Anita Patterson



BA, MA, PhD, Harvard University

Room 315
For CV click here

My research focuses on American literature, modernism, and black poetry of the Americas, and my approach, which emphasizes transnational and intercultural dialogue, is reflected in courses I have taught at all levels, including “Transnational Modernism,” “American Literature and Transculturation,” “American Poetry,” “Introduction to American Studies,” and “American Literature and World Cultures.”  My first book, From Emerson to King:  Democracy, Race, and the Politics of Protest (Oxford UP, 1997) examined Emerson’s critical engagement with the dynamics of economic individualism and the debate over slavery, and showed how his writings fostered an abiding legacy of protest writing by African Americans such as W. E. B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King, Jr.  In Race, American Literature and Transnational Modernisms (Cambridge UP, 2008), I developed a more global and comparative perspective.  Placing American literature in a New World context, I explored how the poetry of Whitman, Poe, Eliot, and Pound, along with their Francophone avant-garde contemporaries in the Caribbean and in Europe, influenced African American modernists such as Langston Hughes, as well as Caribbean poets such as Derek Walcott, Wilson Harris, and Aimé Césaire.  My current book project, American Japonisme and Modernist Style, continues with my interest in transnationalism, intercultural exchange, and the American contexts of literary modernism. Here, however, my approach is more interdisciplinary as I study how the opening of Japan, and the widening popular appeal of Japanese culture in the latter half of the nineteenth century, had a formative effect on the emergence of modernism. For this project, I examine works by Emerson, Fenollosa, Okakura, Eliot, Pound, Noguchi, Richard Wright, and others.

Selected Publications
  • “T. S. Eliot and Transpacific Modernism,” American Literary History (2015)
  • “Global America Revisited:  Ezra Pound, Yone Noguchi, and Modernist Japonisme,” Nanzan Review of American Studies (2011)
  • “1922:  T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence,” A New Literary History of America, ed. G. Marcus and W. Sollors (2009)
  • Race, American Literature and Transnational Modernisms (Cambridge University Press, 2008)
  • From Emerson to King: Democracy, Race and the Politics of Protest (Oxford University Press, 1997)
  • “Translation and Modernist Transculturation: T. S. Eliot and Langston Hughes,” special translation issue of The Harvard Advocate (2008)
  • “Japonisme and Modernist Style in Afro-Caribbean Literature: The Art of Derek Walcott,” Review of International American Studies 2.2 (2007)
  • “Emerson, il transnazionalismo e l’enigma dell’amicizia,” America at large: Americanistica transnazionale e nuova comparatistica (2004)
  • “Emerson, Transnationalism, and the Enigma of Friendship,” Emerson at 200: Proceedings of the International Bicentennial Conference (2004)
  • “Pastoral Poetry and Transculturation in Guyana: The Contexts of Wilson Harris’s ‘Trail’,” The Journal of Commonwealth Literature (2002)
  • “Contingencies of Pleasure and Shame: Jamaican Women’s Poetry,” Feminist Consequences: Theory for the New Century (2001)
  • “Jazz, Realism and the Modernist Lyric: The Poetry of Langston Hughes,” Modern Language Quarterly (2000)
  • “Doing More than Patrick Henry: Douglass’s Narrative and Nineteenth-Century American Protest Writing,” Approaches to Teaching Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1999)
  • “Images of the Internment: Mitsuye Yamada’s Camp Notes,” MELUS (1999)
  • “Harriet Jacobs, Henry Thoreau, and the Character of Disobedience,” Harriet Jacobs and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: New Critical Essays (1996)
  • “American Philosophy as Praxis: From Emerson and Thoreau to Martin Luther King,” Salmagundi (1995)
  • “Negotiating Claims of Race and Rights: Du Bois, Emerson, and the Critique of Liberal Nationalism,” The Massachusetts Review (1994)
  • “Comparative Identities: Exile in the Writings of Frantz Fanon and W. E. B. Du Bois,” Borders, Boundaries, and Frames (1994)
Work in Progress
  • American Japonisme and Modernist Style