Skip to main content
Centre for Uses of Literature
New publication

Book publication: The American Vagrant in Literature

Associate Professor Bryan Yazell publishes new monograph on the 'tramp' in literature, ethnography, and policy making

In April 2023, Bryan Yazell, Associate Professor at the Institute for Language, Culture, History and Communication, fellow of humanities at DIAS, and member of the Center for Uses of Literature, publishes a new book with Edinburgh University Press.


This book argues that the rapid development of anti-vagrancy laws in the late nineteenth century, which were written alongside widespread public fascination with ‘tramps’, facilitated a transatlantic dialogue between sources eager to modernize the state’s ability to describe, catalogue, and manage this roving population. Almost always depicted as white, solitary, and artistic, the tramp character was once a menacing threat to society only to disappear from the public eye by the postwar period. This book brings to light the often-surprising lines of influence between authors, sociologists, and government authorities who alike seized on the social panic around tramping in order to reimagine the relation of work to national citizenship.

For more information about the book, click here.

Book launch

The Center for Uses of Literature is delighted to celebrate the launch of The American Vagrant in Literature with a reception on 19 April (14:00-15:30 in O-DIAS Seminarrum V24-411-0). Bryan will introduce the book and refreshments will be served. All are welcome to attend; RSVP to by 17 April.

For more details about the launch event, click here (pdf).


Editing was completed: 05.04.2023