• Carolyn Vellenga Berman

    Associate Professor of Literature


    My research concerns the literature and culture of nineteenth-century Britain, France, and the United States, with an emphasis on the novel. My background is in new historicism and post/colonial studies. I also have research and teaching interests relating to print culture, media studies, critical theory, fairy tales, Caribbean literature, ecocriticism, and contemporary fiction. My first book, Creole Crossings: Domestic Fiction and the Reform of Colonial Slavery (Cornell UP, 2006), offered a critical cultural history of the figure of the Creole woman in nineteenth-century British, French, and American fiction, as well as in anti-slavery discourse of the period. My current book project, titled Representing the People: Dickens and Democracy in the Paper Age, rethinks the Victorian novel by examining its rivalry with Parliament in the expanding world of print publication. I focus on a critical case study, reading the novels of Charles Dickens  in tandem with periodicals emanating from Parliament, the practice texts of shorthand manuals, and Dickens’s own array of journalistic publications. I examine how Dickens’s fiction mocks parliamentary form, canvasses the history of parliamentary representation, and depicts the relation of the People to the state as well as commerce.


    Degrees Held:

    Ph.D., Comparative Literature, Brown University, 2000
    M.A., Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota, 1993
    B.A., College of Letters, Wesleyan University, 1990

    Professional Affiliations:

    • Editorial Board, Dickens Studies Annual
    • Specialist Reader, MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States
    • Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies
    • Modern Language Association
    • North American Victorian Studies Association
    • Northeast Victorian Studies Association
    • Society for Novel Studies

    Recent Publications:

    “Snoring for the Million: Pickwick and the Parliamentary Papers.”  Nineteenth-Century Contexts: An Interdisciplinary Journal 40.5 (Fall 2018): 1-21. 

    Review of Daniel B. Rood, The Reinvention of Atlantic Slavery: Technology, Labor, Race, and Capitalism in the Greater Caribbean (New York: Oxford UP, 2017), Victorian Studies 60.3 (Spring 2018): 510-511.  

    “Frantz Fanon.”  Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography.  Ed. Franklin Knight and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.  9 pages.   

    “Creole Emancipation:  Indiana and French Colonial Slavery.”  Approaches to Teaching Sand’s Indiana.  Ed. David A. Powell and Pratima Prasad.  New York: Modern Language Association, 2015.  26-33.   

    "Reform in Literature."  The Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature.  Ed. Dino Franco Felluga, Pamela Gilbert, and Linda K. Hughes.  Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.  

     “On the Reform Act of 1832.”  BRANCH:  Britain, Representation, and Nineteenth-Century History.  Ed. Dino Franco Felluga.  Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net.  2013.  

    Review of Marie-Françoise Bosquet and Chantale Meure, Ed., Le Féminin en Orient et en Occident, du Moyen Âge à nos jours: Mythes et réalités (Saint-Étienne: Publications de l’Université de Saint-Étienne, 2011), Eighteenth-Century Fiction 26.1 (October 2013): 156-158.

    Review essay on Andrew S. Curran, The Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Age of Enlightenment (Johns Hopkins UP, 2011), H-France Forum 7.4 (Fall 2012): 29-33. 

    “Créoles de l’île de France: L’éducation sentimentale de Paul et Virginie.” Bernardin de Saint-Pierre et l’océan indien. Ed. Jean-Michel Racault, Chantale Meure, and Angélique Gigan. Paris: Garnier, 2011.

    “‘Awful Unknown Quantities’: Addressing the Readers in Hard Times.” Victorian Literature and Culture 37.2 (September 2009): 561-82.

    The Known World in World Literature: Bakhtin, Glissant, and Edward P. Jones.” Theories of the Novel Now, Part 1. Ed. Nancy Armstrong. Spec. issue of Novel: A Forum on Fiction 42.2 (Summer 2009): 231-38.

    Review essay on Christopher Miller, The French Atlantic Triangle:  Literature and Culture of the Slave Trade (Duke UP, 2008), H-France Forum 3.3 (Summer 2008): 62-66.    

    “Impersonating the Creole: The American Family and its Lines of Flight.” Just Below South: Intercultural Performances in the Caribbean and the Southern United States. Edited by Jessica Adams, Michael P. Bibler, and Cécile Accilien. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2007. 25-48.

    Creole Crossings: Domestic Fiction and the Reform of Colonial Slavery. (Cornell University Press, 2006)

    Performances And Appearances:

    Recent Presentations/Exhibits:

    • “Snoring for the Million: Pickwick and the Parliamentary Papers." Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference, March 2018.
    • “Decomposing Forms in Our Mutual Friend.”  British Victorian Studies Association Conference, August 2017. 
    • “Anti-Social Behaviour in Oliver Twist.”  North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, November 2016. 
    • "Little Dorrit's 'Lock of This World.'"  Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference, April 2015. 
    • “Testimony:  Hearing Voices in Parliamentary Publications.”  North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, October 2013.
    • Bleak House and the Mirror of Parliament.”  North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, September 2012. 
    • “Sensation after Emancipation: Slavery in All the Year Round.”  Research Society in Victorian Periodicals Conference, September 2012. 
    • “Victorian Twitter.”  Conference hosted by the Dickens Project on “Victorian Futures.”  University of California at Santa Cruz, July 2011. 
    • “The Moral Limits of Trade and the Petroleum Frontier.”  Panel on “The Oil Spill.”  Vera List Center for Art and Politics, The New School, October 2010.  (Posted on YouTube.)
    • “Créoles de l’île de France:  L’éducation sentimentale de Paul et Virginie.”  Bernardin de Saint-Pierre et l’Océan Indien, International Colloquium organized by Professor Jean-Michel Racault for the Centre de Recherches Littéraires et Historiques de l’océan Indien (CRLHOI), Université de la Réunion, Île de la Réunion, November-December 2009.  (Published on CD.)

    Research Interests:

    • Victorian Literature and Culture
    • History of the Novel
    • Critical Theory
    • Media Studies (History of Publishing)
    • Transatlantic Studies
    • French and Caribbean Literature

    Current Courses:

    Hist of English Novel

    Ind Senior Project

    Ind Senior Project (Spring 2020)

    Independent Study (Spring 2020)

    Intro to Literary Theory (Spring 2019)

    Literary Reinvention (Spring 2020)

    Literary Reinvention: DSC (Spring 2020)

    Senior Seminar (Spring 2020)

    The Fairy Tale & Literature