Melissa Shields Jenkins
Associate Professor of English (July 1, 2015-)
Director of Core Literature, Department of English
Core Faculty, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Senior Faculty Fellow, Collins Residence Hall
Office: Tribble Hall C-112
MA, PhD Harvard University
BA Wake Forest University
Areas of Interest
19th Century British Literature and Culture; History of the Novel; Gender Studies
Courses Taught at Wake Forest
Graduate Courses: ENG 760 Habits of Mind in Victorian Britain; ENG 743 Victorian Sensation
Major Courses: ENG 360 The Global Victorian; ENG 353 Nineteenth Century British Fiction; ENG301 Oscar Wilde; ENG266, Gateway to the Major II.
Core Courses: ENG 150 Science Fiction(s);ENG 190: The Art of Short Fiction
Writing Courses: WRI 111 Tales of Mystery and Terror; WRI 111 Animals Make Us Human: Service Learning Course
Current Book Project
The post-modern obsession with understanding the unconscious and accidental decisions that constitute a life is evidenced by bestselling titles such as Blink, How We Decide, The Drunkard’s Walk, Freakonomics, and The Power of Habit. Habits of Sympathy in Victorian Britain applies what we have come to know about habit, mastery, and the self into new contexts related to others. The project interrogates the limits of sympathy, and the relationship between sympathetic identification and narrative form. Part One, “Forms of Habit,” uncovers the tension between reading habits, generic expectations, and social agendas. Part Two, “Habits of Sympathy,” examines poetry and prose works by George Eliot, George Meredith, and Thomas Hardy that underline the tensions between sympathy and judgment.
“Associationist Philosophy, Cognitive Literary Studies, and Objective-Subjective Habits of Mind.” (forthcoming, Literature Compass, 2015)
“Masculinity.” Oxford Bibliographies in Victorian Literature. Ed. Juliet John. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. (forthcoming)
“The Next Thing You Know, You’re Flying Among the Stars: Re-Mapping the City in African American Picture Books.” (invited submission, ChLA Quarterly Special Issue, 2016)
Fatherhood, Authority, and British Reading Culture. Ashgate, July 2014
““A Long Private Letter’: Motherhood and Text in the Works of Elizabeth Gaskell.” In Motherhood Memoirs: Mothers Creating/Writing Lives, ed. Justine Dymond and Nicole Willey. Demeter Press, 2013. 64-84.
“Stamped in Hot Wax: George Meredith’s Narratives of Inheritance.” Victorian Literature and Culture 39 (2011): 525-543.
“You are ‘father,’ you know: Hardy’s Palimpsests.” Fathering in Victorian Fiction, ed. Natalie McKnight. Cambridge Scholars, 2011. 185-206
“‘The Poets are With Us': Frederick Douglass and John Milton.” Modern Language Studies 38:2 (Winter 2009): 12-27.
“‘His Crime was a Thing Apart': Elizabeth Gaskell Writes a Father’s Life.” Victorians Institute Journal, 36 (2008): 245-274.
“‘Was Ever Hero in this Fashion Won?’ Alternative Sexualities in the Novels of George Meredith.” Straight Writ Queer: Non-Normative Expressions of Heterosexuality in Literature, ed. Richard Fantina. Jefferson and London: McFarland, 2006. 124-133.