Love, Labor, Loss

First, a confession: In 2011, I penned a pseudonymous article under the name Sally Racket (an anagram of Crystal Lake) for The Chronicle of Higher Education’s advice column. I’ve never publicly owned my authorship of “Survivor’s Guilt,” which describes how, well, guilty I felt when I learned that I’d finally landed a tenure-track job in English […]

Psycho (But Cute)

I used to think my emotional baseline was crazy, and even crazier that one week (if I’m lucky) out of the month when I’m in thrall to the indifferent mercy of the premenstrual cycle. During that week, in a condition of “existential disorientation,” to borrow Stephen Ahern’s words, I would gain, albeit temporarily, extraordinary powers […]

A Love Letter for Anne of Green Gables

What was it exactly? The moxie of Anne, her habit of wearing her heart on her sleeve, her unabashed love for her best friend and her crush? Her canny insights, her rhapsodizing about nature, her orphan-ness, her anger, her smarts, her shame, her triumphs? That baking soda company essay she wrote (presaging the artist-selling-out trope), the […]


‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all – Tennyson, “In Memoriam” Tennyson. I’ve never wanted to believe him here. Out of context, his statement feels like the kind of cold-comfort-yoga-self-help advice you’d share with a friend, in a dark moment, when what that friend really wants is a hug […]

Between Shakespeare, the World, and Me

Research projects always bear some intimate relation to one’s personal life and persistent preoccupations. The collaborative project I am beginning with Henry Turner about new understandings of the concept of “world” in the plays of William Shakespeare is no exception. This project had multiple origins and inspirations, but a primary motivation for me—often kept private—was […]

Meghan Markle, Good English Housewife

At a global moment rife with militarized borders, unease over refugees, and anti-immigration rhetoric, Meghan Markle’s royal marriage to Prince Harry provided a timely opportunity to showcase the inclusivity of the historically exclusionary white monarchy. Several aspects of the ceremony foregrounded blackness: for example, the significant position that Markle’s black mother, Doria Ragland, occupied; the […]

To Encounter the Muse

  Elisa Oh is an Associate Professor of English at Howard University, where she teaches British literature, Shakespeare, and literary theory.  Her research interests include women and silence, letters, and early modern drama. Her current book project, Choreographies of Race and Gender: Dance, Travel, and Ritual in Early Modern English Literature 1558-1642, examines the cultural processes […]

Allies and Friends: The Women’s March and Alice Curwen’s Quaker Testimonial

On January 19, 2019, the third iteration of the Women’s March took place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The now-annual protest defines itself as a woman-led movement dedicated to uniting diverse women in social struggle and dismantling systems of oppression. The first March (held on January 21, 2017–one day after President Trump’s […]

“Letter Boxes:” On Muslim Women and Inconstancy in the Early Modern Period

Various Western politicians and feminists continue to scrutinize Muslim women and make them and their hijab a site of racialization. Recently, Boris Johnson said this about Muslim women’s hijab: “it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes.” He continued by asserting that if “a female student turned up at […]

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