Department Chair, Professor
Office: Faner, Room 2368
David Anthony is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at SIUC. His research for the past ten years or so has revolved around the related representations of manhood and money in antebellum mass culture. His book, Paper Money Men: Commerce, Manhood, and the Sensational Public Sphere in Antebellum America, was published by Ohio State University Press in the Fall of 2009. He has also published essays on this issue in journals such as American Literature (2004 and 1997), The Yale Journal of Criticism (1999) and Early American Literature (2005), and has received research fellowships for this work from the American Antiquarian Society (1997; 2000; 2005), the Library Company of Philadelphia (2000), and SIUC (2000).
A new project, tentatively entitled “The Sensational Jew in Early America,” is emerging from the above book. Here Anthony examines the many ways in which the Jew acted as the figure through which the white middle-class Gentile culture of the antebellum period sought to imagine its relationship to money, property, race, and sexuality. Chapters include studies of narratives about the “Jessica” character in American sensationalism (i.e. stories that reinvent Shylock’s daughter from Merchant of Venice); narratives about Jews and abducted or orphaned children (i.e. reinventions of Oliver Twist); and narratives about Jews, slavery, and the American South.
Anthony is also the author of Something for Nothing, a novel forthcoming with Algonquin books in June, 2011. Below is a blurb from Algonquin’s Spring 2011 catalog, in which the discerning reader will see links between Anthony’s critical work and his fiction: “Set in Northern California during the 1974 oil embargo, Something for Nothing traces the desperate efforts of Martin Anderson to save his failing small aircraft business—and with it an extravagant lifestyle that includes race horses, a deep-sea fishing boat, a cabin in Lake Tahoe, and an expensive suburban home—by flying heroin up from Mexico. But things quickly unravel: a narcotics detective enters the picture, the people in the drug world prove less than trustworthy, and Anderson’s domestic life begins to break apart. Longing for security and happiness even as he remains blind to the requirements for such rewards, Anderson thus becomes a figure for America’s own anxiety and denial during this period of economic downturn.”
Early American Literature