I am a literary critic specializing in British Romanticism (ca. 1770-1840) across genres, with particular interests in persuasion and rhetoric, cognition, epistemology, and literary theory. What unites these interests is the question of literature’s role in representing and eliciting new ethical and political sensibilities—a question that often involves consideration of the period’s emergent scientific psychology and revolutionary social and political movements, and always involves attention to the distinctive work of literary language, genre, and form.
I am an Associate Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame and have held research fellowships at the National Humanities Center (USA) and Chawton House (England), as well as doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (at the University of Cambridge and at York University respectively). I am a co-founder of the John Thelwall Society and served recently as Reviews Co-Editor for the Keats-Shelley Journal.
Before pursuing graduate studies in English, I studied journalism and interned at Time, the Globe and Mail, Canadian Geographic, and the Networks of Centres of Excellence (a research-funding initiative of the Canadian government). As a research assistant to the Canadian Senator Joan Fraser (Lib.), I also worked on a Senate study of the Canadian news media.
REIMAGINING PERSUASION IN BRITISH ROMANTIC LITERATURE
A study of how British Romantic writers fundamentally re-conceived of the theory and practice of persuasion, notably by insisting on the ethical and aesthetic value of persuasions that are at best provisional--"for a moment," as Thomas De Quincey put it. Focusing on major and neglected works of poetry, fiction, drama, and philosophy—by George Campbell, De Quincey, Hazlitt, Godwin, Wordsworth, the Shelleys, and Austen, among others—the book examines writers’ innovative ways of theorizing, representing, and enacting this distinctive sense of persuasion and makes a wider case for the concept’s importance to civic and critical discourse today.
A critical recovery of the 18th/19th-century democratic reformer and polymath John Thelwall that shows to what extent Romanticism’s belief in the imagination as an agent of social and cognitive change was bound up with the developing sciences of body and mind. Drawing on new archival discoveries, selections of which are reproduced in the appendix, the book connects the full range of Thelwall’s works—poetry, fiction, drama, criticism, oratory, political theory, speech therapy, and elocutionary treatises—with his heterodox contributions to Romantic science.
PERSUASION AFTER RHETORIC IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY AND ROMANTICISM
Oxford University Press
Edited with Stefan H. Uhlig
Contributors include Maeve Adams, Ian Balfour, Mark Canuel, Frances Ferguson, Sean Franzel,
Alessa Johns, Brian McGrath, Jan Mieszkowski, Emma Planinc, Daniel Stout, Ross Wilson, Sarah Zimmerman
Éditions Honoré Champion
Edited with Raphaël Ehrsam
Introduced by Guillaume Ansart and Catriona Seth
The bilingual, interdisciplinary proceedings of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ISECS) Early-Career Seminar.
Edited with Michael Scrivener and Judith Thompson.
A modern edition of John Thelwall's lively 1801 fictional exploration of rights and revolution in Britain and Haiti, with contextual materials on the abolition and revolution debates.
Romantic Circles Praxis Series
Critical reassessments of the eclectic career, prolific writings, and cultural afterlives of the Romantic-era reformer John Thelwall.
ARTICLES AND CHAPTERS
“Emma and the ‘Chimera of Relativism.’” Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 60.4 (2020).
“Mary Shelley’s Fascinations: The Last Man.” Modern Philology 114.3 (2017).
“Four Letters by Annabella and Lucy Byron.” Keats-Shelley Journal 65 (2016).
“Percy Shelley’s Revolutionary Periods.” English Literary History 83.4 (2016).
“‘A Plausible Tale’: William Godwin’s Things As They Are.” European Romantic Review 25.5 (2014).
“Mute Records and Blank Legends: John Thelwall’s ‘Paternal Tears.’ ” Romanticism 16.2 (2010).
"Epic." Percy Shelley in Context. Ed. Ross Wilson. Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.
"Women, Rhetoric, and Rhetorical Theory." The Cambridge History of Rhetoric. Vol. 4: Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries (1650-1900). Ed. Adam Potkay and Dietmar Till. Cambridge University Press, 2023.
“Prone Minds and Extended Selves: The Cenci.” Romanticism and Consciousness Revisited. Ed. Richard C. Sha and Joel Faflak. Edinburgh University Press, 2022.
“Rhetoric.” The Oxford Handbook of Romantic Prose. Ed. Robert Morrison. Oxford University Press, 2022.
“Poetic Liberties in the 1790s: John Thelwall and Some Contemporaries.” Enlightenment Liberties/Libertés des Lumières. Ed. Guillaume Ansart, Raphaël Ehrsam, Catriona Seth, and Yasmin Solomonescu. Éditions Honoré Champion, 2018.
“Articulations of Community in The Peripatetic.” John Thelwall: Radical Romantic and Acquitted Felon. Ed. Steve Poole. Pickering and Chatto, 2009
My undergraduate courses at Notre Dame include "Romantic Revolutions, 1790-1830"; "British Fiction, 1790-1830"; "Mad, Bad, and Dangerous: Lord Byron and Percy Shelley"; "No Frills Jane Austen"; "Introduction to Literary Studies"; and "Literary Visions and Revisions."
At the graduate level I have taught, most recently, "Returns of the Aesthetic" (with Joseph Rosenberg, Program of Liberal Studies), as well as "Romanticism and Persuasion" and "British Romanticism and the Sciences of Life." I have also taught our department's "Introduction to Graduate Studies" practicum as well as its job-market and scholarly-publishing practicums.
solomonescu dot 1 at nd dot edu