CMU presents: Thora Brylowe

April 11, 2018 - 4:30pm

April 11, 2018 - 4:30pm

The Literary and Cultural Studies Colloquium

Department of English

Carnegie Mellon University


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

4:30-6 pm

Porter Hall 125C


Thora Brylowe

Brylowe is a scholar of British literature and culture from the late eighteenth to mid-nineteenth century, focusing on print history. She is the author of Romantic Art in Practice: Cultural Work and the Sister Arts, 1760-1820 (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and working on Impressions and Folds: The Ecology of Romantic-Era Paper. She is also part of the Mulitgraph Collective producing Interacting with Print: Reading and Beyond in the Era of Print Saturation (ed. Mole, Piper, and Sachs; University of Chicago Press), and she has published articles in Romanticism, Eighteenth-Century Life, and elsewhere. An alumna of CMU’s PhD program, Brylowe has taught at Trinity College, University of Pittsburgh, and University of Colorado, where she is currently an assistant professor of English.

Page Matters: Paper Archives and You

Paper comprises nearly all of the historical archive we use in our work as professional scholars. Unexpected discoveries arise from understanding that archive as the afterlife of cloth and trees. For example, as early as 1775, the papermills of Massachusetts were paying a premium for linen and cotton rags, suggesting that the shortage of linen could be supplemented by American plantation-grown cotton. The story of paper in Britain and the Americas, then, must include the story of African slaves kidnapped and pressed into labor in Southern plantations, among many other things.


When literary historians think about paper, we often consider things like the circulation of printed materials and letters. My primary concern, however, is the labor, institutions and infrastructures that transform cloth and wood into the sweetness and light of literary culture. This inquiry contributes to the growing interest in environmental studies across the humanities. Wood pulp paper was invented because textile rags could not fulfill the appetite for paper. This new technology resulted in deforestation and pollution that continues to be a subject of debate and sustained concern.


Coffee, soft drinks, and snacks will be served 

Location and Address

Porter Hall 125C