Mary Mullen

  • Assistant Professor, English
  • Villanova University

Writing— CV


  • “Anachronism.” Victorian Literature and Culture.
  • “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’s Irish Times. Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net.

Book Projects

Novel Institutions: Anachronism, Irish Novels and Nineteenth-Century Realism (forthcoming, Edinburgh University Press)

Advancing a transnational theory of nineteenth-century British realism while offering a new understanding of the politics of institutions, Novel Institutions argues that realist novels offer strategies for inhabiting institutions while imagining both politics and history otherwise. Although these novels uphold institutions’ temporal logic insofar as they work to define both modernity and futurity in institutional terms, their prevalent anachronisms—out-of-date characters, obsolete practices, and chronological mistakes—restore the full range of historical and political possibilities. Such anachronisms are more prevalent and pronounced in Irish realist novels, where colonial institutions violently tried to replace traditional Irish community formations. But this book contends that the explicit anachronisms that shape Irish realism are not anomalous: they make the tension between the shared time of institutions and the unruly politics of anachronisms visible in British realist novels. Whether Maria Edgeworth’s Thady Quirk who shows that traditional pasts, seemingly useless within modern Ireland, can inspire new futures or George Eliot’s Maggie Tulliver’s anachronistic reading which unsettles the sense of historical inevitability that results from path-dependent historicism by collapsing the distance between past and present, anachronisms demonstrate the political possibilities of untimeliness. Realist novels encourage readers to refuse institutional time in order to imagine a future that does not simply extend existing social arrangements.

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.”