difficult to pigeon-hole.

Our program encourages scholarship and teaching that defy disciplinary boundaries by incorporating history, visual studies, critical theory and philosophy, and by bringing together faculty and students from English, History, American Studies, Global Gender Studies, Visual Studies, and African-American Studies in one lively community. Our graduate seminars invite exploration of the philosophical dimensions of American literature, transcontinental perspectives, Southern literature, textual studies, popular culture, theories of gender and race, and literature in its political contexts. In addition to frequent speakers in the field, the department sponsors a Graduate Americanist Group and is home to The Emily Dickinson Journal.

Beyond the department, UB’s superb Poetry Collection makes possible original research on American manuscripts and periodicals, and the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library’s Grosvenor collection, an outstanding collection from the nineteenth century, features a wide range of materials, including popular books that frequently fall below the radar of academic libraries. The city of Buffalo and the surrounding region are rich in nineteenth century art, architecture, parks and historical sites.