Professor of English
Wayne D. McMurray and Helen Bennett Endowed Chair in the Humanities
Graduate Program Director
Ph.D., Rutgers University
B.A., Wesleyan University
- Office Hours
Monday, 4:30 – 5:45 p.m.; Tuesday, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.; and by appointment.
- Courses this Semester
- EN 220 Literature of the Sea
EN 500 Critical Theory
- Regularly Taught Courses
- FY 101 Neverlands: Children's Literature of the Golden Age
EN 202 Literature II
EN 316 Modern British and Irish Literature
EN 416 Secret Gardens: Classic Children's Literature
EN 417 Writing World War II Britain
EN 428 Novel In English
EN 491 Seminar: Intermodernism
EN 500 Critical Theory
EN 502 Seminar in Literary Research
EN 523 Novel in English
EN 540 Modernism in Britain and Ireland
Kristin Bluemel is a professor of English and the Wayne D. McMurray Endowed Chair in the Humanities. She teaches graduate classes on British literature, the novel, and literary theory. Bluemel is also the author or editor of books on modernist and what she calls intermodernist writers, including Dorothy Richardson, George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, and people you’ve never heard of like the Indian leftist firebrand Mulk Raj Anand, interwar rural novelist Flora Thompson, documentary writer of the London Blitz, Inez Holden, and wood engraver Gwen Raverat. Her most recent book is a co-edited volume called Rural Modernity in Britain: A Critical Intervention (Edinburgh University Press 2018), which looks at a multitude of forms, including painting, film, architecture, printing, and writing, to argue that the rural peoples of Britain, as much as their urban or suburban neighbors, were caught up in the experience we recognize as modernity.
- Research Interests
Twentieth-century British and Irish literature, modernism and intermodernism, rural modernity, the novel, literary criticism and theory, children’s literature, visual culture and illustration studies, and book history.
Rural Modernity in Britain: A Critical Intervention
Edited by Kristin Bluemel and Michael McCluskey
Edinburgh University Press/Oxford University Press
Published in 2018; 302 pp
Rural Modernity in Britain argues that the rural areas of Britain were impacted by modernisation just as much – if not more – than urban and suburban areas. It is the first study of modernity and modernism to focus on rural people and places that experienced economic depression, the expansion of transportation and communication networks, the roll out of electricity, the loss of land, and the erosion of local identities. Who celebrated these changes? Who resisted them? Who documented them?
Essays in this collection investigate five main cultural areas: Networks, Landscapes, Communities, Heritage, and Wars. Together they make the case that the rural means more than just the often-studied countryside of southern England, a retreat from the consequences of modernity; rather, the rural emerges as a source for new versions of the modern, with an active role in the formation and development of British experiences and representations of modernity.
Intermodernism: Literary Culture in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain. Editor. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009. Paperback issued 2011. US Distribution Columbia University Press.
George Orwell and the Radical Eccentrics: Intermodernism in Literary London. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
Experimenting on the Borders of Modernism: Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1997.
- Scholarly Articles
Recent Articles and Book Chapters
“Rural Modernity and the Wood Engraving Revival in Interwar England.” Forthcoming in Modernist Cultures, September 2014.
“Joan Hassall and the Saltire Society Chapbooks: Work in Progress.” The Ephemera Journal. 16.3 (2014): 21-23.
“‘A Happy Heritage’: Children’s Poetry Books and the Twentieth-Century Wood Engraving Revival.” The Lion and the Unicorn 37.3 (2013): 207-37.
“Exemplary Intermodernists: Stevie Smith, Inez Holden, Betty Miller, and Naomi Mitchison.” In Palgrave History of British Women’s Writing, 1920-1945. Vol. 8. Ed. Mary Joannou. Series editors Cora Kaplan and Jennie Batchelor. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. 40-56.
“The Intimate Orwell: Women’s Productions, Feminist Consumption.” In Orwell Today. Ed. Richard Lance Keeble. Bury-St. Edmunds: Abramis Academic-Arima Publishers, 2012. 15-29.
“Illustrating Mary Poppins: Visual Culture and the Middlebrow.” In Middlebrow Literary Cultures: The Battle of the Brows, 1920-1960. Ed. Mary Grover and Erica Brown. New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 187-201.
Work in Progress
“Ordinary People, Intermodern Genres: Literature and Documentary.” In Futility and Anarchy?: British Literature in Transition, 1920-1940. Ed. Dougal McNeill and Charles Ferrall. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.
“Picturing Nostalgia: Rural Modernity and the Wood Engraving Revival in Twentieth-Century Britain.” Monograph defining rural modernity through engagement with theories of nostalgia, middlebrow, and interarts and with history of the 1930s wood engraving revival. Supported by case studies of the work, cultural positioning, and cultural legacy of four now-forgotten wood engravers, book designers, artists, and writers: Gwen Raverat (English), Joan Hassall (English), Clare Leighton (English and American), and Agnes Miller Parker (Scottish).
- Professional Associations
Editorial Board Member, Literary Texts and the Popular Marketplace Book Series, Pickering & Chatto
- Additional Information
Editor 2004-2014. The Space Between: Literature and Culture, 1914-1945. Annual interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal.
Co-Founder and Past Co-President, The Space Between Society
Steering Committee Member, Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Member of UQC (University Qualifications Committee) 2012-2015
English Graduate Program Committee
Past chair of the General Education Oversight Committee (2008-2010)
Peer faculty observer
Member of the committee of the department
Departmental Sabbaticals Committee