Diana Little


Diana Little is a PhD candidate in the Department of English specializing in transatlantic literatures of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Romanticism, poetry and poetics, histories of science and empire, environmental humanities, and indigenous studies. Before coming to Princeton, she earned her B.A. with First Class Honours from McGill University and her master’s degree in English (1700-1830) from Jesus College, University of Oxford, where she was a Clarendon Scholar. She has published on the co-evolution of poetics and environmental science in the long eighteenth century, as well as on the gendered poetics of politics in the Romantic period.

Her dissertation, Imperial Erosions: The Geological Poetics of Empire, 1780-1850, examines the transatlantic entanglements of geology, poetry, and empire in the Romantic period. Tracing the vibrant lives of rocks, Imperial Erosions argues that the development of geology in the mid- to late-eighteenth century offered poets, scientists, and colonial officials new ways of reading the rise and fall–– or rather uplift and erosion–– of empire. Including chapters on Erasmus Darwin, Charlotte Smith, William Wordsworth, William Cullen Bryant, and Jane and Henry Schoolcraft, her project reveals how these poets imagined geological change intersecting with and shaping imperial timescales and networks, including Britain’s dissolving hegemony following the American Revolution, the fast pace of colonial resource extraction, and the westward expansion of the American Frontier.

Diana has taught several courses in the English Department and in the Environmental Studies department at Princeton. These courses include ENG 200: Literatures in English, 1350-1850, ENG 269: Sally Rooney and her Contemporaries, and ENV 238: Keywords in Environmental Studies. She is especially committed to interdisciplinary teaching that combines literary and environmental traditions of the past with current topics in environmental studies.

In addition to her research and teaching, Diana is also a member of the Blue Lab, an interdisciplinary environmental research, storytelling, and art group. Part of the High Meadows Environmental Institute at Princeton, the Blue Lab researches and produces creative projects from art exhibits to podcasts to explore how we make sense of lived environmental change, and why we rely on narratives to do so.

Selected Publications

“Wordsworth’s Webs: Spinning the Ecological Elegy,” European Romantic Review 34.3 (2023): 267-278

"'Bitter Memory” Meets 'Dark Retrospect': Charlotte Smith, Satan, and the Politics of Nostalgia in The Emigrants," Women's Writing, DOI: 10.1080/09699082.2023.2261683