Department of English
Distinguished University Professor, Eminent Scholar, & DeBartolo Chair of the Humanities
Office: CPR 303
I’ve held fulltime teaching posts at the universities of Cambridge, London and Wales. Before coming to USF in 1986 I was Professor of English at the University of Bristol for almost ten years, and chair for four years. At various times (some now remote) I’ve been a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and a visiting fellow at Christ Church, Oxford; the University of Otago; and the School of Advanced Studies, University of London.
As for teaching, I’ve always ranged pretty widely, with courses from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries (haven’t quite tiptoed into the twenty-first yet). Subjects include Shakespeare’s comedies; Restoration satire; Wordsworth; Victorian novelists, esp. Dickens, Eliot, Gaskell, Hardy; European novel in the C19th; C20th British literature, including Auden, Greene, Waugh; postwar British women novelists. I have also taught classes on the arts and sciences in the American revolutionary age.
As for research, most of my work has been on the long eighteenth century, where I’m interested in pretty much everything—literature, politics, society, economics, music, architecture, science, medicine and more.
Among major specialties: the history of the book and descriptive bibliography, recently centering on the rogue publisher Edmund Curll; the work of Alexander Pope, where I’ve written or edited eleven books, most recently a political biography (2010); Samuel Johnson and his circle (five books and editions); Daniel Defoe (six). I’ve also written a good deal on Jane Austen and prepared the first full scholarly edition of Pride and Prejudice for the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen in 2006. Current projects include The Cambridge Introduction to Jonathan Swift and (ed.) Jonathan Swift in Context.
For twenty years I was involved in the annual DeBartolo conference held at USF, along with a succession of directors from the department. One outcome has been a volume based on the 20th conference, Producing the Eighteenth-Century Book (ed. with Laura Runge, 2009).
Membership includes: ASECS; BSECS (formerly President and Secretary); Johnson Society of Lichfield (formerly President); Johnson Society of London (Vice-President), Fellow of the Royal Historical Society; Fellow of the English Association; Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy; Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
Other interests: music, esp. Mozart, Haydn, Ravel, Brahms.
I’d be glad to work with any student whose interests fall within some aspect of eighteenth century studies.
M.A., Ph.D., Litt.D, Cambridge University; D. Litt., University of Bristol
18th century literature, history, politics, architecture, music