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Dawn Coleman

Dawn Coleman

Director of Graduate Studies & Associate Professor


Dr. Coleman's research interests include religion and American culture, nineteenth-century American literature, the Victorian novel, and forms of nineteenth-century secularism and religious skepticism. Her  book, Preaching and the Rise of the American Novel (Ohio State UP), shows how a range of mid-nineteenth-century American authors—male and female, black and white, elite and popular—appropriated the voice and figure of the popular preacher to establish the moral authority of fiction. Currently she is at work on a book titled The Secularization of American Women: Gender and the Shape of Unbelief, 1820 to 1890, on how fiction and other cultural texts represented the emergent phenomenon of female religious skepticism. She is also writing the critical introduction to William Ellery Channing’s Works for Melville’s Marginalia Online and an essay on recovering one of Melville’s erased annotations in that volume. She serves as book review editor for Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies, as a research associate for the Melville Electronic Library and on the editorial boards of American Studies, Sermon Studies, and the University of Tennessee Press.


M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School
Ph.D. Stanford University



Representative Articles:

  • “Melville and the Unitarian Conscience.” Melville and Religion. Eds. Brian Yothers and Jonathan Cook. Northwestern UP. (forthcoming)
  • “Senecan Self-Command and the Rhetoric of the Fugitive Slave.” Facing Melville, Facing Italy: Democracy, Politics, Translation. Eds. John Bryant, Gordon Poole, and Giorgio Mariani. Rome: Sapienza Università Editrice, 2014. 69-81.
  • “Critiquing Perfection: Hawthorne’s Revision of Salem’s Unitarian Saint,” Nathaniel Hawthorne Review 37.1 (2011): 1-19.
  • “The Antebellum American Sermon as Lived Religion.” A New History of the Sermon: The Nineteenth Century, ed. Robert Ellison. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2010.
  • “Daniel Deronda and the Limits of Sermonic Voice.” Studies in the Novel 40.4 (2008): 407-25.
  • “The Unsentimental Woman Preacher of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” American Literature 80.2 (2008): 265-292.
  • “Wired Victorians.” review of Charles Dickens in Cyberspace: The Afterlife of the Nineteenth Century in Postmodern Culture, by Jay Clayton, Novel: A Forum on Fiction, (2003/4) 2001-2004.
  • “No Love Story,” review of Unequal Partners: Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and Victorian Authorship, by Lillian Nayder, Novel: A Forum on Fiction, 36.1 (2002) 126-128.
  • Review of Radical Passion: Ottilie Assing’s Reports from America and Letters to Frederick Douglass. Edited, translated, and introduced by Christoph Lohmann. MELUS, 26.4 (2001): 256-258.
Dawn Coleman

Contact Information

  • 304 McClung Tower
  • Phone: (865) 974-6934
  • Fax: (865) 974-6926
  • E-mail:

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