Our faculty are renowned scholars and writers, many of whom have published popular and award-winning biographies or memoirs, including the Pulitzer Prize.
Browse a selection of published books by program faculty below.
The Devil from over the Sea
Remembering and Forgetting Oliver Cromwell in Ireland
In Ireland, few figures have generated more hatred than Oliver Cromwell, whose seventeenth-century conquest, massacres, and dispossessions would endure in the social memory for ages to come. The Devil from over the Sea explores the many ways in which Cromwell was remembered and sometimes conveniently 'forgotten' in historical, religious, political, and literary texts, according to the interests of different communities across time. Cromwell's powerful afterlife in Ireland, however, cannot be understood without also investigating his presence in folklore and the landscape, in ruins and curses. Nor can he be separated from the idea of the 'Cromwellian': a term which came to elicit an entire chain of contemptuous associations that would begin after his invasion and assume a wholly new force in the nineteenth century.
What emerges from all these memorializing traces is a multitudinous Cromwell who could be represented as brutal, comic, sympathetic, or satanic. He could be discarded also, tellingly, from the accounts of the past, and especially by those which viewed him as an embarrassment or worse. In addition to exploring the many reasons why Cromwell was so vehemently remembered or forgotten in Ireland, Sarah Covington finally uncovers the larger truths conveyed by sometimes fanciful or invented accounts. Contrary to being damaging examples of myth-making, the memorializations contained in martyrologies, folk tales, or newspaper polemics were often productive in cohering communities, or in displaying agency in the form of 'counter-memories' that claimed Cromwell for their own and reshaped Irish history in the process.
Published June 2022
Oxford University Press
Walt Whitman's America
A Cultural Biography
In his poetry Walt Whitman set out to encompass all of America and in so doing heal its deepening divisions. This magisterial biography demonstrates the epic scale of his achievement, as well as the dreams and anxieties that impelled it, for it places the poet securely within the political and cultural context of his age.
Combing through the full range of Whitman's writing, David Reynolds shows how Whitman gathered inspiration from every stratum of nineteenth-century American life: the convulsions of slavery and depression; the raffish dandyism of the Bowery ""b'hoys""; the exuberant rhetoric of actors, orators, and divines. We see how Whitman reconciled his own sexuality with contemporary social mores and how his energetic courtship of the public presaged the vogues of advertising and celebrity. Brilliantly researched, captivatingly told, Walt Whitman's America is a triumphant work of scholarship that breathes new life into the biographical genre.
Published January 2020
Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 3: The War Years and After, 1939-1962
Historians, politicians, critics, and readers everywhere have praised Blanche Wiesen Cook's biography of Eleanor Roosevelt as the essential portrait of a woman who towers over the twentieth century. The third and final volume takes us through World War II, FDR's death, the founding of the UN, and Eleanor Roosevelt's death in 1962. It follows the arc of war and the evolution of a marriage, as the first lady realized the cost of maintaining her principles even as the country and her husband were not prepared to adopt them. Eleanor Roosevelt continued to struggle for her core issues -- economic security, New Deal reforms, racial equality, and rescue -- when they were sidelined by FDR while he marshaled the country through war. This is a sympathetic but unblinking portrait of a marriage and of a woman whose passion and commitment has inspired generations of Americans to seek a decent future for all people.
Published November 2016
Absolute & Other Texts, by Lorand Gaspar
Mary Ann Caws, co-translator with Nancy Kline Earth
Born in 1925 in Transylvania into a Hungarian family, Lorand Gaspar grew up speaking Hungarian, Romanian, German and also French, which would become the language in which he wrote. Endowed with many gifts, all of which he grandly used, Gaspar is a surgeon, a poet, and a writer of scientific and lyric prose in addition to a translator of Spinoza, Rilke, Seferis and others. Sol Absolu et Autres Textes, edited and translated by Mary Ann Caws and Nancy Kline, contains abundant evidence of Gaspar's gifts: an autobiographical essay, a reflection on scientific and medical matters, and poems from diverse periods and places.
Published July 2015
Contra Mundum Press, 2015
Lincoln's Selected Writing
This Norton Critical Edition includes a rich selection of Abraham Lincoln's public and private letters, speeches, eulogies, proposals, debate transcriptions, addresses (including the First and Second Inaugurals), and more, accompanied by explanatory annotations. Following the texts are contemporary responses to Lincoln in poems, songs, and articles; representations of him in modern imaginative and nonfiction writing; and selections from recent cross-disciplinary studies, including discussions of his literary techniques and oratorical style and examinations of his political evolution in new cultural and social contexts. "Lincoln in His Era" selections feature the work of Horace Greeley, Jesse Hutchinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Karl Marx, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Victor Hugo, and Walt Whitman; the "Modern Views" section presents sixteen major interpretations of Lincoln's life, work, and legacy carefully chosen to promote discussion, including contributions by Reynolds and James Oakes (Dist. Prof., GC, History).
Published September 2014
John Brown, Abolitionist
The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights
A cultural biography of John Brown, the controversial abolitionist who used violent tactics against slavery and single-handedly changed the course of American history. Reynolds brings to life the Puritan warrior who gripped slavery by the throat and triggered the Civil War. Reynolds demonstrates that Brown’s most violent acts—including his killing of proslavery settlers in Kansas and his historic raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia--were inspired by the slave revolts, guerilla warfare, and revolutionary Christianity of the day. He shows how Brown seized public attention, polarizing the nation and fueling the tensions that led to the Civil War. Reynolds recounts how Brown permeated American culture during the Civil War and beyond, and how he planted the seeds of the civil rights movement by making a pioneering demand for complete social and political equality for America’s ethnic minorities.
Published April 2005