Kerry Dean Carso

Kerry Dean Carso is chair and associate professor of art history at the State University of New York at New Paltz in the mid-Hudson Valley, where she teaches courses on American art and architecture. Her research focuses on interconnections between the arts and literature in the nineteenth-century United States. She is the author of American Gothic Art and Architecture in the Age of Romantic Literature (University of Wales Press, 2014), winner of the 2015 Henry-Russell Hitchcock Award from the Victorian Society in America. In fall 2014, she co-edited with Thomas Wermuth an issue of The Hudson River Valley Review on “Painters, Writers, and Tourists in the Nineteenth Century” and contributed an essay to the volume. She is currently researching nineteenth-century garden and park architecture in the United States. In 2014 she was named a “Scholar-In-Residence” at Grey Towers National Historic Site, the ancestral home of conservationist Gifford Pinchot, in Milford, Pennsylvania.

If you could go back to the nineteenth century to change one thing, what would it be? This year marks the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Andrew Jackson Downing (1815-1852), the American landscape gardener, horticulturist and pattern book author. I have often wondered what more Downing could have accomplished if he had not died tragically at age 36 in the Henry Clay steamboat disaster on the Hudson River. His idea for a large public park in New York City, brought to fruition by Downing’s architectural partner Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted in their design for Central Park, hints at the rich possibilities of Downing’s achievements had he lived a longer life.

What historical figure would you love to see in 21st-century life? Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle fell asleep for twenty years and was astonished at how much had changed in that time. Imagine if Irving could re-appear in our world! I would have a cup tea on the verandah of Irving’s home Sunnyside overlooking the Hudson River and chat with him about the changes from his time to ours.

What’s your favorite nineteenth-century quotation? Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote “In a certain way, however, I understand [Sir Walter Scott’s] romances the better for having seen his house; and his house the better, for having read his romances. They throw light on one another.” Hawthorne’s quotation perfectly articulates the importance of interdisciplinary investigations of architecture and literature, a subject that has long fascinated me.

Which nineteenth-century fictional character do you wish was real? Who wouldn’t want to meet the elusive Bartleby, the Scrivener and ask him why he would prefer not to?

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Kate Oestreich

My name is Dr. Kate Faber Oestreich (pronounced A-Strike). I am a proud Buckeye, having earned three degrees from The Ohio State University (BA, MA, PhD). I moved to South Carolina eleven years ago to to teach at Coastal Carolina University, where I am Associate Professor of Literature, Writing, and New Media. Dr. Jennifer Camden and I have co-authored a book entitled, Transmedia Storytelling: Pemberley Digital’s Adaptations of Jane Austen and Mary Shelley (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018). My scholarship and scholarly reviews have appeared in the Victorians Institute Journal, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, Companion to Victorian Popular Fiction, The CEA Critic, ARIEL, and the edited collection Straight Writ Queer. I serve on the Board and the Executive Committee of the Nineteenth Century Studies Association, where I am also Co-Director of Electronic Communications and Co-Chair of the Web and Publicity committee. My favorite book of all time is Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods, which ignited my love for all things Nineteenth Century.

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