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John Richetti

A.M. Rosenthal Professor of English

John Richetti received his graduate degrees from Columbia University, where he specialized in eighteenth-century English literature, and wrote his dissertation at University College, London as a Fulbright Scholar and a Danforth Fellow. He has taught at Columbia, at Stanford, at New York University as the Berg Visiting Professor, and for many years at Rutgers, where he received the Lindback Award for distinguished teaching. He has held fellowships from the ACLS, the NEH, and the Guggenheim Foundation. His books include: Popular Fiction Before Richardson: Narrative Patterns 1700-1739 (1969; 1992); Defoe's Narratives: Situations and Structures (1975)Philosophical Writing: Locke, Berkeley, Hume (1983); Daniel Defoe (1987);The English Novel in History, 1700-1780 (1999); and The Life of Daniel Defoe: A Critical Biography (2005). He has edited The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth-Century Novel (1996); The Columbia History of the British Novel (1995), (with Paula Backscheider) Popular Fiction by Women: 1660-1740 (1996), and The Cambridge Companion to Daniel Defoe (2008).With his colleague Toni Bowers, he abridged and edited a paperback edition of Samuel Richardson's Clarissa (2011). He is the editor of the Restoration and Eighteenth-Century volume of the New Cambridge History of English Literature(2005).  His most recent book is the eighteenth-century volume of the Wiley-Blackwell history of British literature, A History of Eighteenth-Century British Literature (2017. Appearing in early 2018 will be his edition of the Cambridge Companion to Robinson Crusoe.

In 2006 he was awarded the Ira Abrams Award for Distinguished Teaching in SAS.  In 2011, he received a Mellon Emeritus Fellowship and spent five months doing research at the British Library in London on his new project, "Performance in 18th-Century English Verse." For a number of years, he has recorded poetry on the web site, PennSound, including selections from Dryden, Pope, Swift, and other Restoration and 18th-century English authors, a generous selection of Shakespeare's Sonnets, a large part of Milton's Paradise Lost, and selections of poems by Milton, Marvell, Donne, and Herbert. More recently, he has recorded selections from Ben Jonson and various Cavalier poets, the major English Romantic poets, selected passages from Shakespeare’s plays, and selected poems of William Butler Yeats. In addition his contribution to the PennSound “Classics” section includes “110 Poems for Memorizing.”


Doctoral Dissertations Chaired


Anna Foy "Poetry and the Common Weal: Conceiving Civic Utility in British Poetics of the Long Eighteenth Century"


Joseph Drury "Machines, Mechanism and the Making of the English Novel in the Eighteenth Century"


Ashley Montague "Going to the Market: Credit Economics and Marriageable Women in 18th-Century Fiction"
Julie Rebecca Schutzman "Ruling Passions, Sovereignty, Femininity and Fiction"


George Justice "The Production of Literature in Eighteenth-Century Britain"


Sandra Sherman "The Poetics of Trade: Finance and Fictionality in the Early 18th Century"

Courses Taught

spring 2007

ENGL 801.302 Pedagogy  

fall 2006

spring 2006

ENGL 040.001 British Poetry 1660-1900  
ENGL 360.301 The Novel of Adventure  

fall 2004

ENGL 101.001 Shakespeare  

summer 2004

spring 2004

fall 2003

summer 2003

ENGL 049.910 Satire and Irony  

spring 2003

ENGL 101.001 Shakespeare  
ENGL 601.301 Proseminar  

spring 2001

fall 2000

spring 2000

ENGL 545.301 18th Century Novel  

fall 1999

ENGL 103.001 Poetry  

summer 1999

spring 1999

ENGL 049.001 Satire & Irony  
ENGL 299.303 Independent Study  
ENGL 299.308 19th Century Novel  

fall 1998

spring 1998

ENGL 299.318 Independent Study  
ENGL 545.401 18th Century Novel  

fall 1997

ENGL 203.002 Major British Novel  

spring 1997

ENGL 045.001 18th Century Novel  
ENGL 299.312 Independent Study  
ENGL 299.360 Independent Study  

fall 1996

ENGL 545.301 18th-Century Novel  

spring 1995

fall 1994

ENGL 041.001 The Age of Pope  

fall 1988

ENGL 049.001 Satire and Irony