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Rebekah Scott

Assistant Professor in 19th- and 20th-Century Literature, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

I gained my MPhil (2005) and PhD (2010) at Cambridge University, where I submitted a doctoral thesis entitled "On Complex Terms: James Among the Ethical Critics". After that, I held a post-doctoral fellowship sponsored by the University of Ghent and based in Cambridge, working on the Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James. In 2011 I was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship in English Literature at St Anne's College, Oxford University. I left Oxford in 2013 to take up a permanent Lectureship in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Literature at Nottingham University.

Expertise Summary

English and American Literature of the Victorian and Modernist periods; transatlantic literary and philosophical relations; periodical reading communities; variant editions; voice and aurality; music and literature; style; vulgarity.

I have been a member of the Henry James Society since 2005 and am editing "The Lesson of the Master" and Other Tales, volume 24 of the Cambridge Edition of The Complete Fiction of Henry James. I have published essays on Shakespearean afterlives in the nineteenth century; Charles Dickens; Henry James; and the lyrics of Benjamin Britten.

At present I am turning my PhD on Henry James into a monograph, entitled "On Complex Terms: Henry James and Abstraction", and working on two new projects: Lost Relations: Relational Thinking and the Story of a Cultural Concept, 1865-1915; and Hearing Voices: Literature and Aurality from Sterne to Beckett and Beyond.

Teaching Summary

I teach texts and topics in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British and American Literature, with a focus on novels and poetry of the Victorian period, transatlantic literary relations in the… read more

Research Summary

At present I am working on a monograph entitled "On Complex Terms: Henry James and Abstraction". This project is a modified version of my doctoral thesis, "On Complex Terms: James Among the Ethical… read more

Recent Publications

  • REBEKAH SCOTT, 2018. Knowing Nothing: The Ignoramus in Wilde and Beckett. In: MICHAEL SHALLCROSS, ed., Aphoristic Modernity Brill. (In Press.)
  • REBEKAH SCOTT, 2017. Britten's Drops: The Lyric into Song. In: KATE KENNEDY, ed., Literary Britten Boydell & Brewer. (In Press.)
  • GARETH CARROL, KATHY CONKLIN, JOSEPHINE M. GUY and REBEKAH SCOTT, 2016. "Processing Punctuation and Word Changes in Different Editions of Prose Fiction" Scientific Study of Literature. 5(2),
  • JOSEPHINE M. GUY, REBEKAH SCOTT, KATHY CONKLIN and GARETH CARROL, 2016. "Challenges in Editing Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Prose Fiction: What Is Editorial 'Completeness'?" ELT: English Literature in Transition. 59(4), 1-21

I teach texts and topics in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British and American Literature, with a focus on novels and poetry of the Victorian period, transatlantic literary relations in the nineteenth century, and British and American modernism.

Undergraduate modules taught: I teach across all levels of the undergraduate English degree, including modules such as Studying Literature; Victorian & Fin-de-Siecle Literature; Contexts of English; and Oscar Wilde. I also supervise undergraduate dissertations and distance learning.

Postgraduate modules taught: I teach various Masters seminars, including Textualities; Modernism & the Avant-Garde; and Place, Region, Empire. I also supervise Masters and PhD dissertations on topics in the C19th and C20th, and have a special interest in supervising on Henry James.

Current Research

At present I am working on a monograph entitled "On Complex Terms: Henry James and Abstraction". This project is a modified version of my doctoral thesis, "On Complex Terms: James Among the Ethical Critics" (2010), a study of the peculiarly Jamesian concepts ("form", "relation", "interest", "value") which rescue James from being cast purely as an "ethical" or "exemplary" writer, and show him to be engaging in topical debates including but not restricted to the ethical (aesthetic, sociological, economic, religious, political). My new working title reflects my broader interest in the way in which literary abstraction, like painterly abstraction, makes room for the concrete and the particular at the same time, curiously, as it denies them. Still moving between text-specific terms (abstract nouns) and the larger cultural problems which hinge on these terms, I discuss the positive value in James's work of obscurity, obliquity, and other forms of literary "abstraction", such as withdrawal, generalisation, vagueness, intangibility, preoccupation, distraction, bewilderment, and engrossment.

Future Research

I have two future projects in mind.

The first is called "Lost Relations: Relational Thinking and the Story of a Cultural Concept, 1865-1915". During the late Victorian and early Modernist periods the term relations was variously interpreted as dialogue, narration, diplomacy, correspondences, family, relationships, and sex. The ubiquity of the term, especially in the abstract, stemmed from a period commitment to the intensely related state. I argue that relational thinking seeks a return to design in the midst of flux, to connections between things over the things themselves. In this way, it acts as a stabilising force in the midst of uniquely modern kinds of atomism, alienation, and the resultant forms of anxiety. Yet, its own modernity is evident in at least one aspect: it privileges the observer over the observed, subjectivity over objectivity. Notable relational thinkers (Henri Bergson, William James, George Eliot, and Henry James) look to the past, to the Victorians and the Romantics, to find terms for new developments in the realm of human consciousness and inter-subjectivity; it is thus by looking backwards that they move towards what will be one of the main paradigms of the twentieth century: phenomenology; or, existence as encounter. Articles in preparation: "Man is a bundle of relations": Goethe, Emerson, and the James Brothers; and "A little more than kin and less than kind": Novel Relations in Daniel Deronda (1876) and The Portrait of a Lady (1881).

The second is called "Hearing Voices: Literature and Aurality from Sterne to Beckett and Beyond..." This project introduces the concept and phenomenon of "voice" in prose fiction of the last 250 years. Why should histories of "voice" belong to the province of poetry alone? I begin by discussing some of the ways in which "voice" has been conceived (e.g. as "point of view" and "style"), and ask whether the physical, audible properties of voice (volume, pitch, tone, duration) can be carried into our practice of so-called "silent reading". Building on the work of Todorov, Genette, Bakhtin, Derrida, Geoffrey Hartman, and Garrett Stewart, I tackle concepts such as "heteroglossia", "dialogism", "supplementarity", "différance", "evocalisation", "sub-vocalisation", and "the phonotext". Along the way I consider subjects such as: listening as well as voicing, dialogue and dialect, repetition and echo, polyphony and monotony, interference, homonyms and puns, the overheard and the misheard. I try to steer a course between vocalisation that is literate (e.g. eulogy, denunciation), semi-literate (babbling, mumbling, hectoring, gushing, rambling), and sub-literate (whimpering, snarling, growling, groaning). Authors discussed include: Sterne, Defoe, Austen, Dickens, Meredith, Poe, George Eliot, Henry James, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Patrick White, William Faulkner, Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Beckett, Vladimir Nabokov, Ian McEwan, Jean Rhys, VS Naipaul, JM Coetzee, Michael Ondaatje, Ann Patchett, Alice Sebold, and Richard Flanagan.

  • REBEKAH SCOTT, 2018. Knowing Nothing: The Ignoramus in Wilde and Beckett. In: MICHAEL SHALLCROSS, ed., Aphoristic Modernity Brill. (In Press.)
  • REBEKAH SCOTT, 2017. Britten's Drops: The Lyric into Song. In: KATE KENNEDY, ed., Literary Britten Boydell & Brewer. (In Press.)
  • GARETH CARROL, KATHY CONKLIN, JOSEPHINE M. GUY and REBEKAH SCOTT, 2016. "Processing Punctuation and Word Changes in Different Editions of Prose Fiction" Scientific Study of Literature. 5(2),
  • JOSEPHINE M. GUY, REBEKAH SCOTT, KATHY CONKLIN and GARETH CARROL, 2016. "Challenges in Editing Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Prose Fiction: What Is Editorial 'Completeness'?" ELT: English Literature in Transition. 59(4), 1-21
  • REBEKAH SCOTT, 2013. "An Indifferent Curiosity": "Double Consciousness" and Oxymoron in The Ambassadors. In: ANNICK DUPERRAY, ADRIAN HARDING and DENNIS TREDY, eds., Henry James and the Poetics of Duplicity. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 111-22
  • REBEKAH SCOTT, 2013. "Spectral Henry James." Essays in Criticism. 63(1), 88-96
  • SCOTT, R., 2013. Snarling Charles: a Saxon style of restraint. In: TYLER, D., ed., Dickens's style Cambridge University Press. 176-194
  • REBEKAH SCOTT, 2011. "C'est strictement confidentiel": Buried Allusions in Confidence (1879). In: ANNICK DUPERRAY, ADRIAN HARDING and DENNIS TREDY, eds., Henry James's Europe: Heritage and Transfer. Cambridge: Open Book Publishing. 169-78
  • REBEKAH SCOTT and ADRIAN POOLE, 2010. "Shakespeare and Dickens.". In: ADRIAN POOLE, ed., Great Shakespeareans: Scott, Dickens, Eliot, Hardy. V. London: Continuum. 53-94
  • REBEKAH SCOTT, 2009. "Ambivalent Realism?" Women: A Cultural Review. 20(1), 109-13
  • REBEKAH SCOTT, 2008. "Pickpurses in love": Henry James's Confidence and Love's Labour's Lost. Notes and Queries. 55(4), 1-6
  • REBEKAH SCOTT, 2008. "Little Language." Essays in Criticism. 58(1), 88-96
  • REBEKAH SCOTT, 2007. "A fitting 'form'": The ethical bearing of a keyword in Roderick Hudson. The Henry James Review. 28(3), 232-41

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