New Book by Matt Rowney

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Matt Rowney’s In Common Things immerses scholars and students in the things of the past that are ever-so-familiar today, and considers what they might tell us not only about Romantic literature, but also our own moment.

The hardness of stone, the pliancy of wood, the fluidity of palm oil, the crystalline nature of salt, and the vegetable qualities of moss – each describes a way of being in and understanding the world. These substances are both natural objects hailed in Romantic literature and global commodities within a system of extraction and exchange that has driven climate change, representing the paradox of the modern relation to materiality.

Described as “exciting and innovative,” In Common Things examines these five common substances – stone, wood, oil, salt, and moss – in the literature of Romantic period authors, excavating their cultural, ecological, and commodity histories.