Department of English Language and Literature and the College
Alexis Chema is a scholar of Romantic literature and culture, with particular interest in poetry and iconography, and the civic functions they have been engaged to serve. In her book in progress, “Fascinating Graces: Poetry and the Arts of Communication,” she notes that questions that have long been central to the discipline of rhetoric, such as how to use language to reach out and touch, move, argue with, change somebody’s mind, and make oneself understood, take on urgency for poets and politicians in light of the emergence of a print-mediated public sphere. Her research draws on periodical writing, fugitive verse, and commonplace books to argue that the democratization of reading in the 18th and 19th centuries gave rise to new poetically informed theories of public persuasion.
Chema received her PhD in English from Yale University, where she also earned a certificate in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. She holds a BA in English from Georgetown University. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Lannan Foundation, World Monuments Fund, and Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.