All posts by Grace Rexroth

Grace Rexroth is a second-year PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she also teaches introductory courses in women's literature. Her research interests include British Romanticism and early Victorianism, media studies, print culture, political economy, and the cultural history of emotions. Her dissertation prospectus currently proposes a link between Romantic theories of memory and self-hood, the uneven rhetoric(s) of liberalism, and the shifting emotional connotations of the word "loneliness" in Romantic and early Victorian literature.

Poetry and Portraiture, or Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Obsession with Wordsworth’s Face

For the last few weeks, I’ve been reading through the letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and discovered something odd: Barrett Browning was seemingly obsessed with portraits of William Wordsworth.

Writing to her friend Mrs. Martin in a letter dated December 7, 1836, Barrett Browning articulates the joy she felt upon first seeing an engraving of Wordsworth: “Papa has given me the first two volumes of Wordsworth’s new edition. The engraving in the first is his own face. You might think me affected if I told you all I felt in seeing the living face.”[1]  Several years later, in a similar letter to Mrs. Martin dated October 22, 1842, Barrett Browning dramatically claimed, “I write under the eyes of Wordsworth.  Not Wordsworth’s living eyes…but this Wordsworth who looks on me now is Wordsworth in a picture.”[2]  The “picture” Barrett Browning alludes to is Haydon’s famous portrait of Wordsworth musing upon Helvellyn.


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Teaching “Intro to Women’s Literature” as a Romanticist

Last semester I got my first taste of teaching an “Introduction to Women’s Literature” course at CU Boulder. As winter break now comes to a close, I’ve been pondering the revisions I’ve made to my syllabus this month – revisions that have prompted me to analyze familiar questions: What is women’s literature? How does one teach a survey of women’s literature as a Romanticist? What are the desired outcomes of such a course? Continue reading Teaching “Intro to Women’s Literature” as a Romanticist

Charles Dickens vs. Leigh Hunt: Charity, Social Reform, and the Problem of Hell

My sister and I have two very important holiday traditions: 1) we always go to a haunted corn maze before Halloween, and 2) we always watch The Muppet Christmas Carol before Christmas. We don’t often admit to the second tradition (and when we do, we kind of pretend that we only enjoy the Muppets “ironically”), but it’s something we’ve done for as long as I can remember. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas until Katie and I are sitting on the couch, singing along to the song “Marley and Marley” while two enchained muppet ghosts rattle around the TV screen, bemoaning their eternal punishment.


Continue reading Charles Dickens vs. Leigh Hunt: Charity, Social Reform, and the Problem of Hell

“Monumental” Ghosts: The Spectral Statesmen of 1813

It was a dark and stormy night, less than a month before Halloween, when the leading story in The Examiner volleyed the first chilling claim of the morbidly resurrected: “It may startle our readers to advance such an opinion, but really the most vivacious persons, now living, and making the most noise in the world, seem to be dead men” (561).

Indeed, in the frosty days of fall, dead statesmen were top news for England’s press. It seemed that nary a dead man could refrain from leaving his grave to wreak new havoc on the world. Louis Alexandre Berthier, for example, was reported dead by the Dresden newspapers, only to reemerge a week later as the Major-General of Napoleon’s French armies. Napoleon himself, The Examiner declared, “was assassinated many years back, since which time he has more than once met his death in a similar way, and is now, with a want of sympathy hardly to be expected in a dead man, preparing for new scenes of slaughter in Germany” (561). Continue reading “Monumental” Ghosts: The Spectral Statesmen of 1813

A Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures, II: Networking or “Relationship-Building” on the Road. Literally.

This post is part of the “Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures” series, a collaborative endeavor by NGSC bloggers Deven Parker, Grace Rexroth, and Conny Fasshauer, all Romanticist graduate students at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Drawing on our collective experiences organizing guest lectures at our university, our aim for this series is to offer advice and tips for NGSC readers hosting visitors at their institutions or attending one of these events.

“Networking” is a word I dread more than laundry day.

Because I wandered through the corporate world for several years before finally deciding to go to grad school, the term “networking” conjures up myriad awkward experiences – themed cocktail parties, company logos, uncomfortable seminars where strangers assess the grip of your handshake…it’s not my idea of a fun Friday night.

…and yet…

With English department sizes shrinking, enrollment numbers dropping, and an ever diminishing job market (thanks NY Times op-ed), networking is arguably a skill we need now more than ever. So, in addition to preparing for comps and formulating a prospectus, “networking” has joined the inner sanctum of my PhD goal list. Practically speaking, this means that, in addition to attending conferences (those hallowed networking meccas), I actively seek opportunities for building relationships in the field. “But how does one go about ‘networking’ outside of a conference?” you may ask. The glib answer: become a chauffeur.

Continue reading A Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures, II: Networking or “Relationship-Building” on the Road. Literally.