Chris Bundock

Assistant Professor
BA Victoria (English), MA Western (Theory & Criticism), MA Western (English), PhD Western (English).

Office: AH 323
E-mail: Chris.Bundock@uregina.ca.
Phone: 306-585-4302

Research interests
Aesthetics; British Romanticism, especially Baillie, Blake, Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, and the Shelleys; corporeality, affect, and sensation in literary and scientific media; Enlightenment philosophy, especially Hume and Kant; German Idealism and phenomenology; Gothic literature; historiography; poetry and poetics.

Most of my research is rooted in the transitional period circa 1780 - 1830 typically identified as “Romanticism.” Within this aesthetic and cultural moment I’m particularly interested in how British and European culture understood itself as historical in new—and newly urgent—ways. In my first book, Romantic Prophecy and the Resistance to Historicism, I focused this inquiry by looking specifically at the paradoxical ways in which Romantic poets, novelists, philosophers, and cultural actors turn to prophecy in an effort to clarify historical and political incoherence. What the research reveals is that prophecy does not, however, tend to function, as we might expect it to, in a conservative, regulative, predictive way. In fact, it becomes prophecy’s pattern of complete and repeated failure that proves most productive for Romantics as a way to stage new possibilities for the future, possibilities that are unformed and yet promise to move humanity beyond existing social impasses.

 

This negative, purgative quality of prophecy parallels my interest in the Gothic as a mode of writing that tests the limits of symbolization. The 18th-century Gothic functions as a kind of closet for storing experiences too inchoate, incoherent, perverse, or socially inappropriate to exist in “proper” culture. William Blake’s Gothic Sensibility, a collection of essays I’m editing for Manchester University Press, focuses on how the English artist, engraver, and poet William Blake helps re-define the Gothic from a basically architectural concern to a genre intimately related to affect, sexuality, deformation, and the dark side of the imagination.

 

My current book project, Romanticism’s Foreign Bodies, focuses on how bodies in Romanticism react to “foreign objects” that these same bodies incorporate. In other words, I’m interested in how the body becomes other to itself in peculiar and acute ways in Romanticism. On one hand, there is the culturally foreign body. I look specifically at racial theories that develop over the course of the nineteenth century, especially in reference to Jewish difference—a difference imagined to be radical and essential (because spiritual and ethnic) and yet extremely difficult to isolate. On the other hand—though related to this problem of identification—there’s one’s own uncannily foreign body. In this vein I look specifically at Romantic medical science and literature that focuses on “nervous” conditions where the body—what we assume we know so well and the very basis for empirical information—turns out to be strange and estranging. I touch on topics such as the placebo effect, phantom limb pain, and hypochondria, among other things. I also focus on how anatomy and autopsy, as modes of understanding and rhetorical structures, often raise more questions than they answer.

 

Select Publications

 

Books

 

William Blake’s Gothic Imagination: Bodies of Horror. Ed. with Elizabeth Effinger. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2018.

 

Romantic Prophecy and the Resistance to Historicism. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016.

 

Articles

 

William Blake’s Gothic Imagination: Bodies of Horror. Ed. with Elizabeth Effinger. Manchester:
Manchester UP, 2018.

Romantic Prophecy and the Resistance to Historicism. Toronto: University of Toronto Press,
2016.

Articles

“Blake's Nervous System: Hypochondria, Judaism, and Jerusalem.” Blake: Modernity and
Disaster. Ed. Joel Faflak and Tilottama Rajan. Toronto: University of Toronto Press,
2018.

“Between Saints and Monsters: Elegy, Materialization, and Gothic Historiography in Percy
Shelley’s 'Adonais' and 'The Wandering Jew.'” Romantic Circles Praxis. Percy Shelley and the Delimitation of the Gothic (2016): 28 para.

“Historicism, Temporalization, and Romantic Prophecy in Percy Shelley’s Hellas.” Rethinking
British Romantic History, 1780-1840. Ed. Porscha Fermanis and John Regan. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2015. 144-64.

“'And thence from Jerusalems ruins': Romantic Prophecy and the Ends of History.” Literature
Compass. 10/11 (2013): 836-845.

“The (Inoperative) Epistolary Community in Eliza Fenwick’s Secresy [sic]. Transforming
Tragedy, Identity and Community. Ed. Lilla Maria Crisafulli, Tilottama Rajan and Diego
Saglia. London and New York: Routledge, 2011. 143-54.

“‘A feeling that I was not for that hour/ Nor for that place’: Wordsworth’s Modernity.” European
Romantic Review. 21.3 (2010): 383-89.

Recent Conference Presentations

“Morbid Sensibility.” Romantic Life. North American Society for the Study of Romanticism
(Ottawa, Ontario) August 10-13, 2017.

“‘A drowsy numbness pains / My sense’: Keats’s Pharmacopeia.” American Comparative
Literature Association (University of Utrecht, the Netherlands) July 6-9, 2017.

“Discontent with Perfection: Distillation and ‘Pure Feeling’ in Baillie’s The Tryal.” Romanticism
and Its Discontents: North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (Berkeley,
California) August 11-14, 2016.

“Nerves, Hypochondria, and the Fibrous Imagination in Blake's Jerusalem.” Association of
Canadian College and University Teachers of English (Calgary, Alberta) May 28-31,
2016.

“Dissection, Phantom Limbs, and the Right to Death in Wollstonecraft's The Wrongs of Woman,
or Maria.” Romanticism and Rights: North American Society for the Study of
Romanticism (Winnipeg, Manitoba) August 13-16, 2015.

“'Like a fear to come': Dislocated Affect in The Prelude.” Association of Canadian College and
University Teachers of English (Ottawa, Ontario) May 30 – June 2, 2015.

“Dissecting De Monfort: Gothic Autopsy and the Reorganization of Passions.” Romantic
Organizations: North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (Washington, DC) July 10-13, 2014.

“Bodies of Knowledge: Joanna Southcott and Hysterical History.” Capitals: American
Comparative Literature Association (NYU), March 20-23, 2014.

Students Examined

Matt Wincherauk (Regina) BA Hons. “The Fantastical Urban Gothic: Challenging Heroism in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.”

Destiny Kaus (Regina) BA Hons. “‘Tranquilizing Belief’: Melancholic Ambivalence in Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions.”

Jeff King (Western) Ph.D. Dark Sympathy: Desiring the Other in Godwin, Coleridge, and Shelley.

Supervisory Committees

Lara Stoudt (Regina) M.A. From ‘House to Home’: The Structure of a Soul Journey in Christina Rossetti’s Devotional Writing.