"New Economic Criticism"
Shell is one of the forerunners, along with Jean-Joseph Goux and others, of the literary-critical movement that has been dubbed 'New Economic Criticism.' His contributions to the study of relations between linguistic and literary economies are encompassed in several influential books, including
- The Economy of Literature (Johns Hopkins University Press 1978).
- Money, Language, and Thought: Literary and Philosophical Economies from the Medieval to the Modern Era (UC Berkeley 1982).
- Art and Money (University of Chicago Press 1995).
Forthcoming works in this area include the following:
- Wampum and the Origin of American Money (University of Illinois Press, 2013).
- The Painting in the Trash Bin: Otis Kaye and the Perplexities of Art (Chicago, forthcoming).
Other Areas of Research
Nationalism and kinship: Shell has also worked on issues of in a number of essays and books. Many are concerned with the European Renaissance. These include:
- The End of Kinship: "Measure for Measure," Incest, and the Ideal of Universal Siblinghood (Stanford 1988).
- Children of the Earth: Literature, Politics, and Nationhood (Oxford 1993).
- Elizabeth's Glass: With "The Glass of the Sinful Soul" (1544) by Elizabeth I and "Epistle Dedicatory" and "Conclusion" (1548) by John Bale (Nebraska 1995).
Multilingualism: Shell is co-founder of Harvard's Longfellow Institute, which is devoted to the study of non-English American literatures. Relevant books about translation, language policy, and bilingualism include:
- The Multilingual Anthology of American Literature (NYU ed. 2000).
- American Babel: Literatures of the United States from Abnaki to Zuni (Harvard ed. 2002).
- Polio and its Aftermath (Harvard 2005).
- Stutter (Harvard 2006).
Canada and the United States: Shell's writings about Canada and the United States include:
- French-Canadian / American Literary Relations (McGill French Canada Studies Centre 1968).
- Grand Manan: or, A Short History of North America (McGill-Queens 2015 forthcoming).
Awards and degrees
Shell has received a MacArthur Fellowship. He studied at McGill University and Trinity College, Cambridge, and earned a B.A. from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from Yale University. Before going to Harvard, he taught at The State University of New York (Buffalo) and the University of Massachusetts (Amherst).