Janice Hewlett Koelb

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Adjunct Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature

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Janice Hewlett Koelb received her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina and is Adjunct Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature. Her teaching and research focus on the afterlife of antiquity, British and transnational Romanticism, and relations among literature, the arts, and the natural environment.

She is Advising Editor of Marcabru, a 2015 entry in the in the Gale series Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism. A recent paper "Freud, Jung, and the Taboo of Rome" (Arethusa 48.3, 2015)  explores how a strange shared obsession impacted the creative work of two pioneering psychologists.

Her book The Poetics of Description (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) traces the theory of ekphrasis (a Greek term translated as descriptio by the Romans) from antiquity to the middle of the twentieth century, when one prominent scholar’s creative misreading limited the notion to descriptions of works of art. What had begun as a classical ideal of descriptive immediacy became nearly its opposite—a preoccupation with the representation of representation. In further studies she carries on this research in a number of ways. Her article on mountain landscape description, “This Most Beautiful and Adorn’d World” (ISLE 16.3, 2009), challenges the conventional wisdom that there was a radical shift in the representation of mountains that coincided with the eighteenth-century discourse on the sublime. “The Owl in Winter” (Florilegium 25, 2008) shows how a twelfth-century troubadour applies an unusually personal theory of  “trobar naturau” ‘natural poetry’ in his pastourelle “L’autrier jost’una sebissa.” Her book chapter “Reading and Rhetorical Generation: The Example of Blake'sThel’s,” in Literary Studies and the Question of Reading (Camden House, 2012), analyzes the experimental interaction of word and image in one of Blake’s earliest works of illuminated printing.

Dr. Koelb has taught several surveys of literature and culture from antiquity to the twentieth century. Her most recent courses include Great Books II (CMPL 130), Transnational Romanticism (CMPL 460), Landscape: Reimagining the Natural World (CMPL 260), Transatlantic Romanticism (ENGL 390), Classical Rhetoric and Modern Theory (CMPL 471), Adolescents in Modern Literature (CMPL 386), British Literature: Blake to T.S. Eliot (ENGL 121), and Creative Reading (ENGL 260).

History

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. PhD 2004, Comparative Literature.

Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria CA. M.A. June 1997, Counseling Psychology.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. B.S. Dec. 1978, Mathematics.

Research Groups and Interests

Comparative Literature
Group V - English Literature from 1789 to 1900 (Nineteenth-Century British Literature)