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Dean of the College presents

Candidate for the Position in American Literature

Thomas Koenigs

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Ingenious Diversity of Fiction: The History of Fictionality in the American Republic

The first part of this talk offers an overview of my current project, which explores the historical contestations over fictionality in the United States from the 1790s through the 1860s. The project seeks to recover how the diverse forms and theories of fictionality circulating in the early republic shaped the way in which Americans thought and argued about the most pressing social and political issues of their moment. The talk then examines the role fiction played in republican political discourse by way of Hugh Henry Brackenridge’s picaresque satire Modern Chivalry (1792-1815). The talk closes with a discussion of Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), which argues that attention to Jacobs’s engagement with fictionality allows us to rethink the question of sympathy in her narrative.

For more information, call 845-758-7121, or e-mail trudel@bard.edu.

Location: Olin, Room 205