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‘The Hot Center’: The Literary Establishment, circa 1963

Tue, 2/20 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 40 McCosh

Laura McGrath, Temple University

A public lecture in connection with the graduate seminar “Postwar New York,” organized by Joshua Kotin and sponsored by Postwar New York: Workshops, a Humanities Council Magic Grant for Innovation, and the Department of English.

Laura B. McGrath specializes in computational literary criticism and contemporary American literature. She holds a Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University. Prior to joining the faculty at Temple, she was associate director of the Literary Lab at Stanford University. Her research and teaching focus on American literature post-1945, digital humanities and cultural analytics, literary sociology, and contemporary literary production.

She is at work on a book called Middlemen: Literary Agents and the Making of Contemporary American Literature, under contract with Princeton UP, and supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. She draws on a range of methods — data analysis, close reading, literary ethnography — to reveal the literary agent’s centrality in the development of American literature, post-1965.

Her work has been published or is forthcoming in New Literary History, American Literary History, Post45, CA: The Journal of Cultural Analytics, and the Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Fiction, 1980 2020. She is the recipient of the 1921 Prize in American Literature, awarded to the best essay by an untenured scholar in 2021, for her essay “Literary Agency,” published in ALH. Her public writing has appeared The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Review of BooksPublic Books, and Post45:Contemporaries. She is one of the founding co-editors of the Post45 Data Collective.

She has held fellowships with the Price Lab for Digital Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania and the Smithsonian Institute of American History. Her work has been supported by the Mellon Foundation and the Big Ten.

Photo credit: Robert Frank. New York City, 1960. Gelatin silver print. 22.5 x 34.3 cm. (8.9 x 13.5 in.)

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