• Faculty

  • Carolyn Vellenga Berman

    Associate Professor and Departmental Faculty Advisor, Literature, Co-Chair of Literary Studies (Literature)


    Office Location
    M - 68 Fifth Avenue

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    Carolyn Vellenga Berman


    My research concerns the literature and culture of nineteenth-century Britain, France, and the United States, with an emphasis on the novel. My background is in new historicism and post/colonial studies. I also have research and teaching interests relating to print culture, media studies, critical theory, fairy tales, Caribbean literature, ecocriticism, and contemporary fiction. My first book, Creole Crossings: Domestic Fiction and the Reform of Colonial Slavery (Cornell Univ. Press, 2006), offered a critical cultural history of the figure of the Creole woman in nineteenth-century British, French, and American fiction, as well as in anti-slavery discourse of the period. My second book, Dickens and Democracy in the Age of Paper: Representing the People (Oxford Univ. Press, 2022), shows how Charles Dickens and the British Parliament engaged in competitive efforts to represent the People in print at a crucial moment in the history of representative democracy. A new book in progress, tentatively entitled Sensational Fictions, will sound the depths of the Black Atlantic in British fiction from Frances Trollope to Wilkie Collins. 

    Degrees Held

    Ph.D., Comparative Literature, Brown University, 2000
    M.A., Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota, 1993
    B.A., College of Letters, Wesleyan University, 1990

    Professional Affiliation

    • Advisory Board, North American Victorian Studies Association
    • Trustee, Dickens Society
    • Editorial Board, Dickens Studies Annual and Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature
    • Specialist Reader, MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States
    • Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies
    • British Association for Victorian Studies
    • Northeast Victorian Studies Association
    • Society for Novel Studies

    Recent Publications


    Dickens and Democracy in the Age of Paper: Representing the People, Oxford University Press, 2022.

    Creole Crossings: Domestic Fiction and the Reform of Colonial Slavery, Cornell University Press, 2006.

    Selected Articles, Book Chapters, and Review Essays

    "Tracing Characters: Political Shorthand and the History of Victorian Writing."  Victorian Studies 63.1 (Fall 2020), 57-84.

    Snoring for the Million: Pickwick and the Parliamentary Papers.”  Nineteenth-Century Contexts: An Interdisciplinary Journal 40.5 (Fall 2018): 1-21.

    “Exiled Online.”  Public Seminar (3 June 2020): 3 pages. 

    “World of Fiction.” Review of Candace Ward, Crossing the Line: Early Creole Novels and Anglophone Caribbean Culture in the Age of Emancipation (Charlottesville: U of Virginia P, 2017), Novel: A Forum on Fiction 52.3 (November 2019): 461-465.

    Review of Marcus Waithe and Claire White, Ed., The Labour of Literature in Britain and France, 1830-1910: Authorial Work Ethics (Palgrave, 2018), Nineteenth-Century French Studies 48.1-2 (Fall 2019): n. pag.

    Review of Daniel B. Rood, The Reinvention of Atlantic Slavery: Technology, Labor, Race, and Capitalism in the Greater Caribbean (New York: Oxford UP, 2017), Victorian Studies 60.3 (Spring 2018): 510-511.  

    “Frantz Fanon.”  Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography.  Ed. Franklin Knight and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.  9 pages.   

    “Creole Emancipation:  Indiana and French Colonial Slavery.”  Approaches to Teaching Sand’s Indiana.  Ed. David A. Powell and Pratima Prasad.  New York: Modern Language Association, 2015.  26-33.   

    "Reform in Literature."  The Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature.  Ed. Dino Franco Felluga, Pamela Gilbert, and Linda K. Hughes.  Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.  

     “On the Reform Act of 1832.”  BRANCH:  Britain, Representation, and Nineteenth-Century History.  Ed. Dino Franco Felluga.  Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net.  2013.  

    Review of Marie-Françoise Bosquet and Chantale Meure, Ed., Le Féminin en Orient et en Occident, du Moyen Âge à nos jours: Mythes et réalités (Saint-Étienne: Publications de l’Université de Saint-Étienne, 2011), Eighteenth-Century Fiction 26.1 (October 2013): 156-158.

    Review essay on Andrew S. Curran, The Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Age of Enlightenment (Johns Hopkins UP, 2011), H-France Forum 7.4 (Fall 2012): 29-33. 

    “Créoles de l’île de France: L’éducation sentimentale de Paul et Virginie.” Bernardin de Saint-Pierre et l’océan indien. Ed. Jean-Michel Racault, Chantale Meure, and Angélique Gigan. Paris: Garnier, 2011.

    “‘Awful Unknown Quantities’: Addressing the Readers in Hard Times.” Victorian Literature and Culture 37.2 (September 2009): 561-82.

    The Known World in World Literature: Bakhtin, Glissant, and Edward P. Jones.” Theories of the Novel Now, Part 1. Ed. Nancy Armstrong. Spec. issue of Novel: A Forum on Fiction 42.2 (Summer 2009): 231-38.

    Review essay on Christopher Miller, The French Atlantic Triangle: Literature and Culture of the Slave Trade (Duke UP, 2008), H-France Forum 3.3 (Summer 2008): 62-66.    

    “Impersonating the Creole: The American Family and its Lines of Flight.” Just Below South: Intercultural Performances in the Caribbean and the Southern United States. Edited by Jessica Adams, Michael P. Bibler, and Cécile Accilien. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2007. 25-48.

    Performances and Appearances

    Recent Presentations/Exhibits:

    • "Dickens and Democracy in the Age of Paper." Victorian Literature and Culture Seminar, Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University, October 2022. https://mahindrahumanities.fas.harvard.edu/event/dickens-and-democracy-age-paper-book-discussion-carolyn-vellenga-berman
    • "'The Sex Which Make the Laws': Motherhood and Murder in Frances Trollope." North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, September 2022.
    • "Dickens as an Influencer: Avatar of Reform." Dickens Society Symposium, July 2022.
    • "Unpacking the Moonstone: Black Diamonds and Racial Panic in All the Year Round." North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, March 2022.
    • "Dickens and Democracy in the Age of Paper."  International Conference on “The Impact of Dickens,” organized by John Drew and Pete Orford, University of Buckingham, UK, September 2020.   
    • “Snoring for the Million: Pickwick and the Parliamentary Papers." Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference, March 2018.
    • “Decomposing Forms in Our Mutual Friend.”  British Victorian Studies Association Conference, August 2017. 
    • “Anti-Social Behaviour in Oliver Twist.”  North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, November 2016. 
    • "Little Dorrit's 'Lock of This World.'"  Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference, April 2015. 
    • “Testimony:  Hearing Voices in Parliamentary Publications.”  North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, October 2013.
    • Bleak House and the Mirror of Parliament.”  North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, September 2012. 
    • “Sensation after Emancipation: Slavery in All the Year Round.”  Research Society in Victorian Periodicals Conference, September 2012. 
    • “Victorian Twitter.”  Conference hosted by the Dickens Project on “Victorian Futures.”  University of California at Santa Cruz, July 2011. 
    • “The Moral Limits of Trade and the Petroleum Frontier.”  Panel on “The Oil Spill.”  Vera List Center for Art and Politics, The New School, October 2010.  (Posted on YouTube.)
    • “Créoles de l’île de France:  L’éducation sentimentale de Paul et Virginie.”  Bernardin de Saint-Pierre et l’Océan Indien, International Colloquium organized by Professor Jean-Michel Racault for the Centre de Recherches Littéraires et Historiques de l’océan Indien (CRLHOI), Université de la Réunion, Île de la Réunion, November-December 2009.  (Published on CD.)

    Research Interests

    • Victorian Literature and Culture
    • History of the Novel
    • Critical Theory
    • Media Studies (History of Publishing)
    • Transatlantic Studies
    • French and Caribbean Literature

    Future Courses

    Ind Senior Project
    LLSL 4990, Fall 2023

    Sensational Fictions
    LLSL 2048, Fall 2023

    The Book of the World
    LLSL 3015, Fall 2023

    Past Courses

    Dickens and the Law
    LLST 3010, Fall 2022

    History of the Novel
    LLSL 2037, Spring 2023

    Ind Senior Project
    LLSL 4990, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

    Independent Study
    LLSL 3950, Spring 2023

    Literary Reinvention
    LLST 2005, Spring 2023

    Literary Reinvention: DSC
    LLST 2006, Spring 2023

    The Fairy Tale & Literature
    LLSL 2065, Fall 2022

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