John Bugg

John Bugg

I entered the PhD program in 2001 and defended my dissertation in the field of British Romanticism in 2007. From there I spent one year at the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University, and then joined the Department of English at Fordham University, where I currently serve as Director of Graduate Studies. Given my current role, I’ve had occasion to reflect upon my own graduate training, and more than once I’ve tried to bring what I learned at Princeton about how to structure and run a good graduate program to my work at Fordham. What I most valued at the time, and most admire looking back now, is precisely the sanity and thoughtful moderation of the program. In my experience as a graduate student, Princeton managed to find just the right balance between structure and freedom, and in my experience now as a DGS, I know that “balance” in this case is less noun than verb -- it’s a process that requires constant adjustment and tweaking. In this regard it isn’t easy to single out one part of the program that best prepared me for my current position, but I can point to a couple of things that were particularly helpful. First is mentoring: I had brilliant and dedicated dissertation mentors in Susan Wolfson and Starry Schor, and I also benefitted from the advice of Deborah Nord, Jeff Nunokawa, Eduardo Cadava, Ulrich Knoepflmacher, and Tim Watson. With all of the faculty at Princeton I experienced a general friendliness and generosity that really helped me to make the sometimes perplexing transition from student to professional colleague. Mentorships also happens among one’s peers, and I was fortunate to be at Princeton at the same time as a group of smart and caring students – one of whom even agreed to marry me. Second is opportunity: amongst the range of experiences I had outside the English Department, including taking graduate courses in other disciplines, receiving grants and fellowships that enabled me to do research that would otherwise have been impossible, and conducting archival work at Firestone, it was my experience as Graduate Coordinator of the Canadian Studies program that proved particularly valuable when I arrived at Fordham: in 2008 my colleague Sarah Zimmerman and I founded the Fordham Romanticism Group, which hosts events throughout the year and serves as a kind of hub for Romantic-era studies in New York. I’m not sure that I would have taken on this challenge if I hadn’t learned about the professional and social pleasures that can come with this kind of organizational work.

The Joseph Johnson Letterbook (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Five Long Winters: The Trials of British Romanticism (Stanford University Press, 2013)