Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Toni Bowers

Toni Bowers

Professor of English

Curriculum Vitae

Fisher-Bennett Hall 239

Office Hours

spring 2020

English 345: Traveling with Gulliver

English 90: Writing Women, 1660-1760

office: Th 3-4:15, and by appointment 


Toni Bowers (Professor) specializes in British literature and culture from Charles II’s restoration in 1660 to the French Revolution. Professor Bowers’ research and writing focus particularly on how representations of intimate relations shaped public and private distributions of power during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and on the ongoing discursive construction of "Great Britain." She publishes and teaches on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British writing by and about women, ideologically driven and partisan political writing of that time and place, the discursive construction of "Great Britain" between 1600 and 1800, and early prose fiction from England and Scotland.

In addition to dozens of essays in scholarly journals and collections, she is the author of Force or Fraud: British Seduction Stories and the Problem of Resistance, 1660-1760, (Oxford University Press, 2011), and The Politics of Motherhood: British Writing and Culture, 1660-1760 (Cambridge University Press, 1996). With John Richetti (Penn, Emeritus), she has co-edited an abridgement of Richardson's Clarissa (Broadview Press, 2010), and with Professor Tita Chico of the University of Maryland she has co-edited a volume of scholarly essays titled Atlantic Worlds in the Long Eighteenth Century: Seduction and Sentiment  (Palgrave: 2012). She is currently writing a new book that reaches back to the early seventeenth century, on imaginative structures used to debate the Union of England and Scotland between 1603 and the middle of the eighteenth century. With Prof. Albert Rivero of Marquette University, she is also editing the first complete edition in nearly a century of Richardson's Pamela (v. 1-4), under contract with Broadview PressFor more of Dr. Bowers's publications, see here.

Toni Bowers regularly presents her scholarship across the United States and has lectured by invitation in Canada, England, Finland, France, the Netherlands, and Scotland. In addition to her undergraduate teaching, she leads graduate seminars, directs and advises doctoral dissertations at Penn and at other institutions around the world, supervises undergraduate and graduate-level independent studies, and serves on committees at Penn for the English Department, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the University. Dr. Bowers co-founded Penn’s Atlantic Studies Seminar, was a year-long Visiting Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), and for many years served as Faculty-in-Residence at Kings Court-English House College House, where she founded the undergraduate humanities society Perspectives in Humanities and inaugurated the Penn Authors' Forum. She has been the recipient of a number of national and international fellowships and awards, including from the NEH, the British Academy, the Newberry Library, the Huntington Library, the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, and the Harry Ransom Center.

Bowers is a member of the Steering Committee and a Core Faculty Member for Penn's Gender Studies program (GSWS), and she is on the Advisory Board to the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. She serves as editorial consultant for a number of academic journals and publishing houses, has served as both Delegate and member of the Executive Committee of the Delegates for the American Council for Learned Societies. She has also served as a Delegate for the Modern Language Association and on its Executive Committee for Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century Studies.  She currently serves on the MLA's Executive Committee for Scottish Literature. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford.


Articles and Book Chapters

"'The Abdicated Family': Hume's Partisan Grammar in 'Of the Protestant Succession'" in Restoration: Study in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700 (2015)
"Dancing with Michael Jackson" in Los Angeles Review of Books (2015)

Doctoral Dissertations Chaired


Alice Tweedy McGrath "Patchwork Fictions: Imagining Intimacy Beyond the Marriage Plot"


Alyssa Connell " Paper Kingdom: Travel Literature, Chorography, and the Writing of Britain, 1660-1770"


David Alff "British Writing and the Culture of Projection: 1660–1790"


Juliet Shields "Engendering Great Britain: Literary Representations of Anglo-Scottish Relations, 1700-1730"


Brett Wilson "Maudlin Whigs: Gender, Feeling, and Party on the British Stage, 1688-1746"

Courses Taught

fall 2020

ENGL 090.401 Writing Women: 1660 to 1760  

fall 2019

fall 2018

ENGL 545.301 Eighteenth-Century Novels  

summer 2018

spring 2018

ENGL 060.001 Early British Novels  
ENGL 345.301 Epistolary Fiction  

fall 2017

spring 2017

ENGL 047.001 Scottish Literature canceled  

fall 2016

ENGL 345.401 Epistolary Fiction  
ENGL 544.401 Richardson canceled  

spring 2016

ENGL 245.401 The Pamela Craze  

fall 2015

ENGL 047.001 Scottish Literature  
ENGL 345.301 British Epistolary Fiction  

spring 2015

ENGL 345.301 British Epistolary Fiction  

spring 2014

ENGL 341.301 Pamela Craze  

spring 2012

ENGL 090.401 Writing Women: 1660-1800  

fall 2011

ENGL 045.001 18th Century British Novel  
ENGL 390.401 Sexuality and Power  

spring 2011

ENGL 345.301 Richardson and Epistolarity  

fall 2010

ENGL 730.401 Epistolary Fiction  

spring 2010

ENGL 045.401 18th-Century Novel  
ENGL 341.401 The Pamela Craze  

fall 2009

ENGL 090.401 Writing Women, 1660-1800  

spring 2009

ENGL 245.401 Epistolary Fiction  

fall 2008

spring 2008

fall 2007

ENGL 045.001 Eighteenth Century Novel  
ENGL 553.401 18th Century Women Writers  

spring 2006

ENGL 540.401 Seduction and Literature  

fall 2005

ENGL 045.001 18th Century Novel  

spring 2005

ENGL 345.401 The Pamela Controversy  
ENGL 553.401 Writing Women, 1660-1760  

fall 2003

ENGL 016.302 Ways of Reading canceled  
ENGL 045.001 18th Century Novel canceled  

spring 2002

fall 2001

ENGL 544.401 Richardson  

spring 2001

ENGL 045.001 18th Century Novel  
ENGL 553.401 Writing Women 1660-1760  

fall 2000

ENGL 800.301 Teaching of Literature  

spring 1999

ENGL 100.401 Intro. To Literary Study  

fall 1998

fall 1997

ENGL 203.001 Major British Novel  
ENGL 299.314 Independent Study  
ENGL 343.401 Seduction in Literature  

spring 1997

ENGL 100.001 Intro to Literary Study  

fall 1996

ENGL 045.001 18th Century Novel  
ENGL 090.401 Women and Literature  

spring 1995

fall 1994

ENGL 045.001 The 18th-Century Novel