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Stephanie Palmer

Stephanie Palmer

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer

School of Arts & Humanities

Staff Group(s)
English, Culture and Media

Role

Dr Stephanie Palmer joined Nottingham Trent in 2009 as a Lecturer of 19th-century American literature and became Senior Lecturer in 2012. Dr Palmer researches American literature and women’s writing with an emphasis on the nineteenth century and turn into the twentieth century. She helped develop the undergraduate American literature pathway and is currently serving as Course Leader for Joint Honours Humanities.

Career overview

Dr Palmer received her PhD in English from the University of Michigan, and before joining NTU, Dr Palmer taught American literature and culture at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.

Research areas

Dr Palmer’s research recovers and scrutinises women’s writing in the context of place, social class, and national and transnational cultures.

Dr Palmer’s second monograph, Transatlantic Footholds: Turn-of-the-Century American Women Writers and British Reviewers, is the first major study of British reviews of American women's fiction, essays, and poetry between the periods of literary domesticity and modernism. Rather than marginalised or dismissed as minor, American women writers were intelligently read in Britain during this era. British reviewers treated American women writers as a group, responding flexibly at different times and in different publications to their womanhood, their aesthetics, and their Americanness.

The writers featured range from the canonical to the currently lesser known, including Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Helen Hunt Jackson, Zitkala-Ša, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Edith Wharton. In their time, most of these writers were household names in Britain. Excavating these reviewers' sharp readings enriches and complicates our current, one-dimensional understanding of these writers, who are too often conceived only in relation to American literature and cultural history. As such, the book intervenes in both American and British literary history, re-centring these writers at the heart of transnational Anglophone culture.

Dr Palmer's monograph, Together by Accident: American Local Color Literature and the Middle Class (Lexington Books, 2009), traces a motif of 'regional travel accident' through texts by Sarah Orne Jewett, Bret Harte, Rebecca Harding Davis, Thomas Detter, William Dean Howells, and Elizabeth Stuart Phelps to show how writers scripted their contradictory relation to provincial places. The motif registers a class critique of the people most able to vacation and sightsee.

Contrary to some other readings of American regionalism, this work argues that male and female regionalists used similar motifs in their work and shared some of the same politics. This research, which emerged out of her PhD dissertation, also led to a separate article on how travel writers avoided disturbing references to travel hardship when writing about the United States in this period; the article features the British writer Emily Katharine Bates and was published in Studies in Travel Writing in 2010.

As part of a SPUR (Scholarship Projects for Undergraduate Researchers) grant, she created a website [https://transatlanticreviews.wordpress.com/] along with Adam Wood and Marie Cheetham about the reception of American women writers in Britain.

Dr Palmer can supervise research projects on American literature and women’s writing. She would especially welcome MPhil/PhD proposals related to regional writing, transatlanticism, or reception study. Further information may be obtained from the NTU Graduate School.

External activity

Dr Palmer is President of the Mary E. Wilkins Freeman Society, and she serves on the Steering Committee of the British Association of Nineteenth-Century Americanists (BrANCA).

Sponsors and collaborators

Dr Palmer was a recipient of the British Association of American Studies Founders Short-Term Travel Award in 2013.

Publications

“Heaven and Manufacturing: Political Dissent in Elizabeth Stuart Phelps’s ‘Foothold’ in Britain ” in (eds) Beth Lueck, Sirpa Salenius and Nancy Lusignan Schultz, Transatlantic Conversations: Nineteenth-Century American Women's Encounters with Italy and the Atlantic World,  Durham, University of New Hampshire Press (forthcoming 2016)

“Decadent Phelps: New Womanhood and the Decentered Self in Confessions of a Wife,” . Palmer S, Women’s Writing, published online July 2015, to follow in print.

“A Report from Stephanie Palmer (Nottingham Trent University) BAAS Founders’ Award Recipient 2013,”. Palmer S, American Studies in Britain, 2014, 109, 12-13, available here.

“‘No More Appreciative Readers than in England’: Anglo-Saxonism and Dissent in the English Craze for Mary Wilkins Freeman,”. Palmer S, Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary Relations, 2012, 16 (2), 225-244

Transatlantic Reviews website. Palmer S, Wood A and Cheetham M, 2012

“Emily Katharine Bates and the Suppression of Travail in Late Nineteenth-Century Travel Writing About the United States,”. Palmer S, Studies in Travel Writing, 2010, 14 (1), 29-42

Together By Accident: American Local Color Literature and the Middle Class. Palmer S, 2009, Lanham, M.D, Lexington Books

“Travel Delays in the Commercial Countryside with Bret Harte and Sarah Orne Jewett,”. Palmer S, Arizona Quarterly, 2003, 59 (4), 70-102

See all of Stephanie Palmer's publications...