Susan Manning (1953-2013)

Messages from the SEA listserv and SEA colleagues upon hearing the sad new that Professor Susan Manning had passed away on Monday, January 14, 2013.

By Dennis Moore

Via EARAM-L on Thursday, January 17, 2013:

Here, with thanks to Stephen Shapiro and apologies for cross-posting, is word on the death of Susan Manning, who had been directing the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh.  I’ll cut+paste Stephen’s message below, i.e., below this link —

— and an acknowledgment of her valuable contributions to our understanding of Crèvecoeur, among many other figures and many other pieces of the mosaic we think of as early America.

RIP indeed,


Dennis D. Moore
Florida State University

By Stephen Shapiro


A colleague from Edinburgh passed this to me from their internal mail, so I’m not sure how widely it is known.

Email sent on behalf of Professor Dorothy Miell, Head of College of Humanities and Social Science

“It is with great sadness that I write to notify you of the unexpected death on Monday 14th January of Prof Susan Manning, Grierson Professor of English Literature, and, for the last 7 years, Director of the College’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. Susan’s contribution to the University has been enormous and her influence has been feltacross the world through the excellence of her scholarship, her warm support of colleagues and her influential roles in many learned societies and professional networks.

Prof Jolyon Mitchell, Deputy Director of IASH, has kindly agreed to take on the role of Acting Director of the Institute until the summer.

Our thoughts and sympathy are with her family at this very difficult time”.

Professor Dorothy Miell

By Stephen Shapiro

Susan exemplified the best ideals of the British academy, low-key brilliance and a welcoming institutional builder. Within American Studies and especially at Edinburgh, Susan’s vision of early American material in an Atlantic perspective existed long before this awareness had become widely shared. With her guidance in various press and university projects, but especially as Director of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Susan created a space for manifolds of scholars, from graduate students to Professors, to share ideas. It was a rule of IASH that all had to meet weekly, not for a research symposium, but for lunch. This was open-hearted sociability, in the sense of our period, but also mindful of the real glue that holds scholars together. We lost her far too soon, a loss that cannot truly be overcome.

Stephen Shapiro

Stephen Shapiro
University of Warwick


By Tim Watson

This is truly terrible news. Susan was the model of the generous, committed, intellectually rigorous colleague, and humble despite her prodigious accomplishments. Long ago, in the mid-1980s, she was my undergraduate teacher, introducing me to Crèvecoeur, Faulkner, and Morrison (among others) when they were writers far outside the canon at Cambridge (along with most of US literature, truth be told). We reconnected over the last few years after a workshop in Atlantic Studies at LSU we both attended, and the M.A. program she helped set up at Edinburgh in transatlantic literary studies, the STAR (Scottish Transatlantic Relations) project she oversaw— —and the book series at Edinburgh University Press she edited have all been very important in the growth of Atlantic Studies and in the continuing Atlantic turn in early American studies. I am still in shock to hear this; she was very young.

Thank you, Dennis and Stephen, for passing this news along.


Tim Watson
University of Miami


By Eve Tavor Bannet

Susan Manning (1953-2013) was a leading British transatlanticist who did more than anyone else to develop the field and ensure that it became a subject that was taught and studied at Scottish Universities. Trained as an Americanist at Cambridge and in the United States, Susan came into her own when she left her teaching job at Cambridge to return to her native Scotland in 1999. There, as Grierson Professor of English Literature at the University of Edinburgh and most recently as Director of its Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (IASH), Susan did for Edinburgh what Paul Giles did for Oxford–put it squarely on the transatlantic map. A prolific scholar, Susan is perhaps best known over here for monographs such as *Fragments of Union: Making Connections in Scottish and American Writing* (2002) and essay collections such as *The Atlantic Enlightenment* (2008), *Transatlantic Literary Studies: a Reader* (2007) and *Transatlantic Literary Studies, 1680-1820: an Introduction* (2011). But at home, she was also, in her kind, quiet and totally unpretentious way, a mover and shaker who galvanized others into doing exciting new work on the Scottish Enlightenment and on Transatlantic topics. Susan used STAR, a society for the study of Scottish Transatlantic relations which she founded c. 2000, as well as IASH, to bring together groups of historians, philosophers, literary scholars, art historians, historians of the book, and curators from across Scotland and connect them to their Atlantic peers. She would say: “I have an idea” –for a lecture series, colloquium, conference, collective book project or event; “would you…?” and before one knew it, one’s little bit of scholarship had become part of a larger and more important conversation which only she had envisioned, and which in turn stimulated further work. A generous and engaging colleague, a loving wife, the mother of three lovely daughters, and the mentor of many grateful students, Susan was the truest of true friends. She conducted herself in all things “with ease and honor”, as her Scottish grandmother would have said; and she will be sorely missed.

Susan turned in her last book, *Poetics of Character: Transatlantic Encounters 1700-1900* to Cambridge University Press just before she passed away; and it is currently in press.

Eve Tavor Bannet
University of Oklahoma

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