Michelle R. Sizemore
Book Manuscript in Preparation:
AMERICAN ENCHANTMENT: The Rituals of the People in the Postrevolutionary World
American Enchantment investigates the long nineteenth-century phenomenon of “enchantment,” its role in enacting “the people” throughout a wide range of social and political rituals and literary and cultural discourses. My book views enchantment as a means of representing the people after the demise of traditional monarchical forms. In works by Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving, Catharine Sedgwick, and Nathaniel Hawthorne—as well as in Delaware oral histories, accounts of George Washington’s inauguration, Erasmus Darwin’s medical studies, and Methodist conversion narratives—enchantment is an experience uniquely capable of producing new forms of popular power and social affiliation. Recognizing the role of enchantment in constituting the people overturns some of our most common-sense assumptions: above all, the people are not simply a flesh-and-blood substance but also a quasi-mystical force.
Areas of Interest:
- Early and Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture
- Political Theory
- Literature and Science
- Time Studies
- Affect Studies
“ ‘Changing by Enchantment’: Temporal Convergence and Early National Comparisons in Washington Irving’s Sketchbook.” Studies in American Fiction. 40.2 (2013): 157-180.
“When are the People?: Temporality, Popular Sovereignty, and the U.S. Settler State.” South Central Review Special Issue on U.S. Imperialism. 30.1(2013): 3-31.
The Memoir of Lieutenant Dumont, 1715-1747: A Sojourner in the French Atlantic, Jean-FranÇois-Benjamin Dumont de Montigny. Edited by Gordon Sayre and Carla Zecher. Translated by Gordon Sayre. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012). Forthcoming in Early American Literature.