Rescuing a Film ClassicA 1914 drama starring Native Americans went missing for years.

We congratulate Carrie J. Preston (Rutgers Ph.D. 2006), winner of the de la Torre Bueno Prize, awarded annually since 1973 to the year’s most distinguished book of dance historiography.  The prize was awarded for Preston’s book Modernism’s Mythic Pose: Gender, Genre, Solo Performance (Oxford University Press, 2011).  Carrie is currently Associate Professor of English at Boston University.

The de la Torre Bueno award committee wrote: “Carrie J. Preston offers a thorough, rigorous, interdisciplinary analysis of Delsartism—the popular transnational movement which promoted mythic statue-posing, poetic recitation, and other hybrid solo performances for health and spiritual development; a movement that was largely organized by women, and that shaped modernist performances, genres, and ideas of gender.”

The de la Torre Bueno Prize is regarded as marking the standard for excellence in the field of dance scholarship.

Hearty congratulations, Carrie!

The Certificate in Creative Writing is available to English majors and minors, ensuring the coordination of creative work with the critical study of literature.  The certificate program curriculum (a total of 16 credits) begins with a foundational course in creative writing, followed by a series of electives in a variety of genres and media, culminating in an advanced workshop and the development of a portfolio.  Students who fulfill all the requirements for the certificate with a minimum average (in creative wriitng courses) of 3.0 will be awarded the Certificate in Creative Writing. 

Application for Creative Writing Certificate



PMLAThe May 2013 issue of PMLA includes two essays by Rutgers graduate students among its four full-length, featured essays.  We congratulate Trinyan Mariano, for “The Law of Torts and the Logic of Lynching in Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition”; and Michelle H. Phillips for “The Children of Double Consciousness: From The Souls of Black Folk to the Brownies’ Book.”  Abstracts of both essays can be found below.

PMLA is the most prestigious, widely circulating journal in literary studies, and publication there is a tremendous honor—even for the most senior scholars.  The journal receives hundreds of submissions every year and accepts very few.  The essays it does accept go through several rigorous rounds of vetting by experts in the appropriate field and by the full Editorial Board.  The selection process is blind at every stage: the identity of the author is not known to specialist readers, the Editorial Board, or the PMLA Editor until after an essay has been accepted.  For all these reasons, an essay in PMLA carries the imprimatur of outstanding professional quality, as well as having proved itself as being of exceptionally broad interest to the general membership of the Modern Language Association.

It’s a sure sign of a program’s scholarly vitality to have two publications in one issue of PMLA by its graduate students.  This success reflects the scholarly acumen and the productivity of Rutgers students as a whole.  In 2012-13, our students brought out seven essays in academic journals, and had another nine accepted and in press.  Most recently, the fall issue of ELH appeared with essays by three Rutgers graduate students in it.  We congratulate all our students, past and present, for their extraordinarily robust record of scholarly publication.


Trinyan Mariano, “The Law of Torts and the Logic of Lynching in Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition.”

Tort law, which governs civil wrongs, coalesced during the late nineteenth century as courts became increasingly willing to compensate injured people.  Its history, however, has been told without reference to issues of race or compensation for slavery and its aftermath.  In the novel The Marrow of Tradition (1901), Charles Chesnutt stretches tort discourse by using its principle of corrective justice to theorize liability for racial injustice and so discovers what law suppresses—the problem of collateral consequences when responsibility is made a function of race.  Not only does corrective justice reach an operational limit when the enormity of the wrong exceeds the ability to pay, but using race to assess liability aligns corrective justice with the logic behind the southern practice of lynching.  Recovering Chesnutt's use of tort challenges the dominance of contract law as the framework for reading Marrow and revises our historical understanding of the significance of reparations.

Michelle H. Phillips, “The Children of Double Consciousness: From The Souls of Black Folk to the Brownies’ Book.”

In The Souls of Black Folk (1903), W. E. B. Du Bois suggests that the history of double consciousness lies in childhood as the crisis that brings an end to the “days of rollicking boyhood.”  Yet in his children’s literature, written in the teens and twenties, Du Bois returns to the scene of double consciousness in an effort to transform this experience.  In the children’s numbers of the Crisis and in the Brownies’ Book, Du Bois confronts a new problem for the twentieth century: how to raise black children in the face of disillusionment and despair.  Collectively, Du Bois’s works for children respond to this problem by crossing the line that separates youth and age.  The systematic dualities of innocence and violence in these writings represent a revised effort to guide the black child’s entry into double consciousness and to repurpose double consciousness as a model for a resilient black subjectivity beginning in childhood.

Welcome new students! 

Whether you are looking for English courses to fulfill requirements or you are interested in becoming a major, we are here to guide you.

Please be sure to look at our fall 2013 Undergraduate Courses for full descriptions, as well as the locations and times that the courses meet.  Remember to visit our site again in the beginning of October, when the spring 2014 courses will be posted. 

Transfer students: if you have just declared English as your major, please add your name to our mailing list by writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Undergraduate office is open for in person advising from 9-12 and 1-4 Monday-Friday.  Stop by Murray Hall 104 or 106 if you have questions or need advising.

Hope you have a great fall semester!