Department of English
Hollis Robbins is completing a project entitled "Stimulating
Narratives: Literary Dynamics in the Early Bureaucratic Era,"
which explores the relationship between bureaucratic and literary
forms. From early British census forms and patent applications
to U.S. customs forms and postage stamps to international bills
of lading, government forms stimulated literary production. While
bureaucratic paperwork is not typically thought of as creative
or literary, it is certainly a type of cultural production, and
one that has the remarkable ability to provoke more traditional
forms of cultural and artistic output. Combining literary-formalist
and historicist theoretical models, this project examines the
role of government policy (primarily bureaucratic, record-keeping
policy) in animating American and British literature of the nineteenth
century, and provides an alternative theoretical model for conceiving
the culture/policy nexus.