Kelly Swartz

Kelly Swartz
Kelly Swartz

BA (Dartmouth, 2005), MFA (UC Irvine, 2009)

I study seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature and philosophy with a particular emphasis on British and early American writers. My dissertation, Maxims and the Mind: Sententiousness from Seventeenth-Century Science to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, is the first study of the maxim as an Enlightenment form. At a historical moment when inwardness was increasingly championed as an individual asset, eighteenth-century essayists, novelists, and philosophers used maxims to chart the potentially damaging effects (personal and social) of unfettered reflection. In chapters on Francis Bacon, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Richardson, and Jane Austen, the study explains how the maxim, once a didactic tool, became a central device in literary depictions of inner life—depictions that found interiority more perilous than empowering.

My other teaching and research interests include: literature and science; gender and sexuality studies; formalisms; the theory and history of the novel; satire; and poetry writing and poetics.

I am currently a Postdoctoral Lecturer in the Princeton Writing Program. My course, “Satire and Censorship,” uses satire to explore the shifting meanings of censorship and free speech in today’s society.

In 2015-2016 I worked with Professor Diana Fuss as a Cotsen Junior Research Fellow.

In the past I have precepted for ENG 200: Introduction to English Literature, 14th-18th Century (Spring 2015), ENG 308: American Cinema (Fall 2014), ENG 208: Introduction to the Essay, and taught Intro to Composition courses at Garden State Correctional Facility and Albert C. Wagner Correctional Facility, both in New Jersey.

My poems and reviews have appeared in Cincinnati Review, The Midwest Quarterly, and Washington Square.