Literary invention in the age of disorder

Literary invention in the age of disorder

In a new book, Wolfram Schmidgen, professor of English, explains how the excitement and anxiety about a disordered world affected literary invention in 18th-century England. “Infinite Variety: Literary Invention, Theology, and the Disorder of Kinds, 1688-1730” combines intellectual history with close analysis of the literary inventions of Richard Blackmore, John Locke, Jonathan Swift, and Daniel Defoe.
Bucking the trend

Bucking the trend

In the wake of the Great Recession, U.S. undergraduate degrees conferred in English language or literature fell roughly a quarter. Yet over the last three years, WashU’s English major has grown by about 30% — reflecting changes to how the department recruits, supports and communicates with undergraduate students.
Tennessee Williams vs. St. Louis

Tennessee Williams vs. St. Louis

Can you ever escape your past? Tennessee Williams spent a lifetime trying. His years in New York, New Orleans and Key West are the stuff of literary legend. But it was St. Louis where Williams lived longest, and St. Louis that shaped him as an artist and a person. So argues Henry I. Schvey in “Blue Song: St. Louis in the Life and Work of Tennessee Williams.”
Author Williams to give in-person reading

Author Williams to give in-person reading

Acclaimed author Joy Williams returns to Washington University on Thursday, Oct. 14, for a special in-person reading from her new novel, “Harrow.”. Afterward, David Schuman in Arts & Sciences and a former student of Williams, will interview the author about her long career.
Dorothy, a publishing project, partners with New York Review of Books

Dorothy, a publishing project, partners with New York Review of Books

Dorothy, a publishing project — the independent book publisher co-founded by Danielle Dutton and Martin Riker — has entered into a sales and distribution agreement with the New York Review of Books that will amplify its book promotion and marketing efforts. Dutton, associate professor of English, and Riker, senior lecturer in English, both in Arts & Sciences at Washington University […]
Well Waiting Room

Well Waiting Room

A collection of poems that contemplate the bureaucracy of the mind through interior political cabinets Taking its name from the banal, purgatorial space outside (but inside) a doctor’s office, “Well Waiting Room” imagines the conversations we have with ourselves at this liminal site as an exchange between interior bureaucrats, each of whom governs a particular aspect of the […]
Infinite Variety

Infinite Variety

Literary Invention, Theology, and the Disorder of Kinds, 1688-1730

Unnerved by the upheavals of the seventeenth century, English writers including Thomas Hobbes, Richard Blackmore, John Locke, Jonathan Swift, and Daniel Defoe came to accept that disorder, rather than order, was the natural state of things. They were drawn to voluntarism, a theology that emphasized a willful creator and denied that nature embodied truth and […]
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