Oriel is delighted to welcome Dr Nicholas Gaskill as the College's new Tutorial Fellow in American Literature.
Nick was officially inducted as a member of the College's Governing Body at a ceremony in Chapel on Wednesday 10th October, having arrived at Oriel over the summer from Rutgers University (USA).
Nick's research focuses on American literature from the nineteenth century to the present, with special interests in aesthetics, critical methods, and the relation between literature and philosophy (especially pragmatism). His first book, Chromographia, looks at the ways that U.S. writers imagined colour experience between 1880 and 1930. It covers a diverse array of writers - from Stephen Crane and Charlotte Perkins Gilman to L. Frank Baum and Nella Larsen - in light of the material history of chromatic technologies and all the things that bright colour came to stand for at the turn of the twentieth century: commodity culture, “civilization,” racialized sensation, avant-gardism, the perceptual lives of small children, among many others.
Nick is currently in the early stages of writing a book about the ideas of reality and aesthetic construction that have shaped American literature, especially of the past hundred years. Tentatively titled Reality in America, the book will focus on novels and poems that explicitly question the relation between literary artifice and the metaphysically real, and it will ask what literary writers can teach us about the task of building a common world.
Nick teaches English Literature and joint course undergraduates at Oriel, and has already been involved in an Oxplore live event entitled 'Do we see colour the same?', which took place on 3rd October.