Charlotte Cary-Beckett

Cohort Year: 2017
Research Interests: 18th & 19th century art and literature | cultural studies | internet aesthetics | the museum & the collection | house & garden
Education: B.A., English and French, Boston University, 2014; M.Phil, English, University of Cambridge, 2015; M.A., English, University of Chicago, 2019


In my dissertation project, I ask who gets to be eccentric and what counts as quaint in 19th-century fiction. I see both eccentricity and quaintness as affective or performative categories of Englishness, enduring categories that emerge with or through the nationalization of the English countryside in the 19th century. From country-house romanticism and enclosure resistance through to 20th-century lifestyle brands and present-day internet aesthetics, I am interested in what might be menacing about the whimsical (in Mitford’s Village, Eliot’s Hayslope, Bill Nighy’s Mr Woodhouse, or BBC’s Mary Berry for example). Here, and in other writing, I think about how anglophilic and imperially nostalgic scenes become neo- and eco-fascist grist in the post-Brexit imaginary.

This upcoming academic year, I look forward to teaching a standalone course on the literary and artistic tradition of the pastoral, from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century poetics through to popular aesthetics today (ex. cottagecore and its various internet subcultural cousins). Before beginning my studies at the University of Chicago, I worked with the curatorial team at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (NY) and then as Resident Art History Tutor at Wycombe Abbey School (UK). I currently serve as Resident Head of Thompson House, here at UChicago’s International House.


Workshop and Conference Experience

Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Cultures Workshop: Co-coordinator 2020-present

NASSR Conference, Chicago 2019: Assistant Organizer 


Recent Courses

Spring 2021: Course Assistant, Inventing Consciousness: Literature, Philosophy, Psychology (Tim Harrison) 

Winter 2021: Course Assistant, The Declaration of Independence (Eric Slauter) 

Spring 2020: Course Assistant, Richer and Poorer: Income Inequality (Elaine Hadley)