John Evelev

photo of John Evelev
Professor
323 Tate
Education

A.B 1987, Bowdoin College

PhD 1995, Duke University

Research and Teaching

19th century American literature and cultural theory

John Evelev is a scholar of mid-nineteenth century U.S literature, and in the broadest sense his work has focused on how the writings of that period have shaped modern American social and environmental ideas. His first book – Tolerable Entertainment: Herman Melville and Professionalism in Antebellum New York  (University of Massachusetts Press, 2006) – located the work of Herman Melville in the context of a new American class landscape emerging in the nation’s first modern metropolis, New York, and explored how Melville’s fiction helped first to articulate and later to critique a new professional middle-class ideology. His second scholarly monograph, Picturesque Literature and the Transformation of the American Landscape, 1835-1872 (Oxford University Press, 2021) recovers the central role that the picturesque, a popular mode of scenery appreciation that advocated for an improved and manipulated natural landscape, played in the social, spatial, and literary history of mid-nineteenth century America. It argues that the picturesque was not simply a landscape aesthetic, but also a way of seeing and imaginatively shaping nature that was widely embraced by bourgeois Americans to transform their national landscape in their own image. His next project returns to the subject of the literary life of antebellum New York to focus on the work of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Parker Willis to articulate a radically different vision of our notion of literary professionalism in the time.


 

Awards and Honors

Botein Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society

Research Board Fellowship, University of Missouri

Summer Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities

Botein Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society

Research Board Fellowship, University of Missouri

Summer Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities

Selected Publications

Picturesque Literature and the Transformation of the American Landscape, 1835-1872 (Oxford University Press, 2021)

“Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick: Romanticism and Its Excesses,” Handbook of American Romanticism, eds. Philipp Löffler, Clemens Spahr, Jan Stievermann (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2021).

“The City Sketch: Writing Middle-Class Identity on the Streets of Antebellum New York,” in Class and the Making of American Literature (Routledge, 2014).

“Poe: the Literary Profession,” in Edgar Allan Poe in Context (Cambridge UP, 2012)

“Alternatives to Professional Autonomy: N.P. Willis and Margaret Fuller in the Antebellum American Literary Field,” in Intellectual Authority and Literary Culture in the U.S., 1790-1900 (Heidelberg, 2013).

“The Politics of the New England Village Novel: The Picturesque Sensibility and Reform,” ESQ vol. 53:2 (2007), 149-77.

Tolerable Entertainment: Herman Melville and Professionalism in Antebellum New York (University of Massachusetts Press, 2006). www.umass.edu

"Every One to His Trade": Mardi, Literary Form and Professional Ideology American Literature 75:2 (2003).

The Contrast: The Problem of Theatricality and Political and Social Crisis in Postrevolutionary America Early American Literature 31:1 (1996).

Typee, Tattooing, and the Literary Marketplace Arizona Quarterly 48:4 (1992).