Lily Gurton-Wachter is Associate Professor of English at Smith College. Her teaching and research focus on British Romanticism, poetics and politics, and the history of feeling. Her first book, Watchwords: Romanticism and the Poetics of Attention (Stanford UP, 2016) explores the undisciplined nature of the concept of attention at the turn of the nineteenth century in Britain, uncovering a strain of poetics particularly concerned with attention’s militarization, a poetics that defines itself and its reader’s attention as a resistance to, and reconfiguration of, wartime vigilance. Her latest research examines questions of sympathy and complicity in the context of Romanticism, slavery, and violence; she is currently working on an essay that traces the poetics of opacity, a lyric strategy that disrupts sympathy through improper, excessive, unexpected, or absent feeling, and a book project on “Poetry and Complicity in an Age of National Sins.” She has essays published and forthcoming in ELH, European Romantic Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Poetry Foundation, Romantic Circles, and Studies in Romanticism.
This event is made possible by the support of the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Fund at Yale University.