The new materiality studies in nineteenth-century American literature and culture has blossomed in the last decade or so. For example, Jodi A. Barnes uses archeology—physical objects themselves—to better understand the lives of suffering led by African Americans throughout Reconstruction and Jim Crow. Cristin Ellis studies 1850s embodiment to show how racial definitions were created and skewed by determining a social understanding of what composes the human. In the decade leading up to the Civil War, African American humanity was either defended or called into question with equal vehemence. Jennifer Putzi studies marked bodies to form an argument about the divide between physical and cultural notions of the human in nineteenth-century America. The two books under consideration here use different approaches to the study of poetry in the long nineteenth century. Michael C. Cohen examines poems as objects themselves, along with the affective...

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