Hester Blum is Associate Professor of English at the Pennsylvania State University and Interim Associate Director for the Penn State Institute for the Arts and Humanities. Her first book,The View from the Mast-Head: Maritime Imagination and Antebellum American Sea Narratives (University of North Carolina Press, 2008), received the John Gardner Maritime Research Award; she has also published a critical edition of William Ray's Barbary captivity narrative Horrors of Slavery (Rutgers University Press, 2008). A founder of C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, she is at work on a new book called Polar Imprints: The Print Culture of Arctic and Antarctic Exploration.