Soltysik Monnet Agnieszka

Soltysik Monnet Agnieszka

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Faculté des lettres

Section d'anglais
Position(s): Professeure ordinaire

Section d'anglais
Quartier UNIL-Chamberonne
Bâtiment Anthropole 5133
CH - 1015 Lausanne
Phone: 021 692 29 94

Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet


Culture anglophone
Discourse analysis
Ecologie et littérature
Etudes genre
Littéraire et culture afro-américaine
Littérature et sociologie
Littérature gothique et fantastique
Littérature nord-américaine
Récits de guerre

Scientific distinctions and prizes

Russel B. Nye Annual Award for Outstanding Essay in the Journal of Popular Culture 2019




My areas of specialization are cultural studies, gender and queer theory, the emotional and political work of genre (including melodrama, horror, American Gothic and adventure), and currently, representations of war. I have a background in film studies and work with cinema as well as visual culture and literature. In recent years I have taught and researched the role of genre in the affective and ideological role of narratives about combat and warfare — especially representations of military death — and am finishing a book on this topic. This project has taken me deep into the world of American nationalism, the cult of the flag, the highly ambivalent and symbolically charged role of the military, and the place of gender in American self-definition and political rhetoric. A recurring question that motivates my research is how art, literature and language can be used to promote social justice and a more sustainable future — and I have as a result been increasingly concerned with environmental issues. Finally, I have particular expertise on the following authors: Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Louisa May Alcott, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Henry James, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Maxine Hong Kingston, Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, David Foster Wallace.



Combat Death in Contemporary American Culture: Popular Conceptions of War since WWII. Lanham, MD and London: Lexington Books, 2021.

War has become a fixture of American culture. It has been a constant background fact of U.S. geopolitics, it forms the theme of countless books, films and games, and despite many deaths and mostly failed military campaigns, it seems to exert an enduring fascination on politicians and citizens alike. This book explores how war has been portrayed in the United States since the Second World War, with a particular focus on an emotionally charged but rarely scrutinized topic: combat death. The author argues that most stories about war use three main building blocks: melodrama, adventure, and horror. Melodrama and adventure have helped make war seem acceptable to the American public by portraying combat death as a meaningful sacrifice, and by making military killing look necessary and often even pleasurable. Horror no longer serves its traditional purpose of making the bloody realities of war injury and death repulsive, and has been repurposed in recent years to intensify the positivity of melodrama and adventure. What emerges from this book is a fascinating diagnosis of how war stories perform ideological and emotional work, and how they manage to have such a powerful grip on the American imagination. 

ISBN: 978-1-7936-3495-5 and 978-1-7936-3496-2 (e-book)

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 “Revisiting Adventure,” Special issue of the Journal of Popular Culture. Co-edited with Johan Höglund. Volume 51, Issue 6 (December 2018).

This special issue observes that the adventure genre/mode has become increasingly central to contemporary popular culture but that scholarship on this this has largely focused on British fiction before WWII. This volume builds upon this scholarly tradition and emphasizes the way in which adventure is tightly interwoven with the modern projects of nation building and imperialism. These observations function as a starting point for an issue that will redress the fact that adventure is largely un-theorized as a contemporary form uniquely invested in the representation of violence as pleasure. We are interested in examining adventure in its ideological, aesthetic, performative, and affective aspects, focusing on its cultural work. This issue also considers the contribution of new interactive media forms such as computer games, gender positions absent from earlier adventure narrative, and explores the racial dynamics specific to the contemporary global context.

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Linnie Blake and Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet, eds. Neoliberal gothic: International gothic in the neoliberal age. Manchester University Press, 2017.

The explosion of interest in the gothic in recent years has coincided with a number of seismic political changes that have reshaped the world as we know it. Neoliberal Gothic explores that world, considering the ways in which the exponential increase in the cultural visibility of the gothic attests to the mode's engagement with the most significant dynamics of our age. These include the triumph of free market economics, the revolution in information and communication technologies, the emergence of global biotechnologies, the increasing power of transnational corporations, the US-led 'War on Terror' and the global financial crisis of 2008.

Through analysis of texts drawn from literature, film, television, theatre and the visual arts (from the Europe to South East Asia, Africa to North and South America) the collection examines the ways in which the representational strategies of the gothic mode are ideally suited to an exploration of the dark side of neoliberal enterprise.

ISBN: 978-1-5261-1344-3

Publisher's Website



Langlotz, Andreas, and Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet, eds. Emotion, Affect and Sentiment: The Language and Aesthetics of Feeling. SPELL 30. Tübingen: Gunter Narr, 2014.

Bringing together experts from linguistics, medieval and modern literary studies, this volume offers a transhistorical look at the language and cultural work of emotion in a variety of written, oral and visual texts. Contributors engage with the recent so-called affective turn, but also examine the language and use of emotion from a variety of perspectives, touching on issues such as Romantic and Modernist aesthetics, the history of emotions, melodrama and the Gothic, emotional rhetoric, reception aesthetics, rudeness, swearing and attitudes to varieties of English.

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Edwards, Justin D., and Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet, eds. The Gothic in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture: Pop Goth. Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature. London: Routledge, 2012.

This interdisciplinary collection brings together world leaders in Gothic Studies, offering dynamic new readings on popular Gothic cultural productions from the last decade. Topics covered include, but are not limited to: contemporary High Street Goth/ic fashion, Gothic performance and art festivals, Gothic popular fiction from Twilight to Shadow of the Wind, Goth/ic popular music, Goth/ic on TV and film, new trends like Steampunk, well-known icons Batman and Lady Gaga, and theorizations of popular Gothic monsters (from zombies and vampires to werewolves and ghosts) in an age of terror/ism.

ISBN: 9780415806763 (hardback)
ISBN: 9781138016507 (paperback)

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Soltysik Monnet, Agnieszka. The Poetics and Politics of the American Gothic: Gender and Slavery in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Farnham and Burlington: Ashgate, 2010.

Taking as its point of departure recent insights about the performative nature of genre, The Poetics and Politics of the American Gothic challenges the critical tendency to accept at face value that gothic literature is mainly about fear. Instead, Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet argues that the American Gothic, and gothic literature in general, is also about judgment: how to judge and what happens when judgment is confronted with situations that defy its limits.

Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Gilman, and James all shared a concern with the political and ideological debates of their time, but tended to approach these debates indirectly. Thus, Monnet suggests, while slavery and race are not the explicit subject matter of antebellum works by Poe and Hawthorne, they nevertheless permeate it through suggestive analogies and tacit references. Similarly, Melville, Gilman, and James use the gothic to explore the categories of gender and sexuality that were being renegotiated during the latter half of the century. Focusing on "The Fall of the House of Usher," The Marble Faun, Pierre, The Turn of the Screw, and "The Yellow Wallpaper," Monnet brings to bear minor texts by the same authors that further enrich her innovative readings of these canonical works. At the same time, her study persuasively argues that the Gothic's endurance and ubiquity are in large part related to its being uniquely adapted to rehearse questions about judgment and justice that continue to fascinate and disturb.

ISBN: 9781409400561

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Austenfeld, Thomas and Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet, eds. Writing American Women. SPELL 23. Tübingen: Gunter Narr, 2009.

The essays in Writing American Women offer a sustained investigation of what writing has meant for North American women authors from the earliest captivity narratives to Kym Ragusa’s acclaimed recent memoir, The Skin Between Us (2006). By focusing on women rather than the more porous category of gender, contributors offer a meaningful survey ofthe issues that have shaped women’s writing in America. Some of the questions that emerge with particular force include the fraught relationship of women authors to the institutions of literary production, their complex geographical and cultural self-definition, and the special place of autobiography in their work. Combining historical, literary, institutional, and theoretical considerations, this volume brings into focus the rich nuances and heterogeneity of contemporary American studies as well as the vital contributions of women writers to American literature. Writers discussed in this book include Mary Rowlandson, Lucy Larcom, Amy Lowell, Louisa May Alcott, Edith Wharton, Kay Boyle, Nancy Huston and Lois-Ann Yamanaka.

ISBN: 9783823365211

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