Dream Work / Witch Mother

Dream Work / Witch Mother” (pdf) – Lenora Hanson, 2019

Lenora Hanson is an Assistant Professor of English at NYU. Her work looks to figurative language as it structured Romantic-era concepts of life and, in the process, blurred boundaries between bodies, species, and populations. In particular, she is interested in how scientific and economic discourses operated through the language of poetry, relying on tropes of substitution and exchange, animation and deanimation, totality and parts to posit claims about biological life and reproduction. Her current research focuses on how such language was used—in both literary and non-literary texts—to distinguish political revolutions from political disruptions (such as riots, rebellions, sabotage, etc.) in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and how such distinctions turned on an association of the latter with the nonhuman and the mechanical. This project puts Romanticism into direct conversation with contemporary political theory and its attention to surplus populations, primitive accumulation, political agency, and competing notions of materialism.