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Anna Neill

Associate Professor and Chair

2030 Wescoe Hall

Ph.D. (Cornell)

Areas of Research

18th- and 19th-century British; discovery literature; Victorian literature and evolutionary science.

Selected Publications


Primitive Minds: Evolution and Spiritual Experience in the Victorian Novel (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 2013)
British Discovery Literature and the Rise of Global Commerce (Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Publishers, 2002).
Consciousness in Interdisciplinary Perspective: Discussions from the Humanities Fall Faculty Colloquium 2011. Co-edited with Leslie Tuttle. KU ScholarWorks, June 2012.

Selected Articles, Chapters, Review Essays

"Marvelous Plasticity and the Fortunes of Species in The Water Babies." Forthcoming from Philosophy and Literature.

"Sympathy, Superstition, and Narrative Form; Or, Why is Silas Marner so Short? A Response to John Mazaheri," Connotations: A Journal of Critical Debate Vol. 21.1 (2011/2012): 20-27.

“Evolution and Epilepsy in Bleak House.”  SEL (Studies in English Literature), Fall 2011.

"Soul-Shaking Science." Review of Blakey Vermeule, Why Do We Care About Literary Characters (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010). The Evolutionary Review 2:1 (2011), 206-8.

“The Savage Genius of Sherlock Holmes.”  Victorian Literature and Culture 37 (2009): 611-26.

“The Primitive Mind of Silas Marner.”  ELH  75 (2008), 939-962.

“Criticism, Ethics, and the Problem of Rehabilitation,” Law, Culture and the Humanities 2 (2006), 284-300.

“New Museology and the Nation,” in On Display: Essays in Cultural Tourism, eds. Anna Smith and Lydia Wevers (Wellington, N.Z. Victoria University Press, 2004).

“Pacific Trade and the Character of Captains: James Cook and William Bligh,”  in The Global Eighteenth-Century, ed. Felicity Nussbaum (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003).

“Hollywood's Pacific Junk: The Wreckage of Colonial History in Six Days and Seven Nights and Rapa Nui” (co-authored with Jonathan Gil Harris), The UTS Review 7: 2 (2001), 68-85.

“Civilization and the Rights of Woman: Liberty and Captivity in the Work of Mary Wollstonecraft.” Women’s Writing 8: 1 (2001), 99-117.

“‘A Land Without a Past’: Dreamtime and Nation in The Piano,” in Piano Lessons, eds. Felicity Coombs and Suzanne Gemmell (Sydney: John Libby Press, 2000), 136-147.  (Also published in 2000 by Indiana University Press.)


Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2011

Conger-Gabel Teaching Professor, 2010-13

Keeler Family Intra-University Professorship, Fall 2009

Humanities Research Fellowship, Hall Center for the Humanities, Fall 2000

Ahmanson-Getty Post-doctoral Fellowship,UCLA, Spring 2000

Faculty Profile

I am a New Zealander who has been in the US for several decades and who has endeavored to forget ocean, mountains, and temperate weather ever since I moved to Kansas in 1996. Home tugs at me from time to time in the form of occasional writing on Pacific matters but most of my research focuses on British literature of the 18th- and 19th-centuries. My forthcoming book, Primitive Minds: Evolution and Spiritual Experience in the Victorian Novel, deals with a recent cluster of interests in evolutionary science, Victorian psychology, and spiritualism, while my most current research focus is on the evolutionary implications of Victorian accounts of cognitive development. I teach courses in my literary fields, but I also teach critical theory at both the introductory undergraduate and the graduate levels. In the past, I have helped organize and teach poetry classes at Douglas County Jail, and I have published on the relationship between criticism and corrections. I have also written articles on film, on the post-colonial politics of museum display, and on the institutional career of cultural studies.

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