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Cody Marrs

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Professor
Interim Department Head

Cody Marrs is Professor of English at the University of Georgia. A scholar of nineteenth-century American literature, he is the author of multiple award-winning books and numerous essays, articles, and chapters. His research focuses on the narrative aspects of literary history, examining how stories are constructed about the writers, periods, and genres that define American literature.

His most recent book, Melville, Beauty, and American Literary Studies: An Aesthetics in All Things, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. It reconsiders the writings of Herman Melville as meditations on the nature and effects of aesthetic experience, and provides new ways of thinking about American literary history. He is also the author of two highly regarded books about the Civil War: Not Even Past: The Stories We Keep Telling About the Civil War (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020), which was featured in Time magazine and won the Montaigne Medal for the "most thought-provoking book," and Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Long Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2015), which was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. His work has also appeared in prominent 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 involving more than 100 contributors from around the world. Emphasizing the ways in which American literature has been in transition ever since its founding, Nineteenth-Century American Literature in Transition chronicles the movements, forms, and media that developed from the late eighteenth onward. His edited collection The New Melville Studies (Cambridge University Press, 2019) considers how to read Melville today, in light of the 21st century's literary, artistic, and philosophical concerns. His edited collection American Literature in Transition, 1851-1877 (Cambridge University Press, 2022) explores the cultural, intellectual, and institutional histories of American literature during the Civil War and Reconstruction. He is also a co-editor of Timelines of American Literature (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019), an inventive collection of essays that reframe and reimagine the defining 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 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Newberry Library, the Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley, and the Willson Center for the Humanities at UGA. Professor Marrs is a member of the Advisory Council for the American Literature Society and serves 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 currently working on several projects, including Endings, a book about what makes the conclusion of a story satisfying or disappointing, and Thinking With "Moby-Dick," a study of the psychological aspects of Melville's famous novel.

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:

"Realism and Reconstruction: A Comparative Perspective," forthcoming in American Literary Realism

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.

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

"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.)

Reprint

“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)

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

Events featuring Cody Marrs
Athenaeum

It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that the final season, and especially the final episode, of Game of Thrones was terrible. But why? In this talk, Professor Cody Marrs will contrast GoT (and analogues like Lost and Killing Eve) with shows that concluded successfully (like Breaking Bad and The Sopranos…

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