Hollis Robbins

Literature and Bureaucracy
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Department of English

Hollis Robbins is completing a project entitled "Stimulating Narratives: Literary Dynamics in the Early Bureaucratic Era," which explores the relationship between bureaucratic and literary forms. From early British census forms and patent applications to U.S. customs forms and postage stamps to international bills of lading, government forms stimulated literary production. While bureaucratic paperwork is not typically thought of as creative or literary, it is certainly a type of cultural production, and one that has the remarkable ability to provoke more traditional forms of cultural and artistic output. Combining literary-formalist and historicist theoretical models, this project examines the role of government policy (primarily bureaucratic, record-keeping policy) in animating American and British literature of the nineteenth century, and provides an alternative theoretical model for conceiving the culture/policy nexus.