Susan J. Wolfson

2020-2021 Old Dominion Research Professor; Professor of English




16 McCosh Hall


In the academic year 2020-21, Susan J. Wolfson will be an Old Dominion Research Professor at the Humanities Council. She is developing a new book titled, Romanticism’s Generative Reading.

Wolfson’s research examines the way writers, in an age drawn irresistibly toward totalizing structures of understanding, confront irrepressible forces of multiplicity—political, philosophical, and literary, investigating reading as both effect and cause of this energy. Chapters focus on lightning as “the spirit of the age,” Frankenstein, Austen’s peculiar fictions, girls reading Shakespeare, Mary Shelley’s editing of Percy Shelley, and William Empson’s inadvertent feminism.

During the year, Wolfson will contribute to the Council’s interdisciplinary programs and events and engage colleagues and students from across the University in sustained discussions about her work.

Wolfson joined Princeton’s faculty in 1991. Her specialization is British Romantic literature and culture, 1750-1850.  Recent critical books include Reading John Keats (2015), and Romantic Shades and Shadows (2018).  Further adventures involve scholarly editing, most recently The Annotated Northanger Abbey (2014).

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