Brook Thomas

Chancellor's Professor, English
School of Humanities

PH.D., University of California, Santa Barbara

B.A., Stanford University

Phone: (949) 824-5881
Fax: (949) 824-2916

University of California, Irvine
162 Murray Krieger Hall
Mail Code: 2650
Irvine, CA 92697

picture of Brook  Thomas

US Literature and Culture; Law and Literature; Literature and History
Von Humboldt Fellow; Woodrow Wilson Center Fellow; ACLS Fellowship; NEH Fellowship: School of Humanities Distinguished Teaching Award
After finishing my dissertation entitled "James Joyce’s Ulysses: A Book of Many Happy Returns," I experienced an important turn in my research interests when I was lucky enough—in a tight job market—to be invited to the University of Constance in Germany as a visiting assistant professor for a semester in 1976. In addition to offering a seminar on Joyce, I was asked, as an American, to teach a course on American literature. As I taught books of American literature in that bicentennial year, I realized that the perspective I gained from looking at my native culture from a foreign perspective gave me something worthwhile to say. So, even though I ended up publishing my book on Joyce, I found myself turning more and more to works written in the United States. Indeed, my perspective of being both inside and yet somewhat outside US culture was enhanced by my first regular job at the University of Hawaii and another research and teaching year in Germany. I became especially interested in the different uses of language in US law and US literature, an interest that led to my first book on law and literature and to a year’s exchange at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. UMass lured me away from Hawaii for three years, a time that I devoted to a new interest in the turn to history in literary studies. These interests—law and literature/literature and history—remain the primary focus of my research, although both have led to a new interest in the relation between literature and the nation. All three of these interests come together in my latest book, Civic Myths, which is on law, literature, and the question of citizenship. At present I am working on the literary and legal economies of the Age of Reconstruction in US history.
Publications Civic Myths: A Law and Literaure Approach to Citizenship. University of North Carolina Press, 2007.
  American Literary Realism and the Failed Promise of Contract. University of California, 1997
  The New Historicism and Other Old-Fashioned Topics. Princeton UP, 1991
  Cross-examinations of Law and Literature: Cooper, Hawthorne, Stowe, and Melville. Cambridge UP, 1987
  James Joyce's "Ulysess': A Book of Many Happy Returns. LSU Press, 1982.
  Liberty Ltd.: Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, and Literaure. Gunter Narr Verlag, 2006. (edited)
  Law and Literature. Gunter Narr, 2002. (edited)
  Literature and the Nation. Gunter Narr, 1998 (edited)
  Plessy v. Ferguson: A Brief History with Documents. Bedford, 1997. (edited)
  “The Legal and Literary Complexities of U.S. Citizenship Around 1900,” Law & Literature 22 (2010): 307-24.

“The Clansman’s Race-Based Anti-Imperialist Imperialism,” Mississippi Quarterly 62 (2010): 303-33.

“Thomas Dixon’s A Man of the People: How Lincoln Saved the Union by Cracking Down on Civil Liberties,” Law & Literature 20 (2008): 21-46.
  "(The) Nation-State Matters: Comparing Multiculturalism(s) in an Age of
Globalization," in Globalization and the Humanities, (2004)
  "A Constitution Led by the Flag: The INSULAR CASES and the Metaphor of Incorporation," FOREIGN IN A DOMESTIC SENSE, eds. Christina Duffy Burnett and Burke Marshall, Duke UP, 2001: 82-103.
  "Stigmas, Badges, and Brands: Discriminating Marks in Legal History." History, Memory, and the Law. (1999)
American Studies Association
Herman Melville Society
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Last updated 08/24/2010