Literatur- und Wissensgeschichte kleiner Formen

DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 2190

Madeline Zehnder

Madeline Zehnder


2021 Ph.D. English Language & Literature, University of Virginia

2017 M.A. English Language & Literature, University of Virginia

2013 B.A. English Language & Literature, Music, Smith College

Publikationen (Auswahl)

“Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Media Theorist,” Commonplace: the journal of early American life, December 2021,

“Colonial Relations in Miniature: Affective Networks, Race, and the Portrait in Victor Séjour’s ‘Le Mulâtre,’” American Literature 93, no. 2 (2021): 167-94,

“A Radical Pocket Book: A miniature Emancipation Proclamation helped to recruit Black soldiers during the Civil War,” History Today 71, no. 4 (April 2021),

“Plantation Gothic: The first published short story by an African American author and its roots in 19th-century Louisiana,” 64 Parishes, the quarterly magazine of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (Summer 2021),

“Companion,” New Literary History 50, no. 3 (2019): 487-91,

“Revolutions of Taste: Mon Odyssée and the Aesthetic Inheritance of Saint-Domingue,” American Literary History 31, no. 1 (2019): 1-23,

Collaborative Projects

Co-curator, with Neal D. Curtis and Samuel V. Lemley. Exhibition: “Rotunda Planetarium: Science & Learning in the University of Virginia’s First Library” ( November 2019 to February 2020.

Co-editor, with Neal D. Curtis and Samuel V. Lemley. Digital Database: “Rotunda Library Online” ( 2018 to present.

Made to Move: Pocket-Sized Print and its Uses in Nineteenth-Century America

This project places texts ranging from handbooks to it-narratives in conversation with archival materials to examine how nineteenth-century American audiences understood the affordances of pocket-sized books and other textual artifacts that elicit special comment about their portability. Items of pocket-sized print anchored nineteenth-century American fantasies about intimate social and physical encounter across distance: these works were made to move, in multiple senses of the word. Small and lightweight, pocket print was well-suited to rapid circulation. Yet with its ability to be carried in close proximity to the body, pocket print also led many nineteenth-century commentators to suggest that small-format texts possessed unique ability to move readers emotionally and otherwise instrument specific forms of audience response.

Made to Move takes a new approach to the study of material texts that accounts for the inherent interactivity of format. While book historians and bibliographers typically understand “format” to mean a printed work’s shape, size, and general physical design, I propose that formats are also social agreements that structure reader performances by fostering certain patterns of use. By investigating how nineteenth-century audiences react to books, pamphlets, and other print artifacts that advertise their “pocket” size, I examine how print formats produce meaning through their scripting of reader experience, or the ways in which they invite users to think, act, and feel.

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