John Schulz

B.A. The College of Wooster (2014)
M.A. University of Maryland (2016)

John Schulz works and teaches on British poetry of the long-nineteenth century, historical poetics, and genre studies. He is especially interested in poetry’s discursive relationship to various British nationalisms during this period. He is the co-leader of Princeton’s Victorian colloquium, an affiliate of the NAVSA Victorian Poetry Caucus, and the website manager for the national Historical Poetics Reading Group.

His dissertation is tentatively titled Lions After Slumber: Nineteenth-Century Poetry, British Nationalisms, and the Idea of the Ballad. It recovers a historical poetics of how, after the late-eighteenth century “Ballad Revival, the ballad genre’s ineffability—the uncertainty as to what a ballad was, is, or could be—operated as a creative principle through which British poets wrote the nation and Empire in verse. The ineffability of the ballad has long been framed in negative terms: as the site at which cultural nationalisms converse and clash; or as the point of origin for various fantasies of the ballad that still influence our understanding of poetic form and genre today. Lions After Slumber, a phrase from Percy Shelley’s political ballad Mask of Anarchy (1832), instead argues that for poets exploring the contours of Britishness—an imperially capacious and diverse idea of national identity—the ballad’s ineffability made it malleable and, therefore, instrumental to these poetic efforts. Targeted chapters on Thomas Babington Macaulay’s historiography and  his Lays of Ancient Rome (1842), Alfred Tennyson’s Maud (1855) and its relation to his unnerving ballads of imperial crisis like “The Defence of Lucknow” (1879), and the convergences of epic and ballad discourse in Toru Dutt’s Ancient Legends and Ballads of Hindustan (1882) unfold the ways in which multiple, at times contradictory, ideas about the ballad genre become legible as a language through which these poets mythologized (Macaulay), held together (Tennyson), and unsettled (Dutt) Britishness. In doing so, Lions After Slumber focalizes the fragility of the British imperial enterprise, while simultaneously shedding light on the alternative worlds imagined by the Empire’s subordinated cultures.

In his range of teaching at Princeton, Schulz has served as an Assistant in Instruction for “ENG228: Introduction to Irish Studies” and ENG385: “Children’s Literature.” In 2019, he co-taught an intensive seminar on Charles Dickens’s Barnaby Rudge (1841) for the Dickens Universe at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He’s also guest-taught Victorian poetry at The Hun School of Princeton, a local private high-school. An essay on his writing-pedagogy is forthcoming in The Pocket-Instructor: Writing (Princeton University Press 2023).

In tandem with his research and teaching, Schulz is devoted to the broad-field of educational development. He is the Senior Graduate Fellow at Princeton’s McGraw Center of Teaching and Learning where he works in the Graduate Student and Postdoc Scholarly Success program. At McGraw, Schulz has co-founded two major initiatives for graduate students: The Graduate Peer-Coaching Program and Discerning Dissertating, a series of seminars dedicated to revealing the “hidden-curriculum” of dissertation writing across its various stages. You can read more about that work here.