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Anne McCarthy

Anne McCarthy

Assistant Professor of English

421 Burrowes Building

Mailroom: 430 Burrowes Building

State College , PA 16801

Office Hours:

  • SPRING 2017:
  • Mondays, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and by appointment


  1. B.A., New York University
  2. Ph.D., City University of New York

Professional Bio

I joined the faculty at Penn State in the Fall of 2012 to teach Romantic and Victorian literature, as well as critical theory. My book project, Awful Parenthesis: Suspension and the Sublime in Romantic and Victorian Poetry, is about the way that suspension, broadly conceived as a form and practice, was understood by a group of nineteenth-century British poets: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Alfred Tennyson, and Christina Rossetti. Suspended bodies and forms, practices of holding oneself in suspension and uncertainty, are ways of negotiating the crisis of a contingent reality, whether that reality is reflected in the contradictory nature of the self, the perilous ambiguity of a cataleptic body that may or may not be dead, or in a natural world whose laws are much less legible than they initially appear.

In my second book project, tentatively titled "Shattered Lamps: Love, Abandonment, and Romanticism after the Subject," I'm exploring the limits and the possibilities of attachment, particularly attachments that don't involve a meeting of two relatively equal and well-suited minds. I'm interested in bad romances, aberrant object relations, what it means to hang around after you aren't wanted, and the ethics of setting yourself and your writing in relation to beings that exist only in your head. This seems to me to be a particularly pressing problem for theories of romanticism, since so many of what we could think of as "romantic" relationships are based on asymmetry.

My articles have appeared in Victorian Poetry, Romantic Circles, and, most recently, Studies in Romanticism. My essay, "Reading the Red Bull Sublime," is forthcoming in PMLA.

Areas of Specialization

19th-century British Literature