Maeve Adams

Assistant Professor



  • PHD, New York University
  • MA, New York University
  • BA, Smith College

Courses Taught

ENGL 110    College Writing

ENGL 150    Roots: Literature

ENGL 248    Masterworks of British Literature

ENGL 310    British Literature II: Romantics through the Present

ENGL 365    Children's Literature


  • Research

    Research Interests

    • Victorian literature
    • Intellectual history and the history of ideas
    • History of science
    • Literatures and histories of war
    • Gender studies
    • Colonial and postcolonial studies
    • Media studies
    • Visual culture
    • Genre studies
    • Cultural studies
    • Histories of socio-political movements


    Current Projects

    I am currently working on two book projects that explore the intersections of literature, science and social movements in nineteenth-century Britain. The first project—“Forms of Persuasion in Nineteenth-Century Britain”—explores the history of persuasion, as writers various conceived of the philosophy and practice of persuasion, or what writers called “rhetorical force,” in the context of the Napoleonic wars, the rise of modern sciences and social and political reform movements of the period. I argue that new conceptions of persuasion emerged in the nineteenth century and that we can retell the emergence of nineteenth-century genres as various, intertwined “experiments in persuasion”—from lyric poetry and the realist novel to war journalism and statistical writing.

    The second project extends the literary and intellectual history of my first project by investigating the origins of modern academic disciplines by examining and historicizing the emergence of the modern academic journal. This second project is a hybrid project combining traditional literary historical practices of close reading with new methods of digital humanities research. Using data-mining software, I study the development of scholarly discourses across a wide range of scholarly journals that emerged in the middle- and late-nineteenth century from across disciplines, including biology, anthropology, political science, and literary studies. I locate a shared origin of such disciplines in a common syntactical pattern that I have identified in those journals: namely, a concern with the “forms of…” things that disciplines study. The project thus also offers a new history of nineteenth century formalism by identifying the unique concept of form that, as I show, writers did not inherit from the Enlightenment but, rather, that they invented in the context of ongoing social, political, intellectual, and scientific developments peculiar to the nineteenth century.

  • Publications and Scholarly Activities



    • “‘The force of my narrative’: Persuasion, Nation and Paratext in Walter Scott’s Early Waverley Novels,” ELH: English Literary History, forthcoming.

    • “Numbers and Narratives: Epistemologies of Aggregation in British Statistics and Social Realism, c. 1790-1880,” Statistics and the Public Sphere: Numbers and the People in Modern Britain, c.1750- c.1950, ed. by Tom Crook and Glen O’ Hara (Routledge, 2011), 103-120.

    • “Amazons, Anarchic Women and the De/construction of Imperial Authority in Nineteenth-Century Colonial Literature,” Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies 6.1 (Spring 2010).Web.

    • Review of Paul E. Kerry and Jesse S. Crisler, eds., Literature and Belief (Brigham Young UP, 2005), Journal of British Studies 46 (October 2007): 972-974.

    Conference Presentations

    • “Using Digital Tools in the Classroom and in Research.” Invited talk. The Humanities Initiative, New York University (February 11, 2014)

    • “'Forms of…': The Academic Journal, Evidence, and the Digital Interface.” North American Victorian Studies Association Conferences, Pasadena, CA (October 25, 2013) 

    • “The Mixed Media of Nineteenth-Century Science: Mapping Knowledge, Genres and Discursive Networks.” Victorians Institute Conference, Virginia Commonwealth University (October 19, 2012)

    • “Mapping Epistemic Communities in Victorian Britain: A Network Model.” North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, Madison, WI (September 28, 2012)

    • “The Early Academic Journal; or, A (Literary) History of Persuasion.” MLA Victorian Period Division Panel, MLA Conference, Seattle, WA (January 6, 2012)

    • “Recounting the Family: The Census, Reform and Social Accounting in Nineteenth-Century Britain.” Victorians Institute Conference, University of Virginia (October 1, 2010)

    • “The Rhetoric of Science and the Scottish Science of Rhetoric.” The Science of Mind and Body in the Scottish Enlightenment, Princeton Theological Seminary (June 6, 2010)

    • “Darwin’s Voyage on Ahab’s Pequod: ‘Scientific Realism’ and the Strange Case of Moby Dick.” The Culture of Print, Technology, Engineering and Medicine, Center for the History of Print Culture at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (September 12, 2008)

    • “Statistical Realism, Bureaucratic Fiction and Affective Aggregation.” Numbers, Norms and the People, Oxford Brookes University (September 5, 2008)

    • “Melville’s ‘Specimen Mouthful,’ Scientific Realism and Some Nineteenth-Century Origins of Modern Interdisciplinarity.” American Comparative Literature Association Conference, Long Beach, CA (April 25, 2008)

    • “Commendable Objects: Marginal Utility, Financial Realism, and the Novel in 1870s England.” Joint Conference of the North American Victorian Studies Association and Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada, University of Victoria (October 12, 2007) (received Honorable Mention for Best Graduate Student Paper)

    • “Moral Reasoning and the Epistemology of Literary Study in Campbell’s Philosophy of Rhetoric.” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth Century Studies Association Conference, Rutgers, (March 31, 2006)

    • “Law, Narrative and Novels.” Storytelling Across the Disciplines Conference, New York (University, (February 4, 2005)

    • “Rewriting Homoeroticism: John Addington Symonds’ Leaves of Grass.” Victorian Frontiers, North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, University of Toronto (October 29, 2004)

    • “Mouthing Off: Technologies of Indirect Speech and the Androgynous Voice in Victorian (Pseudo)Science Fiction.” Technotopias Conference, University of Strathclyde, Scotland (July 11, 2002)


  • Professional Experience and Memberships
    • Assistant Professor, Manhattan College, 2013-

    • Lecturer, New York University, 2009-2013

    • Prize Teaching Fellow, New York University, 2008-2009

    • Graduate Fellow, New York University, 2002-2008


    Professional Memberships

    • Modern Language Association

    • North American Victorian Studies Association

    • Victorians Institute 



  • Honors, Awards, and Grants
    • Finalist, Golden Dozen Teaching Award, College of Arts and Sciences, NYU, Spring 2012

    • Awards of Teaching Excellence, Expository Writing Program, NYU, (2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2012-2013)

    • Prize Teaching Fellowship, Graduate School and Arts and Sciences, NYU, 2008-2009

    • Graduate Scholarship, Dickens Universe, Dickens Project, 2007 and 2008

    • Halsband Fellowship in Eighteenth-Century Studies, New York University, 2007-2008

    • Honorable Mention, Graduate Paper Prize, North American Victorian Studies Association, 2007

    • Enhanced MacCracken Fellowship, New York University, 2002-2009