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Michael Lee

About Michael Lee

Michael Parrish Lee is the author of The Food Plot in the Nineteenth-Century British Novel. His essays have appeared in Novel: A Forum on Fiction, Nineteenth-Century Literature, and Studies in the Novel, and his fiction has appeared in Conjunctions.

Current Teaching

  • Haunted Narratives
  • 20th and 21st Century
  • Poetry: Voice and Audience

Research Interests

Michael Parrish Lee's main research interests are in the fields of creative writing and nineteenth-century British literature and culture. His first book, The Food Plot in the Nineteenth-Century British Novel (2017), argues for the centrality of food, eating, and appetite in the nineteenth-century British novel. While much novel criticism has focused on the marriage plot, this book revises the history and theory of the novel, uncovering the “food plot” against which the marriage plot and modern subjectivity take shape. With the emergence of Malthusian population theory and its unsettling links between sexuality and the food supply, the British novel became animated by the tension between the marriage plot and the food plot. Charting the shifting relationship between these plots, from Jane Austen’s polite meals to Bram Stoker’s bloodthirsty vampires, this book sheds new light on some of the best-know works of nineteenth-century literature and pushes forward understandings of narrative, literary character, biopolitics, and the novel as a form.

A new book project, Novel Life Forms, seeks to develop a theory of literary character that is expansive enough to take into account nineteenth-century writers' fascination with non-human actors: the animals, plants, and objects that animate literature alongside--and often in collaboration or competition with--human characters.

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