Meredith L. McGill
Chair of the English Department
Professor of English
Book and Media History, Early American, Nineteenth-Century American, Poetry & Poetics, Theory

Nineteenth-Century American Literature; Poetry and Poetics; History of the Book, Literature and New Media; Law and Literature

Meredith L McGill's research and teaching focuses on American literature, book and media history, and poetry and poetics. She is the author of American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting, 1837-1853 (2003; repr. 2007) a study of nineteenth-century American resistance to tight control over intellectual property. She has edited two collections of essays: Taking Liberties with the Author (2013), which explores the persistence of the author as a shaping force in literary criticism, and The Traffic in Poems: Nineteenth-Century Poetry and Transatlantic Exchange (2008), in which a variety of scholars model ways of understanding nineteenth-century poetry within a transatlantic frame. She co-directs the Black Bibliography Project with Jacqueline Goldsby (Yale University) and is currently completing a study of poetry and mass-culture in the antebellum US. 

In 2019-20 she was Distinguished Fellow in the Humanities at the Beinecke Library, Yale University.

From 2018-2020, she was President of C19:  The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists and had the good fortune to work with a remarkable team of colleagues both to plan the biennial conference and to transform it into a virtual one as the pandemic disrupted our arrangements.

Chair, 2021-2024

Steering Committee, Digital Humanities Initiative

Murray Hall | 105

Tuesdays 1:00-4:00 pm.

Chair's Office
  • Walt Whitman
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • What is a Book?
  • Nineteenth-Century American Poetry
  • The Poetry of Slavery
  • Introduction to American Literature
  • Principles of Literary Study: Poetry
  • Blogging:  Prehistory, Theory, Practice
  • Literary History as Media History
  • Transcendentalism and Reform
  • American Women Writers to 1900
  • Topics in Literary Theory: Authorship
  • Warren I. Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2019
  • Mellon Foundation award, with Jacqueline Goldsby (Yale University), to support the Black Bibliography Project, 2019-2021
  • Class of 1932 Fellow, Council of the Humanities, Department of English, and the Center for Digital Humanities, Princeton University, Spring 2016
  • Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society 2003-4
  • NEH/ Newberry Library Fellowship, 1995-6
  • Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society, 1995
  • President, C19, 2018-2020
  • Trustee, English Institute, 2015-2021
  • Executive Committee, Division on Nineteenth-Century American Literature, Modern Language Association, 2011-16
  • General Editor, ACLS e-book series, Selected Essays from the English Institute, 2010-13
  • “Format,” Early American Studies special issue on “Keywords in Early American Literature and Material Texts,” ed. by Marcy Dinius and Sonia Hazard (Fall, 2018), 671-7.

  • “What is a Ballad?  Reading for Genre, Format, and Medium,” Nineteenth-Century Literature, 70:2 (September 2016), 156-175.

  •  “American Poetry:  What, Me Worry?” (A response to Stephen Burt).  American Literary History28:2 (Summer 2016), 288-94.

  •  “Literary History, Book History, and Media Studies” in Hester Blum, ed. Turns of Event:  American Literary Studies in Motion (Philadelphia:  University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), 23-39.

  •  “Echocriticism: Repetition and the Order of Texts,” American Literature88:1 (March 2016), 1-29.

  •  “The Poetry of Slavery,” in Ezra Tawil, ed. Cambridge Companion to Slavery in American Literature  (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 115-136.

  • “The Perils of Authorship, Literary Property and Nineteenth-Century American Fiction,”  with Lara Langer Cohen, Oxford History of the Novel in EnglishVol 5: The American Novel to 1870, J. Gerald Kennedy and Leland S. Person, eds. (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2014), 195-212.

  • “Market,”  in Keywords: A Vocabulary of American Cultural Studies, Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler, eds.  (New York:  New York University Press, 2007), 149-52

PhD, Johns Hopkins University
MA, (Cantab) Emmanuel College
BA, Williams College