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Grant number like: FA-52966-07

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FA-52966-07Research Programs: Fellowships for University TeachersMaurice Sherwood LeeChance, Skepticism, and Belief in American Literature, 1820-18701/1/2008 - 9/30/2008$40,000.00MauriceSherwoodLee   Boston UniversityBostonMA02215-1300USA2006American LiteratureFellowships for University TeachersResearch Programs400000400000

This book project shows how changing conceptions of chance shape literary encounters with skepticism in the writings of Poe, Thoreau, Douglass, Melville, and Dickinson. By reading their texts in relation to mid-nineteenth-century scientific and popular constructions of chance, I hope to make four contributions to American literary and cultural studies: 1) recover chance as an epistemological and aesthetic subject for major literary figures; 2) extend recent scholarship that sees science as a generative context for nineteenth-century literature; 3) explore how “high” theories of chance penetrate cultural practices; and 4) show how mid-nineteenth-century writers anticipate modern discussions of chance.