Department of American and Canadian Studies

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Peter Messent

Emeritus Professor of Modern American Literature,



I have been at Nottingam for almost 40 years and retired in Sept 2011 (though will remain on a part-time research contract till 2013). I was Head of the School of American and Candian Studies in the last couple of years of my employment . My main work is in Mark Twain Studies, Ernest Hemingway Studies and Crime Fiction and I have recently completed (Dec. 2011) The Crime Fiction Handbook for Wiley-Blackwell.

Expertise Summary

As above. Plus all areas of nineteenth and twentieth century American fiction.

Selected Publications

  • MESSENT, PETER, 2013. 'Mark Twain'. In: TIMOTHY PARRISH, ed., The Cambridge Companion to American Novelists Cambridge University Press. 42-51
  • MESSENT, PETER, 2013. Food and Drink. In: DEBRA MODDELMOG and SUZANNE DEL GIZZO, eds., Ernest Hemingway in Context Cambridge University Press. 257-266
  • MESSENT, PETER, 2013. 'Liminality and Patricia Highsmith's "The Talented Mr. Ripley"' Clues: A Journal of Detection. 31(2), 7
  • MESSENT, PETER, 2012. The Crime Fiction Handbook Wiley-Blackwell.
  • MESSENT, PETER, 2011. A re-evaluation of Mark Twain following the centenary of his death The Mark Twain Annual. 9(1), 44-64
  • MESSENT, P, 2010. Ernest Hemingway. In: SEED, D., ed., A Companion to Twentieth-Century Fiction in the United States Wiley-Blackwell. 240-250
  • MESSENT, P., 2010. Mark Twain: Was America's Greatest Novelist Let Down by his Country? BBC Knowledge. 38-44
  • MESSENT, PETER, 2010. The Police Novel. In: RZEPKA, CHARLES J. and HORSLEY, LEE, eds., A Companion to Crime Fiction Wiley-Blackwell. 175-186
  • MESSENT, P., 2009. 'The Chronicle of Young Satan' and no. 44, The Mysterious Stranger: A transnationalist reading. In: CSICSILA, J. and ROHMAN, C., eds., Centenary reflections on Mark Twain's no. 44, The Mysterious Stranger University of Missouri Press. 51-70
  • MESSENT, P., 2008. American Gothic: Liminality and the Gothic in Thomas Harris's Hanibal Lecter Novels. In: SZUMSKYJ, B., ed., Dissecting Hannibal Lecter: Essays on the Novels of Thomas Harris 1st ed. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co.. 13-36
  • MESSENT, P., 2008. 'Not an alien but at home': Mark Twain and London. In: RYAN, A.M. and MCCULLOUGH, J. B., eds., Cosmopolitan Twain University of Missouri Press. 187-210
  • MESSENT, PETER, 2007. The Cambridge Introduction to Mark Twain Cambridge University Press. (In Press.)
  • MESSENT, P., 2007. Liminality, Repetition, and Trauma in Hemingway's 'Big Two-Hearted River' and Other Nick Adams Stories. In: LUCY KAY, ZOE KINSLEY, TERRY PHILLIPS AND ALAN ROUGHLEY, ed., Mapping Liminalities: Thresholds in Cultural and Literary Texts 1st. Peter Lang. 137-165
  • MESSENT, P.B. and COURTNEY, S., eds., 2006. The Civil War letters of Joseph Hopkins Twichell : a chaplain's story Athens, GA.: University of Georgia Press.
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2006. Introduction. In: MESSENT, P.B. & COURTNEY, S., ed., The Civil War Letters of Joseph Twichell: A chaplain's story University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA.
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2005. Mark Twain, William Dean Howells and Realism. In: MESSENT, P.B. and BUDD, L.J., eds., A Companion to Mark Twain Oxford: Blackwell. 186-207
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2005. Mark Twain, Manhood, The Henry H Rogers Friendship, and Arizona Quarterly. VOL 61(NUMB 1), 57-84
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2005. 'No Way Back Forever': American Western Myth in Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy. In: BLAZEK, W. & GLENDAY, M.K., ed., American Mythologies: Essays on Contemporary Literature Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2005. Patricia Cornwell. In: Popular Contemporary Writers 4. 483-498
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2005. Thomas Harris. In: Popular Contemporary Writers 5. 705-718
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2005. Memoirs of a Survivor: Masuji Ibuse's Black Rain Foreign Literature Studies. 2, 128-32
  • MESSENT, P.B. AND BUDD, L., ed., 2005. A Companion to Mark Twain Blackwell.
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2005. Literary Friendships. In: American History through Literature 3. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 603-08
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2004. "The Real Thing?": Representing the Bullfight and Spain in <i>Death in the Afternoon</i>. In: MANDEL, M.B., ed., A Companion to Hemingway's 'Death in the Afternoon' Rochester, NY: Camden House. 123-141
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2004. Tramps and Tourists: Europe in Mark Twain's A Tramp Abroad The Yearbook of English Studies. VOL 34, 138-154
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2003. Mark Twain, Joseph Twichell, and Religion Nineteenth Century Literature. VOL 58(PART 3), 368-402
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2003. Character and Agency: Teaching Mark Twain's 'A True Story' Eureka Studies in Teaching Short Fiction. 4(1), 20-31
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2002. Good Taste? Liminality and the Gothic in Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter. In: SUTTON, P., ed., Betwixt-and Between: Essays in Liminal Geography Madrid: Gateway Press. 63-85
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2002. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: The Only Authoritative Text. In: McGills Literacy Annual 2002 New Jersey: Salem Press. 9-13
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2001. The Short works of Mark Twain : a critical study Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2001. Mark Twain's Racial Attitudes: Going Back to "A True Story" Mark Twain Review (Korea). 6, 49-61
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2000. American Gothic: Liminality in Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter Novels JOURNAL OF AMERICAN AND COMPARATIVE CULTURES. VOL 23(NUMB 4), 23-36
  • MESSENT, P.B., 2000. Patricia Cornwell's Clues (Bowling Green). VOL 21(PART 2), 37-46
  • MESSENT, P., 1999. Comic Intentions in Mark Twain's "A Double-Barreled Detective Story" Essays in Arts and Sciences. VOL 28, 35-52
  • MESSENT, P., 1998. Carnival in Mark Twain's "Concerning the Jews" and "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg" Studies in Short Fiction. VOL 35(PART 3), 217-232
  • MESSENT, P., 1998. Discipline and Punishment in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Journal of American Studies. VOL 32(NUMBER 2), 219-236
  • MESSENT,P.B., 1997. Mark Twain MacMillan Publishers Ltd, London.
  • MESSENT, P.B., 1997. Tw(a)in Lives Times Higher Education Supplement. December, 20
  • MESSENT, P.B., ed., 1997. Criminal Proceedings: The Contemporary American Crime Novel Pluto Press, London.
  • MESSENT, P., 1996. Afterword to The American Claimant. In: The Oxford Mark Twain Oxford University Press, Oxford. 1-21
  • MESSENT, P., 1992. 'Interfaces, Intimacy, Double Dealing and Betrayal: Mailer's "Harlot's Ghost"'' Overhere: An American Studies Journal. 12(2),
  • MESSENT, P., 1992. 'Reconstructing Papa': New Directions in Hemingway Criticism Journal of American Studies. 26(2), 269-75
  • MESSENT, P., 1990. 'The Rules of John Irving's World' Overhere: An American Studies Journal. 10(1), 35-47
  • MESSENT, P.B., 1990. New Readings of the American Novel: Narrative Theory and its Application
  • MESSENT, P., 1989. 'Continuity and Change in the Southern Novella'. In: LEE, A. ROBERT, ed., The Modern American Novella Vision Press. 113-38
  • MESSENT, P, KING, R and KENNEDY, L., 1989. 'Interview with Ishmael Reed' Overhere: An American Studies Journal. 9(2), 76-87
  • MESSENT, P., 1987. 'Marginal Men: California Fiction in the Thirties'. In: ICKSTADT, H., LEE, B. and KROES, R., eds., The Thirties: Politics and Culture in a Time of Broken Dreams Amsterdam Free Press. 187-204
  • MESSENT, P., 1985. 'Toward the Absurd: Mark Twain's "A Connectiut Yankee," "Pudd'nhead Wilson" and "The Great Dark"'. In: GIDDINGS, R., ed., Mark Twain: A Sumptuous Variety Vision Press. 176-98
  • MESSENT, P., 1983. 'Mark Twain and the Magic of Science' Overhere: An American Studies Journal. 3(2), 35-44
  • MESSENT, P. and PAULIN, T., eds., 1982. Henry James: Selected Tales Dent.
  • MESSENT, P., ed., 1981. The Literature of the Occult Prentice-Hall.
  • MESSENT, P, 1981. 'Susan Glaspell,' 'Elinore Stewart,' 'Joan Didion,' 'Ishmael Reed'
  • MESSENT, P., 1976. 'American Literature: The Twentieth Century'. In: The Years Work in English Studies 1974 John Murray. 506-14, 522-65
  • MESSENT, P., 1974. '"Breakfast of Champions": The Direction of Kurt Vonnegut's Fiction' Journal of American Studies. 8, 101-14

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