My research pursues queries about feminist, queer, minor and collectivist performances at the intersection of literary, social, and cultural theory. My recent work analyzes verbal figurations of imagined communities, and critiques the social production of adherences and identifications. My fields include 20th century British, Irish and South Asian literatures in English, modernist studies, critical and cultural theory, literature and environment, literature and music, and literature and mind. My current monograph is available from Cambridge University Press under the title Modernism and the Idea of the Crowd. The project discovers a genealogy of the contemporary political multitude in literary modernism’s representations of crowds, and focuses on the crowd’s status as a strategic political articulation acting in competition with established imagined communities. It compares verbal figurations produced during the period named to models operating in the realms of psychoanalysis, political philosophy and social theory. It posits that these figurations taken together constitute a coherent, intertextualized project among a group of modernist writers which aspires to anatomize the modern crowd, to explore alternative collective forms of experience, and to imagine the crowd’s futurity. It proposes a reading of the fictional crowd that offers a fresh account of its sense of authorization and efficacy, concluding that the crowd recognizes itself as an agile network that supervises its own world-making and negotiates its material and cultural exchanges.
My publications so far include:
- Modernism and the Idea of the Crowd, Cambridge University Press, December 2020.
- “Music, Intermediality, and Shock in Ulysses,” James Joyce Quarterly, 53.3-4 (in print 2018), 115-32.
- “Problems with Theory of Mind in Victory,” Conradiana 46.1-2 (in print 2015), 95-107.
- “‘An Infected Carrier of the Past’: Modernist Nature as the Ground of Anti-Realism,” Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, 20.4 (Autumn 2013), 778-794.
- “Conrad’s Agile Crowds,” The Conradian 38.1 (Spring 2013), 1-21.
- “Trifling Farce or Lyric Drama? The Clue Tendered by Algy’s Romantic Blunder in The Importance of Being Earnest,” The Wildean 39 (July 2011), 116-20.
- “Grammar by Ear: Teaching Grammar Skills by Immersion and Imitation,” coauthored with Dr. Toni Glover, Louisiana English Journal 9 (2005), 35-48.
- “Frustrated Energies in Modernism’s Female Arrangements,” in Affective Materialities: Reorienting the Body in Modernist Literature, edited by Robin Hackett, Molly Volanth Hall, and Kara Watts. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 2019, pp. 103-122.
Reviews, interview, encyclopedia entry, and conference reports
- “Clever, very,” author interview by the James Joyce Quarterly, https://jjq.utulsa.edu/interesting-judith-paltin/, March 2018.
- “Temporizing Modernities: Review of Nicholas, Jane, The Modern Girl: Feminism Modernities, the Body, and Commodities in the 1920s and Gifford, James, Personal Modernisms: Anarchist Networks and the Later Avant-Gardes,” Canadian Literature 225 (Summer 2015), 141-2.
- “Review of Robert Hampson’s Conrad’s Secrets,” Conradiana 46.3 (in print 2016).
- “Adaptive Anxieties: Strategic Confrontations in Eco-Joyce: The Environmental Imagination of James Joyce. Eds. Robert Brazeau and Derek Gladwin. Cork: Cork
University Press, 2014.” Journal of Ecocriticism: A New Journal of Nature, Society and Literature, 8.1, 10-12.
- “’Patternmind’ and ‘paradigmatic ear’: Review of Joyce a long the Krommerun, XXIV International James Joyce Symposium, Utrecht University, 15-20 June, 2014,” James Joyce Literary Supplement, 28.2.
- “Franz Rosenzweig,” Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, 2020 (corrected date).
- “‘A beautiful pure sweet mellow English tenor’: ‘Joyce and England’ at the 18th Irregular Miami J’yce Birthday Conference, Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2013,” The James Joyce Quarterly, 49.1 (Fall, 2013), 18-21.
A new monograph project, tentatively titled Minor Attachments: Feminist and Queer Modernist Works in Exile, carries on my interests in how collectivities cohere, flourish and coexist by comparing voluntary and involuntary exilic lives and works of modernist women as a roadmap to the relationships, public careers, and private networks of feminist and queer modernism, and to analyze and clarify feminist modernism’s anti/nationalisms, cosmopolitanisms, and minor attachments to locales, communities, and origins.
At a moment when global asylum seeking is high, it is productive to revisit the vast displacements around WW1 and 2 and the work of cultural and media makers in times of political crisis. These exiles traversed British, European, and North and South American modernist enclaves, movements of vulnerable people in wartime and peacetime, questions of citizenship and belonging, diasporic and exceptional legal identities, issues of cultural translation, and decades of artistic experimentation. Throughout the interwar and war years, women essayed, fictionalized, wrote in verse, and corresponded together between many of the chief modernist centres, and in their wartime dispersals. Since Shari Benstock’s field-opening work in the 1980s around the “Women of the Left Bank,” we have understood the importance to modernism of the non-cis-male cohorts of the lost generation and how and why they were ignored. Now, forty years later, although the women of Paris and Bloomsbury are better known, there remain important archives and networks which remain unanalyzed and undertheorized.
This project asks, how did the women of the avant-garde evolve politically and artistically through the decades between and after the world wars? What kinds of homes do women in exile imagine for themselves and their communities? What was their correspondence to each other across these frontiers about? How did they write and produce other expressive creative work critiquing the ideologies of the time and representing their identities as exilic public intellectuals?
Minor Attachments develops a feminist account of the fragility of locality and the production of minor attachments from the global cultural flows in the period. Perceptions of the world are colored by group projects in the world; by locating healing qualities in how the mind works with aesthetic pattern as an apparatus of personal integration, satisfaction and defense, I find that these works respond altruistically to their mass communities’ crises of conflict, risk and economic transformation.
Journal articles in progress:
“Mary Beton and the Male Critic”
“Non-Conforming Sexual and Gender Identities and Repentant Communities in Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Shtetl Stories”