Megan Quinn

B.A. Duke University (2005)
M.Phil. in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Studies, University of Cambridge (2009)
Ph.D. Princeton University (2018)

My book project—The Sensation of Language: Jane Austen, William Wordsworth, Mary Shelley, Joanna Baillie—explores moments in British Romanticism when words impart sensations, from an elevated pulse to the rhythm of bodies in motion. Criticism on the Romantic era neglects these moments, focusing instead on language as a medium of the imagination. Turning from the immaterial mind, I contextualize Romantic-era writing in terms of sentimental models of feeling and materialist philosophy of language. I argue that Austen, Wordsworth, Shelley, and Baillie conceive words as agents of immediate physical sensations, and thus sources of visceral sympathy.

My article, “The Sensation of Language in Jane Austen’s Persuasion,” appeared in Eighteenth-Century Fiction 30, no. 2 (Winter 2017-18). An article on onomatopoeia and disability in William Wordsworth's “The Idiot Boy” is forthcoming in Studies in Romanticism. My research and teaching interests include: British Romanticism, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature and culture, studies of gender and disability, and philosophies of language and the senses.

In 2015 my teaching exercise, “Fill in the Blanks,” was published in Princeton University Press’s collection of active learning exercises for the literature classroom, The Pocket Instructor: Literature. Based on Mad Libs, the exercise asks students to fill in teacher-prepared blanks in a passage from a distinctive stylist like William Faulkner, helping them to recognize the linguistic choices that define the writer’s style.

At Princeton, I have taught as an Assistant Instructor for “Children’s Literature,” “Reading Literature: The Essay,” “Introduction to English Literature: 14th to 18th Century,” and “Jane Austen in Context.” My teaching also includes composition at San Francisco State University. From 2013-2015, I served as a co-organizer of the Princeton English Department’s Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Studies Colloquium. 

My short humor fiction has appeared on McSweeney’s.