Brett A Zimmerman

Department of English

Associate Professor

Office: 350 Stong College
Phone: (416) 736-2100 Ext: 22147
Emailbzimmer@yorku.ca

Brett Zimmerman specializes in American literature, particularly of the nineteenth century. His published books include Herman Melville: Stargazer (about Melville’s knowledge and literary use of astronomy) and Edgar Allan Poe: Rhetoric and Style (demonstrating Poe’s stylistic versatility, with an emphasis on the rhetorical tropes and schemes). He has also written a manual, Essay Writing and Other Critical Skills.

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His publications include the following: University Affairs (book reviews, opinion pieces); Humanist in Canada (Nietzsche’s themes; the Protestant Reformation; logical fallacies; Galileo; Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy; Salem witchcraft; mental health in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter; astronomy and theological reflections; Michael Moore’s satirical techniques). He has collected most of these essays in a book, Moral and Intellectual Objections to Christianity from a Multi-Disciplinary Point of View (Blurb, 2011). Refereed journals featuring his work include: English Studies in Canada (uranography in Melville’s Mardi); Mosaic (schizophrenia and Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”; "The Fall of the House of Usher" as phrenological allegory); Essays in Arts and Sciences (astronomy in Melville’s Billy Budd and Clarel; Poe and allegory); Language and Discourse (Poe’s prose); Style (Poe’s rhetoric and forensic oratory; Melville and style; George Carlin's style and rhetorical techniques); The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (nineteenth-century American astronomy and literature); Western American Literature (Berger’s Little Big Man); The Edgar Allan Poe Review (sensibility and phrenology in “Usher”; psychology in "The Premature Burial"; colour symbolism in "The Masque of the Red Death"). Current academic projects include a textbook, An Introduction to Style in American Literature and Oratory. Self-published Blurb books include: Fun with Fallacies: How to Win More Arguments--or at Least Keep from Making an Ass of Yourself (63pp.); Astronomy in Literature: A Photographic Exploration (91pp.).

Area of Specialization

American literature; rhetoric

Degrees

Ph.D., York University
M.A., York University
B.A., University of Toronto at Scarborough

Professional Leadership

CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROFESSION:

Muse Americana: An Introduction to Style and Rhetoric in American Literature and Oratory. XanEdu/Pearson, 2010. A soft-cover “CoursePack” for students but also a publishable resource for instructors. 381 pages.

Manuscript review (essay on Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”) for English Studies in Canada (March, 2010)

Manuscript review (essay on Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”) for Mosaic (December, 2006)

Essay Writing and Other Critical Skills: A Guide to Critical Reading, Writing, and Reasoning for Students and Teachers in the Arts. 13th ed. An unpublished cerlox-bound manuscript sold through York’s bookstore to undergraduates. 164 pages.

Handbook for Tutors of Academic Writing: Tips, Caveats & Strategies. Written and compiled for tutors at the Arts Centre for Academic Writing, York University. 1st ed. 1999. 52 pages.

Selected Publications

Edgar Allan Poe: Rhetoric and Style. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2005. 408 pages. - reviewed in the Edgar Allan Poe Review, the University of Toronto Quarterly, and Poe Studies

Herman Melville: Stargazer. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s UP, 1998. 142 pages. - reviewed in Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies and the North Dakota Quarterly

“Phrenological Allegory in Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’.” Mosaic 43.1 (March 2010): 57-72.

“The Puzzle of the Color Symbolism in ‘The Masque of the Red Death’: Solved at Last?” Edgar Allan Poe Review 10.3 (Winter 2009): 60-73.

“George, Woody, Gary, and Homer S.: Popular Culture Meets Classical Rhetoric.” Style 43.4 (Winter 2009): 472-93.

“The Tradition & Techniques of Satire: the Case of Michael Moore.” Part 1. Humanist in Canada Summer 2004: 10-15. [Lead article.]

Selected Publications

Edgar Allan Poe: Rhetoric and Style. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2005. 408 pages. - reviewed in the Edgar Allan Poe Review, the University of Toronto Quarterly, and Poe Studies

Herman Melville: Stargazer. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s UP, 1998. 142 pages. - reviewed in Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies and the North Dakota Quarterly

“Phrenological Allegory in Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’.” Mosaic 43.1 (March 2010): 57-72.

“The Puzzle of the Color Symbolism in ‘The Masque of the Red Death’: Solved at Last?” Edgar Allan Poe Review 10.3 (Winter 2009): 60-73.

“George, Woody, Gary, and Homer S.: Popular Culture Meets Classical Rhetoric.” Style 43.4 (Winter 2009): 472-93.

“The Tradition & Techniques of Satire: the Case of Michael Moore.” Part 1. Humanist in Canada Summer 2004: 10-15. [Lead article.]

All Publications

Books

Edgar Allan Poe: Rhetoric and Style. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2005. 408 pages. - reviewed in the Edgar Allan Poe Review, the University of Toronto Quarterly, and Poe Studies

Herman Melville: Stargazer. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s UP, 1998. 142 pages. - reviewed in Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies and the North Dakota Quarterly

Book Chapters

“Phrenology.” In Poe in Context. Ed. Kevin J. Hayes. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 2013. 301-12.

Journal Articles

“The Uranic Muse: Melville’s Knowledge of Astronomy.” Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Kathy D. Darrow. Vol. 228. Detroit: Gale, 2010. 8-19.

“Phrenological Allegory in Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’.” Mosaic 43.1 (March 2010): 57-72.

“The Puzzle of the Color Symbolism in ‘The Masque of the Red Death’: Solved at Last?” Edgar Allan Poe Review 10.3 (Winter 2009): 60-73.

“George, Woody, Gary, and Homer S.: Popular Culture Meets Classical Rhetoric.” Style 43.4 (Winter 2009): 472-93.

“Poe as Amateur Psychologist: Flooding, Phobias, Psychosomatics, and ‘The Premature Burial’.” Edgar Allan Poe Review 10.1 (Spring 2009): 7-19. [Lead article.]

“Frantic Forensic Oratory: Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’.” Style 35 (Spring 2001): 34-49. Rpt. in “The Tell-Tale Heart” and Other Stories, New Edition. Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Infobase, 2009. 143-58.

“The Linguistic Key to Crabb’s Veracity: Berger’s Little Big Man Revisited.” Western American Literature 38 (Fall 2003): 271-88. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey Hunter. Vol. 259. Detroit: Gale, 2008. 205-14.

“Sensibility, Phrenology, and ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’.” Edgar Allan Poe Review 8.1 (Spring 2007): 47-56.

“The Tradition & Techniques of Satire: the Case of Michael Moore.” Part 2. Humanist in Canada Winter 2004/05: 23-26.

“The Uranic Muse: Astronomy and Major Nineteenth-Century U.S. Authors.” The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (February 2004): 48-53.

“The Tradition & Techniques of Satire: the Case of Michael Moore.” Part 1. Humanist in Canada Summer 2004: 10-15. [Lead article.]

“Teaching Melville and Style: A Catalogue of Selected Rhetorical Devices.” Style 37 (Spring 2003): 47-66.

“The Plurality of Worlds: Nineteenth-Century Theories of Extraterrestrials.” The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (August 2003): 158-62.

“Nineteenth-Century American Astronomy and the Sublime.” The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (June 2003): 120-23.

“Cosmic Cogitations.” Humanist in Canada Summer 2003: 20-26, 33.

“Freethinker vs. Puritan: Mental Health in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.” Humanist in Canada Spring 2003: 30-35.

“From Concentration Camp to Existential Humanism: The Logotherapy of Viktor Frankl.” Part 2. Humanist in Canada Winter 2002/03: 24-28, 40-41.

“From Concentration Camp to Existential Humanism: The Logotherapy of Viktor Frankl.” Part 1. Humanist in Canada Autumn 2002: 6-11. [Lead article.]

“‘Now Heaven and Hell grapple on our backs . . .’: The Salem Witchcraft Delusion.” Humanist in Canada Autumn 2001: 6-13. [Lead article.]

“Allegoria and Clock Architecture in Poe’s ‘The Masque of the Red Death’.” Essays in Arts and Sciences 29 (October 2000): 1-16. [Lead article.] Rpt. in Short Story Criticism: Criticism of the Works of Short Fiction Writers. Eds. Rachelle Mucha, et al. Vol. 88. Detroit: Gale, 2006. 226-33.

“Mamma Mia! Galileo and the ‘Enemies of Innovation’.” Part 2. The Church. Humanist in Canada Autumn 2000: 12-16, 39.

“Mamma Mia! Galileo and the ‘Enemies of Innovation’.” Part 1. The Peripatetics. Humanist in Canada Summer 2000: 6-9, 17. [Lead article.]

“Onward Humanist Soldiers! Arming Ourselves with Logic.” Humanist in Canada Winter 1999/00: 8-14. [Lead article.]

“A Catalogue of Selected Rhetorical Devices Used in the Works of Edgar Allan Poe.” Style 33 (Winter 1999): 637-57.

“A Catalogue of Rhetorical and Other Literary Terms from American Literature and Oratory.” Style 31 (Winter 1997): 730-59.

“‘I could read his prose on salary, but not Jane’s’: Poe’s Stylistic Versatility.” Language and Discourse 5 (Winter 1997): 97-117.

“Stars and Spiritual Navigation in Melville’s Clarel.” Essays in Arts and Sciences 23 (October 1994): 21-38.

“Astronomical Imagery and Symbolic Antitheses in Melville’s Billy Budd.” Essays in Arts and Sciences 22 (October 1993): 1-17. [Lead article.] Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Kathy D. Darrow. Vol. 228. Detroit: Gale, 2010. 2-8.

“‘Moral Insanity’ or Paranoid Schizophrenia: Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’.” Mosaic 25 (Spring 1992): 39-48. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Suzanne Dewsbury. Vol. 78. Detroit: Gale, 1999. 275-80. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism: Criticism of the Works of Short Fiction Writers. Ed. Anna Sheets Nesbitt. Vol. 34. Detroit: Gale, 2000. 278-83.

“The Cosmic Drama of Melville’s Mardi.” English Studies in Canada 16 (December 1990): 417-32.

Book Reviews

Review-essay on Approaches to Teaching Poe’s Prose and Poetry, ed. Jeffrey Weinstock and Tony Magistrale. Edgar Allan Poe Review 11.2 (Fall 2010): 120-35.

“Letting the ‘Clueless’ into the Club.” Rev. of Clueless in Academe: How Schooling Obscures the Life of the Mind, by Gerald Graff. University Affairs October 2003: 38.

“A High-brow Look at the Education Crisis.” Rev. of Lying About the Wolf: Essays in Culture & Education, by David Solway. University Affairs August-September 1997: 20-21.

Upcoming Courses

TermCourse NumberSectionTitleType 
Fall/Winter 2017-2018 AP/EN3330 6.0  Haunted America: The Origins of U.S. Terror Fiction and its Legacy SEMR  
Fall 2017 AP/EN3391 3.0  Powers of Persuasion: Argument and Prose Style SEMR  


Brett Zimmerman specializes in American literature, particularly of the nineteenth century. His published books include Herman Melville: Stargazer (about Melville’s knowledge and literary use of astronomy) and Edgar Allan Poe: Rhetoric and Style (demonstrating Poe’s stylistic versatility, with an emphasis on the rhetorical tropes and schemes). He has also written a manual, Essay Writing and Other Critical Skills.


His publications include the following: University Affairs (book reviews, opinion pieces); Humanist in Canada (Nietzsche’s themes; the Protestant Reformation; logical fallacies; Galileo; Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy; Salem witchcraft; mental health in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter; astronomy and theological reflections; Michael Moore’s satirical techniques). He has collected most of these essays in a book, Moral and Intellectual Objections to Christianity from a Multi-Disciplinary Point of View (Blurb, 2011). Refereed journals featuring his work include: English Studies in Canada (uranography in Melville’s Mardi); Mosaic (schizophrenia and Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”; "The Fall of the House of Usher" as phrenological allegory); Essays in Arts and Sciences (astronomy in Melville’s Billy Budd and Clarel; Poe and allegory); Language and Discourse (Poe’s prose); Style (Poe’s rhetoric and forensic oratory; Melville and style; George Carlin's style and rhetorical techniques); The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (nineteenth-century American astronomy and literature); Western American Literature (Berger’s Little Big Man); The Edgar Allan Poe Review (sensibility and phrenology in “Usher”; psychology in "The Premature Burial"; colour symbolism in "The Masque of the Red Death"). Current academic projects include a textbook, An Introduction to Style in American Literature and Oratory. Self-published Blurb books include: Fun with Fallacies: How to Win More Arguments--or at Least Keep from Making an Ass of Yourself (63pp.); Astronomy in Literature: A Photographic Exploration (91pp.).

Area of Specialization

American literature; rhetoric

Degrees

Ph.D., York University
M.A., York University
B.A., University of Toronto at Scarborough

Professional Leadership

CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROFESSION:

Muse Americana: An Introduction to Style and Rhetoric in American Literature and Oratory. XanEdu/Pearson, 2010. A soft-cover “CoursePack” for students but also a publishable resource for instructors. 381 pages.

Manuscript review (essay on Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”) for English Studies in Canada (March, 2010)

Manuscript review (essay on Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”) for Mosaic (December, 2006)

Essay Writing and Other Critical Skills: A Guide to Critical Reading, Writing, and Reasoning for Students and Teachers in the Arts. 13th ed. An unpublished cerlox-bound manuscript sold through York’s bookstore to undergraduates. 164 pages.

Handbook for Tutors of Academic Writing: Tips, Caveats & Strategies. Written and compiled for tutors at the Arts Centre for Academic Writing, York University. 1st ed. 1999. 52 pages.

All Publications

Books

Edgar Allan Poe: Rhetoric and Style. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2005. 408 pages. - reviewed in the Edgar Allan Poe Review, the University of Toronto Quarterly, and Poe Studies

Herman Melville: Stargazer. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s UP, 1998. 142 pages. - reviewed in Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies and the North Dakota Quarterly

Book Chapters

“Phrenology.” In Poe in Context. Ed. Kevin J. Hayes. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 2013. 301-12.

Journal Articles

“The Uranic Muse: Melville’s Knowledge of Astronomy.” Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Kathy D. Darrow. Vol. 228. Detroit: Gale, 2010. 8-19.

“Phrenological Allegory in Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’.” Mosaic 43.1 (March 2010): 57-72.

“The Puzzle of the Color Symbolism in ‘The Masque of the Red Death’: Solved at Last?” Edgar Allan Poe Review 10.3 (Winter 2009): 60-73.

“George, Woody, Gary, and Homer S.: Popular Culture Meets Classical Rhetoric.” Style 43.4 (Winter 2009): 472-93.

“Poe as Amateur Psychologist: Flooding, Phobias, Psychosomatics, and ‘The Premature Burial’.” Edgar Allan Poe Review 10.1 (Spring 2009): 7-19. [Lead article.]

“Frantic Forensic Oratory: Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’.” Style 35 (Spring 2001): 34-49. Rpt. in “The Tell-Tale Heart” and Other Stories, New Edition. Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Infobase, 2009. 143-58.

“The Linguistic Key to Crabb’s Veracity: Berger’s Little Big Man Revisited.” Western American Literature 38 (Fall 2003): 271-88. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey Hunter. Vol. 259. Detroit: Gale, 2008. 205-14.

“Sensibility, Phrenology, and ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’.” Edgar Allan Poe Review 8.1 (Spring 2007): 47-56.

“The Tradition & Techniques of Satire: the Case of Michael Moore.” Part 2. Humanist in Canada Winter 2004/05: 23-26.

“The Uranic Muse: Astronomy and Major Nineteenth-Century U.S. Authors.” The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (February 2004): 48-53.

“The Tradition & Techniques of Satire: the Case of Michael Moore.” Part 1. Humanist in Canada Summer 2004: 10-15. [Lead article.]

“Teaching Melville and Style: A Catalogue of Selected Rhetorical Devices.” Style 37 (Spring 2003): 47-66.

“The Plurality of Worlds: Nineteenth-Century Theories of Extraterrestrials.” The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (August 2003): 158-62.

“Nineteenth-Century American Astronomy and the Sublime.” The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (June 2003): 120-23.

“Cosmic Cogitations.” Humanist in Canada Summer 2003: 20-26, 33.

“Freethinker vs. Puritan: Mental Health in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.” Humanist in Canada Spring 2003: 30-35.

“From Concentration Camp to Existential Humanism: The Logotherapy of Viktor Frankl.” Part 2. Humanist in Canada Winter 2002/03: 24-28, 40-41.

“From Concentration Camp to Existential Humanism: The Logotherapy of Viktor Frankl.” Part 1. Humanist in Canada Autumn 2002: 6-11. [Lead article.]

“‘Now Heaven and Hell grapple on our backs . . .’: The Salem Witchcraft Delusion.” Humanist in Canada Autumn 2001: 6-13. [Lead article.]

“Allegoria and Clock Architecture in Poe’s ‘The Masque of the Red Death’.” Essays in Arts and Sciences 29 (October 2000): 1-16. [Lead article.] Rpt. in Short Story Criticism: Criticism of the Works of Short Fiction Writers. Eds. Rachelle Mucha, et al. Vol. 88. Detroit: Gale, 2006. 226-33.

“Mamma Mia! Galileo and the ‘Enemies of Innovation’.” Part 2. The Church. Humanist in Canada Autumn 2000: 12-16, 39.

“Mamma Mia! Galileo and the ‘Enemies of Innovation’.” Part 1. The Peripatetics. Humanist in Canada Summer 2000: 6-9, 17. [Lead article.]

“Onward Humanist Soldiers! Arming Ourselves with Logic.” Humanist in Canada Winter 1999/00: 8-14. [Lead article.]

“A Catalogue of Selected Rhetorical Devices Used in the Works of Edgar Allan Poe.” Style 33 (Winter 1999): 637-57.

“A Catalogue of Rhetorical and Other Literary Terms from American Literature and Oratory.” Style 31 (Winter 1997): 730-59.

“‘I could read his prose on salary, but not Jane’s’: Poe’s Stylistic Versatility.” Language and Discourse 5 (Winter 1997): 97-117.

“Stars and Spiritual Navigation in Melville’s Clarel.” Essays in Arts and Sciences 23 (October 1994): 21-38.

“Astronomical Imagery and Symbolic Antitheses in Melville’s Billy Budd.” Essays in Arts and Sciences 22 (October 1993): 1-17. [Lead article.] Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Kathy D. Darrow. Vol. 228. Detroit: Gale, 2010. 2-8.

“‘Moral Insanity’ or Paranoid Schizophrenia: Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’.” Mosaic 25 (Spring 1992): 39-48. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Suzanne Dewsbury. Vol. 78. Detroit: Gale, 1999. 275-80. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism: Criticism of the Works of Short Fiction Writers. Ed. Anna Sheets Nesbitt. Vol. 34. Detroit: Gale, 2000. 278-83.

“The Cosmic Drama of Melville’s Mardi.” English Studies in Canada 16 (December 1990): 417-32.

Book Reviews

Review-essay on Approaches to Teaching Poe’s Prose and Poetry, ed. Jeffrey Weinstock and Tony Magistrale. Edgar Allan Poe Review 11.2 (Fall 2010): 120-35.

“Letting the ‘Clueless’ into the Club.” Rev. of Clueless in Academe: How Schooling Obscures the Life of the Mind, by Gerald Graff. University Affairs October 2003: 38.

“A High-brow Look at the Education Crisis.” Rev. of Lying About the Wolf: Essays in Culture & Education, by David Solway. University Affairs August-September 1997: 20-21.


Teaching:

Upcoming Courses

TermCourse NumberSectionTitleType 
Fall/Winter 2017-2018 AP/EN3330 6.0  Haunted America: The Origins of U.S. Terror Fiction and its Legacy SEMR  
Fall 2017 AP/EN3391 3.0  Powers of Persuasion: Argument and Prose Style SEMR