On Thursday, March 8, 2018, several English graduate students joined visiting scholar Regina Martin for conversation over a delicious dinner at Washington Place Bistro & Inn. Martin is the 2018 EGSA-invited colloquium speaker.
This dinner discussion was generously funded by Writers House, an initiative to construct a university-wide hub centered on the act of writing in all of its rich permutations. Writers House is also a co-sponsor of Martin’s colloquium. John Orlock, Samuel B. and Virginia C. Knight Professor of Humanities, currently serves as the inaugural director of Writers House.
Dr. Martin is Associate Professor of English at Denison University, where she teaches and researches 19th- and 20th-century British literature and literary and cultural theory. Her research interests in British literature have focused primarily on modernism, contemporary literature, economic criticism, and the history and theory of the novel. Her articles on the novels of Joseph Conrad, E. M. Forster, Charlotte Lennox, Jean Rhys, Samuel Richardson, H. G. Wells, and Edith Wharton have appeared in PMLA, Criticism, Twentieth-Century Literature, and The Eighteenth-Century Novel. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled “Modernism and Finance Capital: British Literature, 1870-1940,” which interprets British modernism as a historical moment of financial crisis very much like our own. She has also begun work on her next book project, tentatively entitled “Literature and Professional Society,” which is a study of the rise of the professional classes in Britain during the twentieth century and their influence on that century’s literature. Martin earned a B. A. and an M. A. from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida. After completing a post-doc at The Georgia Institute of Technology, she joined the English department at Denison in the fall of 2012.
Martin discussed her own academic career and research and shared advice on teaching, writing, tackling the academic job market, and approaching interdisciplinary work. Students enjoyed her and one another’s company in advance of Martin’s colloquium the next day.
In the late nineteenth century, the profits in British manufacturing declined and capital flooded into London’s international banking networks. “Finance Capital and British Modernism” examines how the transition to a financialized economy infuses British literature between 1870 and 1940. For example, Virgina Woolf’s The Waves imagines a new form of value resembling the accumulation of value under finance capital, and Joseph Conrad’s imperial novels, Lord Jim, Nostromo, and Victory, bear witness to the rise of the modern corporation, whose development was catalyzed by financialization. “Finance Capital and British Modernism” argues that finance capital is not just a form of capital accumulation that greases the wheels of commodity production but a complex historical process involving the development of new forms of value, class and institutional structures, and the new novelistic poetics of modernism.