Berkeley English Lecturers

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Dorri Beam

Assistant Professor

419 Wheeler

Professional Statement


 My book, Style, Gender, and Fantasy in Nineteenth-Century American Women's Writing (Cambridge University Press, 2010) returns to the archive to investigate a style of prose writing by women that reviewers called "highly wrought" and recovers the political and aesthetic rationale behind the ornate, elaborate styles of Margaret Fuller, Ann Stephens, Mary Clemmer, Harriet Spofford and Pauline Hopkins, while looking forward to the politics of ornament in the work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Edith Wharton.  Highly wrought writing intervened in striking and self-conscious ways in the gendered dualisms of American romanticism.  Style, Gender, and Fantasy grounds women's literary experiments in the historical discourses--flower language, mesmerism, and theories of ornament--that interrogated the relation of matter to spirit and provided the context for women writers' dialogues with Emerson's theory of language, Hawthorne's watch over the borderland of "romance", and Poe's interest in undead women and animate ornament.  

Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

Style, Gender, and Fantasy in Nineteenth-Century American Women's Writing.  Cambridge University Press: 2010

Style, Gender, and Fantasy

"Constance Fenimore Woolson, Henry James, and Figures in the Carpet"  in The Aesthetic Dimensions of American Literature, edited by Christopher Looby and Cindy Weinstein (Columbia UP, forthcoming in 2011).

 "Transcendental Erotics, Same-Sex Desire, and Ethel's Love-Life" will appear in an upcoming special issue of ESQ on women and transcendentalism edited by Jana Argersinger and Phyllis Cole.

"Harriet Prescott Spofford and the Politics of Ornament" in Unauthorized States: Antinomies of the Nation and Other Subversive Genealogies, edited by Ivy Wilson and Dana Luciano (forthcoming).

"Fuller, Women Writers, and Feminist Idealism" in  Margaret Fuller and Her Circles, edited by Brigitte Bailey and Conrad E. Wright (forthcoming).

"The Flower of Black Female Sexuality in Pauline Hopkins' Winona," Recovering the Black Female Body, edited by Michael Bennett and Vanessa Dickerson (Rutgers UP 2001).

Recent English Courses Taught

No recent courses taught.