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Eighteenth-Century Studies


We Are Kings

Political Theology and the Making of a Modern Individual


Spencer Jackson

When British and American leaders today talk of the nation—whether it is Theresa May, Barack Obama, or Donald Trump—they do so, in part, in terms established by eighteenth-century British literature. The city on a hill and the sovereign individual are tropes at the center of modern Anglo-American... More


The Shortest Way with Defoe

Robinson Crusoe, Deism, and the Novel


Michael B. Prince

A scholarly and imaginative reconstruction of the voyage Daniel Defoe took from the pillory to literary immortality, The Shortest Way with Defoe contends that Robinson Crusoe contains a secret satire, written against one person, that has gone undetected for 300 years. By locating Defoe's nemesis... More


After Print

Eighteenth-Century Manuscript Cultures


Edited by Rachael Scarborough King

The eighteenth century has generally been understood as the Age of Print, when the new medium revolutionized the literary world and rendered manuscript culture obsolete. After Print, however, reveals that the story isn’t so simple. Manuscript remained a vital, effective, and even preferred forum... More


Sight Correction

Vision and Blindness in Eighteenth-Century Britain


Chris Mounsey

The debut publication in a new series devoted to the body as an object of historical study,  Sight Correction provides an expansive analysis of blindness in eighteenth-century Britain, developing a new methodology for conceptualizing sight impairment. Beginning with a reconsideration of the place... More


Sifilografía

A History of the Writerly Pox in the Eighteenth-Century Hispanic World


Juan Carlos González Espitia

Syphilis was a prevalent affliction in the era of the Americas’ colonization, creating widespread anxiety that is indicated in the period’s literature across numerous fields. Reflecting Spaniards’ political prejudices of the period, it was alternately labeled "mal francés" or "el mal de las Indias... More


The Problem of Profit

Finance and Feeling in Eighteenth-Century British Literature


Michael Genovese

Attacks against the pursuit of profit in eighteenth-century Britain have been largely read as reactions against market activity in general or as critiques of financial innovation.  In  The Problem of Profit, however, Michael Genovese contends that such rejections of profit derive not from a... More


Without the Novel

Romance and the History of Prose Fiction


Scott Black

No genre manifests the pleasure of reading—and its power to consume and enchant—more than romance. In suspending the category of the novel to rethink the way prose fiction works,  Without the Novel demonstrates what literary history looks like from the perspective of such readerly excesses and... More


Anecdotes of Enlightenment

Human Nature from Locke to Wordsworth


James Robert Wood

Anecdotes of Enlightenment is the first literary history of the anecdote in English. In this wide-ranging account, James Robert Wood explores the animating effects anecdotes had on intellectual and literary cultures over the long eighteenth century. Drawing on extensive archival research and... More


Black Cosmopolitans

Race, Religion, and Republicanism in an Age of Revolution


Christine Levecq

Black Cosmopolitans examines the lives and thought of three extraordinary black men—Jacobus Capitein, Jean-Baptiste Belley, and John Marrant—who traveled extensively throughout the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Unlike millions of uprooted Africans and their descendants at the time, these men... More


Public Vows

Fictions of Marriage in the English Enlightenment


Melissa J. Ganz

In eighteenth-century England, the institution of marriage became the subject of heated debates, as clerics, jurists, legislators, philosophers, and social observers began rethinking its contractual foundation. Public Vows argues that these debates shaped English fiction in crucial and previously... More


A World of Disorderly Notions

Quixote and the Logic of Exceptionalism


Aaron R. Hanlon

From Jonathan Swift to Washington Irving, those looking to propose and justify exceptions to social and political norms turned to Cervantes’s notoriously mad comic hero as a model. A World of Disorderly Notions examines the literary and political effects of Don Quixote, arguing that what makes this... More


Beyond 1776

Globalizing the Cultures of the American Revolution


Edited by Maria O'Malley and Denys Van Renen

In Beyond 1776, ten humanities scholars consider the American Revolution within a global framework. The foundation of the United States was deeply enmeshed with shifting alliances and multiple actors, with politics saturated by imaginative literature, and with ostensible bilateral negotiations that... More


Reading Contagion

The Hazards of Reading in the Age of Print


Annika Mann

Eighteenth-century British culture was transfixed by the threat of contagion, believing that everyday elements of the surrounding world could transmit deadly maladies from one body to the next. Physicians and medical writers warned of noxious matter circulating through air, bodily fluids, paper,... More


Reading Popular Newtonianism

Print, the Principia, and the Dissemination of Newtonian Science


Laura Miller

Sir Isaac Newton’s publications, and those he inspired, were among the most significant works published during the long eighteenth century in Britain. Concepts such as attraction and extrapolation—detailed in his landmark monograph Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica—found their way into... More


The Eighteenth Centuries

Global Networks of Enlightenment


Edited by David T. Gies and Cynthia Wall

Today, when "globalization" is a buzzword invoked in nearly every realm, we turn back to the eighteenth century and witness the inherent globalization of its desires and, at times, its accomplishments. During the chronological eighteenth century, learning and knowledge were intimately connected... More


Novel Ventures

Fiction and Print Culture in England, 1690-1730


Leah Orr

The eighteenth century British book trade marks the beginning of the literary marketplace as we know it. The lapsing of the Licensing Act in 1695 brought an end to pre-publication censorship of printed texts and restrictions on the number of printers and presses in Britain. Resisting the standard "... More


Memoirs on the Life and Travels of Thomas Hammond, 1748-1775



Thomas Hammond. Edited by George E. Boulukos

A lavishly illustrated manuscript from the eighteenth century now being published for the first time, Thomas Hammond's memoirs are a major discovery. Hammond was a self-educated but remarkably gifted writer with a knack for seizing unlikely opportunities for adventure. We follow this abandoned waif... More


Questioning Nature

British Women's Scientific Writing and Literary Originality, 1750-1830


Melissa Bailes

In the mid-eighteenth century, many British authors and literary critics anxiously claimed that poetry was in crisis. These writers complained that modern poets plagiarized classical authors as well as one another, asserted that no new subjects for verse remained, and feared poetry's complete... More


Nationalizing France's Army

Foreign, Black, and Jewish Troops in the French Military, 1715-1831


Christopher J. Tozzi

Before the French Revolution, tens of thousands of foreigners served in France’s army. They included troops from not only all parts of Europe but also places as far away as Madagascar, West Africa, and New York City. Beginning in 1789, the French revolutionaries, driven by a new political ideology... More


Spectacular Suffering

Witnessing Slavery in the Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic


Ramesh Mallipeddi

Spectacular Suffering focuses on commodification and discipline, two key dimensions of Atlantic slavery through which black bodies were turned into things in the marketplace and persons into property on plantations. Mallipeddi approaches the problem of slavery as a problem of embodiment in this... More


Empiricist Devotions

Science, Religion, and Poetry in Early Eighteenth-Century England


Courtney Weiss Smith

Featuring a moment in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century England before the disciplinary divisions that we inherit today were established, Empiricist Devotions recovers a kind of empiricist thinking in which the techniques and emphases of science, religion, and literature combined and... More


No Tomorrow

The Ethics of Pleasure in the French Enlightenment


Catherine Cusset

Winner of the 1996 Walker Cowen Memorial Prize, Catherine Cusset's No Tomorrow traces the moral meaning of pleasure in several libertine works of the eighteenth-century—Watteau's Pélerinage à l'île de Cythère, Prévost's Manon Lescaut, Crébillon's Les égarements du coeur et de l'esprit, the... More


Raving at Usurers

Anti-Finance and the Ethics of Uncertainty in England, 1690-1750


Dwight Codr

In Raving at Usurers, Dwight Codr explores the complex intersection of religion, economics, ethics, and literature in late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England. Codr offers an alternative to the orthodox story of secular economic modernity's emergence in this key time and place, locating in... More


Ossianic Unconformities

Bardic Poetry in the Industrial Age


Eric Gidal

In a sequence of publications in the 1760s, James Macpherson, a Scottish schoolteacher in the central Highlands, created fantastic epics of ancient heroes and presented them as genuine translations of the poetry of Ossian, a fictionalized Caledonian bard of the third century. In Ossianic... More


Unnatural Frenchmen

The Politics of Priestly Celibacy and Marriage, 1720-1815


E. Claire Cage

In Enlightenment and revolutionary France, new and pressing arguments emerged in the long debate over clerical celibacy. Appeals for the abolition of celibacy were couched primarily in the language of nature, social utility, and the patrie. The attack only intensified after the legalization of... More


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