Mark Storey

May 27, 2021

Time and Antiquity in American Empire

Roma Redux

Oxford University Press 2021

This is Carrie Lynn, welcoming you back to New Books in Literary Studies, a podcast channel on the New Books Network. Today I’m looking forward to sharing with you Time and Antiquity in American Empire: Roma Redux (Oxford UP, 2021) by Dr. Mark Storey, a book about two empires—America and Rome—and, as Storey puts it, the forms of time we create when we think about these empires together. Ranging from the eighteenth century to the present day, through novels, journalism, film, and photography, Time and Antiquity in American Empire reconfigures our understanding of how cultural and political life has generated an analogy between Roman antiquity and the imperial US state—both to justify and perpetuate it, and to resist and critique it.

The book takes in a wide scope, from theories of historical time and imperial culture, through the twin political pillars of American empire—republicanism and slavery—to the popular literary genres that have reimagined America's and Rome's sometimes strange orbit, specifically Christian fiction, travel writing, and science fiction. Through this conjunction of literary history, classical reception studies, and the philosophy of history, Storey builds a more fundamental inquiry into how we imagine both our politics and ourselves within historical time. He outlines a new relationship between text and context, and between history and culture. Offering a fresh reckoning with the historicist protocols of literary study, this book suggests that recognizing the shape of history we step into when we analogize with the past is also a way of thinking about how we have read—and how we might yet read.

Mark Storey is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. He was a founding member of the British Association of Nineteenth-Century Americanists and has held fellowships at the University of Virginia and the Houghton Library at Harvard. His research and teaching interests lie broadly in American literature and culture, and he is currently working on projects in two areas: critical theory and historical time, and horror and the gothic.

Carrie Lynn Evans is a PhD student at Université Laval in Quebec City.

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