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Cody Marrs

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Professor
Interim Department Head

Cody Marrs is a Professor of English at the University of Georgia, where he teaches and writes about American literature. His research focuses on the ways in which literature is understood narratively—how stories are constructed and conveyed about the writers, periods, and genres that define American literary history.

He is the author of several books and numerous articles. His first book, Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Long Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2015), examines several major writers whose lives were transformed by the Civil War and its aftermath. His second book, Not Even Past: The Stories We Keep Telling About the Civil War (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020), chronicles the primal narratives that have guided American memories of the Civil War, from the 1860s to today. His most recent book, Melville, Beauty, and American Literary Studies: An Aesthetics in All Things (forthcoming, Oxford University Press), reconsiders the writings of Herman Melville as meditations on the nature and effects of aesthetic experience. These books received several awards, such as the Montaigne Medal and a Choice Outstanding Academic Title, and they were widely reviewed in venues such as Times Higher Education and History Today. His work has also appeared in journals such as American Literature (Duke University Press) and American Literary History (Oxford University Press), and in edited volumes such as The New Emily Dickinson Studies (Cambridge University Press, 2019).

Professor Marrs is an avid editor. He is the General Editor of Nineteenth-Century American Literature in Transition (Cambridge University Press, 2022), a multivolume series that synthesizes recent and emerging changes in the field. Nineteenth-Century American Literature in Transition involves more than 100 contributors from around the world. His edited collection The New Melville Studies (Cambridge University Press, 2019) considers how to read Melville today, in light of the 21st century's artistic and philosophical concerns. His edited collection American Literature in Transition, 1851-1877 (Cambridge University Press, 2022) explores the dynamic systems of American print culture in the mid-nineteenth century. With Christopher Hager, he co-edited Timelines of American Literature (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019), a collection that reimagines the defining epochs and eras of American literary history.

He is a winner of the Hennig Cohen Prize in Melville Studies, UGA's Presidential Early Career Award, and fellowships from the Newberry Library, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley, and the Willson Center for the Humanities at UGA. He currently serves on the editorial boards for J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture, and Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies. He is also a member of the Advisory Council for the American Literature Society.

Born and raised in Kansas, he received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2010. He began teaching at UGA that same year, was tenured in 2016, and promoted to full professor in 2021. In recent years, he has taught classes on writers such as Mark Twain and Herman Melville, as well as courses on "Literature and Philosophy" and “The Great American Novel.” He lives with his wife, Kristin, and their two children, Harper and Caleb, in Athens, GA.

melville oupNineteenth Century American Literature in TransitionNot Even PastTimelinesNew Melville StudiesLong Civil War

Authored Books:

Melville, Beauty, and American Literary Studies: An Aesthetics in All Things. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).

Not Even Past: The Stories We Keep Telling About the Civil War. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020.

Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Long Civil War. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Edited Books:

Nineteenth-Century American Literature in Transition, Vol. 3: 1851-1877. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022.

Timelines of American Literature, co-edited with Christopher Hager. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019.

The New Melville Studies. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Edited Series:

General Editor for Nineteenth-Century American Literature in Transition. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022.

Guest Editor:

Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies. Special Issue on "Late Melvilles," 18.3 (October 2016).

Articles and Book Chapters:

Battle-Pieces and the Problem of Beauty,” in The Oxford Handbook on Herman Melville, eds. Jennifer Greiman and Michael Jonik (forthcoming, Oxford University Press)

"The War Story," in The Cambridge Companion to the American Short Story, eds. Gavin Jones and Michael Collins (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press)

"The Future of Civil War and Reconstruction Literature," in The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the Civil War and Reconstruction, eds. Kathleen Diffley and Coleman Hutchison (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022), 284-294

"Introduction: The System of American Literature, 1851-1877," in Nineteenth-Century American Literature in Transition, Vol. 3 (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022), 1-9.

“Frederick Douglass and the ‘Moral Chemistry of the Universe,’” in Crossings in Nineteenth-Century American Culture, ed. Edward Sugden (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2022), 19-28.

"The Civil War in African American Memory," in African American Literature in Transition, 1865-1880, eds. Eric Gardner and Joycelyn Moody (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 213-232.

"1866 and After: Jane Jackson, Herman Melville, and the Literature of Emancipation," in Visions of Glory: The Civil War in Word and Image, eds. Kathleen Diffley and Benjamin Fagan (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2019), 219-228.

“Introduction,” co-authored with Christopher Hager, in Timelines of American Literatureeds. Cody Marrs and Christopher Hager (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019), 1-9.

"Dickinson's Physics," in The New Emily Dickinson Studies, ed. Michelle Kohler (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019), 155-167.

“Introduction: Melville Studies, Old and New," In The New Melville Studies, ed. Cody Marrs (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019), 1-10.

"Three Theses on Reconstruction," American Literary History 30.3 (Fall 2018): 407-428

"Dickinson in the Anthropocene," ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture 63.2 (2017): 201-225

"Introduction: Late Melvilles," Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 18.3 (October 2016): 1-10.

"Afterword: Archiving the War," co-authored with Christopher Hager, in A History of American Civil War Literature, ed. Coleman Hutchison (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 331-342.

"Against 1865: Reperiodizing the Nineteenth Century," co-authored with Christopher Hager, J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 1.2 (Fall 2013): 259-284. 

"Frederick Douglass in 1848," American Literature 85.3 (September 2013): 447-473. 

"Clarel and the American Centennial," Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 13.3 (October 2011): 98-114.

"Whitman's Latencies: Hegel and the Politics of Time in Leaves of Grass," Arizona Quarterly 67.1 (Spring 2011): 47-72.

"A Wayward Art: Battle-Pieces and Melville's Poetic Turn," American Literature 82.1 (March 2010): 91–119. (Awarded the Hennig Cohen Prize for the best essay or chapter in Melville studies.)

Reprints

“Frederick Douglass in 1848,” in the Norton Critical Edition of My Bondage and My Freedom, eds. Nicholas Bromell and Blake Gilpin (New York: W.W. Norton, 2020)

Drum-Taps and the Chaos of War,” in This Mighty Convulsion: Whitman and Melville Write the Civil War, eds. Christopher Sten and Tyler Hoffman (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2019), 119-134

Education:

Ph.D. in English, UC Berkeley, 2010

B.A. in English, University of Kansas, magna cum laude with departmental and university honors, 2004

Research Interests:

19th-Century American Literature; 20th-Century American Literature; Aesthetics; Poetry and Poetics; Literature and Philosophy; Narrative Theory; Author Studies

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