Anna Henchman

Associate Professor of English

  • Title Associate Professor of English
  • Office 236 Bay State Road
  • Phone 617-358-2559
  • Education BA, Yale University
    MA, Harvard University
    PhD, Harvard University

Anna Henchman focuses on Victorian literature, especially poetry and the novel. All of her work asks how literature represents or challenges the constraints of everyday perception. Henchman’s first book, The Starry Sky Within: Astronomy and the Reach of the Mind in Victorian Literature, was published by Oxford University Press in 2014. The Starry Sky Within connects literary experiments in point of view with 19th-century astronomy. Victorian astronomy depicted a complex universe in constant motion, with no point of rest. The writers she treats enlist readers to set radically different perceptions of a single thing (a person, a planet, an event) next to each other by moving the reader through space at great speeds. Henchman focuses on four writers who were fascinated by astronomy: Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, Thomas De Quincey, and Alfred Tennyson. Astronomers and novelists were equally obsessed with the problem of from where we view the things. How, they wondered, can we picture the universe as a whole while being stuck on the surface of the earth?

 

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