Guinn Batten

​Associate Professor of English
Director of Honors in English
PhD, Duke University
research interests:
  • Irish Literature
  • Nineteenth-Century British
  • Theory
  • Women and Gender Studies
  • Gender and Sexuality
    View All People

    contact info:

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
    • CB 1122
    • One Brookings Dr.
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
    image of book cover

    Professor Batten's work focuses on Irish literature and poetry. She is completing a book on states of emergency, the ethics of violence, and sexual difference in the poetry of English Romanticism and modern Ireland.

    Professor Batten is the author of The Orphaned Imagination: Melancholy and Commodity Culture in English Romanticism(1998), and she is a co-editor of Romantic Generations: Essays in Honor of Robert F. Gleckner (2001). Recently she has been involved in three Cambridge University Press projects associated with Irish Poetry. She is co-editor, with Dillon Johnston, of the section "Irish Poetry in English, 1945 to the Present" for the Cambridge History of Irish Literature and a contributor to The Cambridge Companion to Contemporary Irish Poetry (published Sept. 2003) and The Cambridge Companion to the Poetry of Seamus Heaney (Fall 2008). With the support of a Fulbright award to Ireland in fall 2008, she is completing a book on states of emergency, the ethics of violence, and sexual difference in the poetry of English Romanticism and modern Ireland. She will also complete contributions for two Blackwell projects, a companion to the study of English Romantic poetry and a two-volume history of Irish literature. Formerly the manager and editor of Wake Forest University Press (the major publisher of Irish poetry in North America), she selected, edited, and wrote an Afterword for the North American edition of Medbh McGuckian's, The Soldiers of Year II (2002).


    Teaching Award, for outstanding work as a graduate mentor, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008


    • L14 3991: Senior Research Seminar
    • L14 3992: Senior Research Seminar II
    • L14 4485: Modern Irish Narratives and Questions of Identity
    • L14 3525: Topics in Literature: 20th Century Irish Poetry: Yeats and Heaney
    • L14 3552: Introduction to Literary Theory
    • L14 3522: Topics in Literature: Romantic British Literature, 1789-1830
    • L14 4485: Topics in Irish Literature I: Modern Irish Narrative and the Troubles, 1898-1998
    The Orphaned Imagination

    The Orphaned Imagination

    Studies of the English Romantic poets generally portray them either as transcending the workings of capitalism or as working in complicity with an entrepreneurial economy. In The Orphaned Imagination, Guinn Batten challenges standard accounts of Romantic poetry and argues that Wordsworth, Byron, Blake, Shelley, Keats, and Coleridge—each of whom suffered the loss of a father or father-figure at an early age—possessed an orphan’s special insight into the dynamics and aesthetics of commodity culture and its symptomatic melancholia.