Mary Baine Campbell

Ruth and Clarence Kennedy Professor of English Language & Literature

Headshot of Mary Baine Campbell

Contact & Office Hours

Fall 2019

Wednesday, 11:00-12:00 p.m., Thursday, 9:00-10:30 a.m.

And by appointment.

21 Henshaw Avenue #203, Kahn Institute



Mary Baine Campbell is professor emerita of English, comparative literature and women’s and gender studies at Brandeis University, where she founded the creative writing program with Allen Grossman. She is a scholar of medieval and early modern travel writing, utopia and science (especially anthropology and cosmography), and also teaches poetry and environmental studies. Her books include The Witness and the Other World: Exotic European Travel Writing 400-1600; Wonder and Science: Imagining Worlds in Early Modern Europe (winner of the MLA’s James Russell Lowell Best Book Prize and the Glasscock Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship) and two volumes of poetry: The World, the Flesh, and Angels (winner of the Barnard New Women Poets Prize) and Trouble. She is currently finishing two poetry chapbooks responding to the crisis of life on earth, “Late Tales” and “Refugia.”

In recent years Campbell has been studying early modern dreams, including the encounter between European and indigenous dream theories and practices in the Eastern Woodland of New France and New England. Archival work has been supported by Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships, and residencies at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, the Paris Institute for Advanced Study, and the Newberry Library. She will give three lectures at Smith in 2019 drawn from her current book in progress, Dreaming, Motion, Meaning: Oenirics in the Atlantic World, 1550-1750. The book asks why dreams are no longer taken seriously in daily life and community affairs, given the prevalence of “dream” in the Anthropological Index. Has “dream” as a basic human activity and source of knowledge been corralled by the workings of European colonialism into the once-subjugated societies of its empires? How did that happen, and what can the written record show us about the neglected arts of dreaming? Are we of the supposedly post-industrial world in need again of access to that skill, in the face of climate crisis? Can we find our way back?