Mary Mullen

  • Assistant Professor, English
  • Villanova University

Writing— CV


  • “How the Irish Became Settlers: Metaphors of Indigeneity and the Erasure of Indigenous Peoples.” New Hibernia Review.
  • “In Search of Shared Time: National Imaginings in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South.” in Place, Progress, and Personhood in the Works of Elizabeth Gaskell. Ed. Emily Morris, Sarina Gruver Moore, Lesa Scholl (Farnham/Gower: Ashgate, 2015). 107-119.
  • “The Public Humanities’s (Victorian) Culture Problem” Cultural Studies.
  • “Anachronistic Aesthetics: Maria Edgeworth and the ‘Uses’ of History” Eighteenth-Century Fiction[pdf]
  • “Untimely Development, Ugly History: A Drama in Muslin and the Rejection of National-Historical Time.” Victoriographies[pdf]
  • “Two Clocks: Aurora Leigh, Poetic Form, and the Politics of Timeliness.” Victorian Poetry[pdf]
  • “Anachronisms against Antiquarianism” V21 Collective
  • “Bogland: Land and Labor in Nineteenth-Century Ireland.” Literature, Social Justice, and the Environment blog.
  • “What is (old about) 21st Century Studies?” Thinking C21
  • “Manliness and Mother Ireland.” Review of Joseph Valente’sThe Myth of Manliness in Irish National Culture, 1880-1922. Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies.
  • Review of David Lloyd’sIrish Times. Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net.

Book Projects

Novel Institutions: Realism, Anachronism, and the Nineteenth-Century Novel

Novel Institutions redefines realism through the contradiction between its institutional and anachronistic aesthetics. Realism conceals historical time by mediating the past and future so that we imagine them in terms of already-existing political and social institutions. But realism’s pervasive anachronisms—its out-of-date, even regressive characters, confused chronologies, and prevalent narrative anachronies—paradoxically introduce historicity to institutions that work to conceal it. Challenging the solidity of a historical and social reality defined by institutions, anachronisms insist on a heterogeneous historical time open to unknown futures.  Novel Institutions centers the ‘failed’ Irish novel as an exemplar of realism’s contradictions, offering new readings of canonical novels by Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, and Charles Dickens alongside lesser-known Irish novels. Creating a new transnational literary history, the book argues that realism locates its opposition to institutions in the very anachronisms that institutional time creates.

The End of the Victorian University

The End of the Victorian University argues that contemporary efforts to defend the humanities conserve politically problematic forms from the past. Locating the value of the humanities in unquestioned notions of shared culture or humanity, or looking back to a golden era of disinterested inquiry and the liberal arts, prevailing defenses of the humanities tacitly authorize the ways that contemporary American public universities are still Victorian. They uphold notions of value, manliness, and culture (national, imperial and otherwise) that imagine universals but depend upon exclusion and differentiation—between public and private, men and women, ‘citizens’ and subaltern minorities. The project examines periodical literature, pamphlets, essays, and college novels from the nineteenth-century—a moment when the university first became the subject of a public discourse—in relation to contemporary discussions of higher education to reveal the nostalgia and amnesia that accompanies neoliberalism’s “time-space compression.”