Michelle R. Sizemore
Book Manuscript in Preparation:
AMERICA'S ENCHANTMENTS: Time and the Magic of the People in the Post-Revolutionary World, 1790-1850
America's Enchantments seeks to understand the long-nineteenth-century phenomenon of “enchantment”— in particular, its role in recreations of the American Revolution, an event that frequently eludes direct representation and introduces fantastic transformations in its place. My book views this pattern as sign of a signature problem in the early republic: how to constitute “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—individuals turn to enchantment because it is uniquely capable of tracking the ongoing metamorphoses of popular power and the multiformity of the population. I argue that enchantment not only grants insight to alternative histories and collectivities but also gives rise to extraordinary re-imaginings of sovereign agency and subjectivity.
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.