William Huntting Howell
Assistant Professor of English
AB, Cornell University
My research and teaching is organized around American literature and culture before the Civil War—especially the first fifty years of the US republic. I have particular interests in the novel, the essay, and in the relationship between the literary arts and the stuff of popular and material culture. I’m currently finishing a book on imitation and emulation that works to show the enduring importance of the derivative at the moment of American independence. My next project considers the ideological operations of print ephemera—broadsides, subscription forms, libels, handbills—from the Stamp Act to the abolitionist movement. With Megan Walsh (St. Bonaventure University), I am also working on an edition of Frank J. Webb’s The Garies and Their Friends (1857) for Broadview Press. Essays of mine have appeared in American Literature, The William & Mary Quarterly, Journal of the Early Republic, Early American Studies, and Common-place, among others.
The comparative and interdisciplinary approaches I take in my research extend into the classroom. In every course I teach, I ask students to consider the ways in which apparently extra-literary materials—songs, samplers, ceramics, paintings—can help us understand literary works and the cultures that generated them. Since arriving at BU in 2009, I’ve taught courses on the American Revolution in historical memory, on the Enlightenment in America, on American Novel to 1900, on American Poetry to 1860, and on representations of the city of Boston.
- “Starving Memory: Joseph Plumb Martin Un-tells the Story of the American Revolution,” Common-place 10.2 (January 2010). Full text available at www.common-place.org/vol-10/no-02/howell.
- “Spirits of Emulation: Readers, Samplers, and the Republican Girl, 1787–1810,” American Literature 81.3 (September 2009): 497–526
- “A More Perfect Copy: David Rittenhouse and the Reproduction of Republican Virtue,” The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Series, Vol. LXIV, No. 4 (October 2007): 757–90
- “Read, Pause, and Reflect!!” Journal of the Early Republic, Special Issue on Literature and Political Writing, 1800–1835 (Summer 2010)
- “Entering the Lists: The Politics of Ephemera in Eastern Massachusetts, 1774,” Early American Studies (forthcoming, Winter 2011)
Work in Progress
- American Unexceptionalism: Imitation, Emulation, and Literary Culture in the Early United States
Honors, Grants, and Awards
- Mellon postdoctoral fellowship, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania (2006–2008)
- Winterthur Fellowship, Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library (2004)
- John C. Slater Fellowship, American Philosophical Society (2004)