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Melissa Bailes


Melissa Bailes is an associate professor of English specializing in British literature of the long eighteenth century (1660-1830), transatlantic and transnational studies, and the history of science.  She has written articles and book chapters focusing on the Caribbean as well as Latin and South America.  She especially works on ideas about gender and colonialism as they relate to literature and the environment.  Her first book, Questioning Nature: British Women’s Scientific Writing and Literary Originality, 1750-1830 (U Virginia P), won the 2017 Book Prize from the British Society for Literature and Science.  Her second book, Regenerating Romanticism: Botany, Sensibility, and Originality in British Literature, 1750-1830, is forthcoming from the University of Virginia Press in Spring 2023.  Bailes's research has been supported by long-term fellowships from the National Humanities Center, the American Association of University Women, and the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA.

Selected Publications

· Forthcoming. Regenerating Romanticism: Botany, Sensibility, and Originality in British Literature, 1750-1830.

· 2019. "Transformations of Gender and Race in Maria Riddell’s Transatlantic Biopolitics.” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 32.1

· 2018. "Cultivated for Consumption: Botany, Colonial Cannibalism, and National/Natural History in Sydney Owenson’s The Wild Irish Girl.” The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 59.4

· 2017. Questioning Nature: British Women’s Scientific Writing and Literary Originality, 1750-1830.Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press.

· 2017. "Linnaeus’s Botanical Clocks: Chronobiological Mechanisms in the Scientific Poetry of Erasmus Darwin, Charlotte Smith, and Felicia Hemans.” Studies in Romanticism 56.2

· 2016. “Literary Plagiarism and Scientific Originality in the ‘Transatlantic Wilderness’ of Goldsmith, Aikin, and Barbauld.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 49(2): 265-79.

· 2015. “The Psychologization of Geological Catastrophe in Mary Shelley’s The Last Man.” ELH: English Literary History 82(2): 671-99

· 2009. “The Evolution of the Plagiarist: Natural History in Anna Seward’s Order of Poetics” Eighteenth-Century Life 33(3): 106-27.

· 2009. “Hybrid Britons: West Indian Colonial Identity and Maria Riddell’s Natural History.” European Romantic Review 20(2): 207-17.

Academic Experience

  • Associate Professor, Tulane University, 2022-

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