Hello! I went along to quite a few of the Transatlantic Literary Women events last year so some of you may already know me. For those who don’t, I’m looking forward to meeting you soon! As an introduction, I thought I would provide a little background on myself and my interests, pinpoint some personal highlights of the series so far, and touch on a few of the topics that I would like to explore in the 2017/18 series.
Like my fellow newcomer Sarah, I’m an Americanist! My joining the TLW committee also coincides with beginning a PhD in American Studies at the University of Glasgow, where I will be researching the Hollywood novel genre. My interest in American literature began during an undergraduate module in 20th century literature, and the often-contradictory depiction of America in the texts prescribed left me intrigued. Works like John Dos Passos’ USA and E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime evoked a country relentlessly expanding and advancing, while works like Toni Morrison’s Beloved portrayed a country constantly struggling to come to terms with the past. Having ignited my passion for American literature, I went on to complete an MSc in US Literature at the University of Edinburgh, where I specialised in F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Attending the TLW series last year was a fantastic experience. It’s difficult to choose a favourite event from such a varied programme. The series of talks given by visiting lecturers were all thoroughly enjoyable, and I particularly enjoyed Dr. Heidi Yeandle’s “Angela Carter’s Female America: Apocalyptic and Artificial.” Though I knew very little about Carter, I found Yeandle’s paper really engaging, and it inspired me to start reading Carter’s work. And, of course, the Symposium at Glasgow Women’s Library was a wonderful way to end the year, on a high note and with a full house! The highlight for me, though, was probably the day-trip to visit Digging In’s reconstruction of the WWI trenches for Transatlantic Women in the Trenches. Women’s war effort during WWI is always an excellent topic for discussion, and Pollok Park happens to be one of the best reading spots in the city, so I was delighted that the series incorporated such a beautiful location into the programme.
Being obsessed with all things Hollywood novel, it’s not surprising that I’m keen to explore the connections between Hollywood writing, the film industry, and transatlantic literary women. This is an incredibly transatlantic topic: the impact that film had on Europe and the rest of the world from the early twentieth-century onwards was immeasurable. Film created a new way of communicating different cultures and behaviours across the Atlantic, a new lens through which people were viewing the world. Even if this view wasn’t always realistic, the power of the movies was very real. As with many genres of literature, however, research on the Hollywood novel has a habit of focusing largely on male contributions. What more fitting a place to explore women’s contribution to Hollywood writing than the TLW series?
I think I’ve rambled on for long enough, so I’ll wrap it up now. Needless to say, I’m ecstatic to be part of the team this year, and looking forward to seeing old and new faces at the events that we have lined up. Watch this space for more information!