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Noel Jackson
Associate Professor  .  Office: 14N-432  .  PBX: 617-452-3597  .  Email: njackson@mit.edu

Noel Jackson Research Interests: Romanticism; eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature and culture; poetry and poetics; aesthetics; critical theory; historiography; science and literature.

Noel Jackson works on topics in poetry and poetics, aesthetics, critical theory, and the literature of the long eighteenth century, particularly that of the British Romantic period. He received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago in 2001. His first book, Science and Sensation in Romantic Poetry (Cambridge, 2008), examined Romanticism's "sensuous" aesthetics both in relation to the eighteenth-century human sciences of physiology and the science of mind, and in the context of momentous social transformations in the period of the French Revolution. He has published essays in journals including ELH, MLQ, Studies in Romanticism, and elsewhere, and currently has essays out and forthcoming on lyric melancholy, criticism and pleasure, the "event of beauty" and the experience of the contemporary, among other topics.

He regularly teaches "Reading Poetry" in addition to various subjects in literature, critical theory, and aesthetics. Recent courses include "Media, Modernity, and the Moment: Experiments in Time," "Science and Imagination in the Age of Reason," "British Poetry and the Science of Mind," "On Beauty," and "Make it New: Manifestos and the Invention of the Modern."

Book - Articles - Chapters in Books - Short Essays and Reviews - Classes Taught



Science and Sensation in Romantic Poetry
Cambridge University Press, 2008




"The Senses" [essay title tbd], William Wordsworth in Context, ed. Andrew Bennett. Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2014.

"Literature and the Senses," The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism, ed. David Duff. Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2014.

"The Time of Beauty." Studies in Romanticism 50.2 (Summer 2011): 309-332. (Link to PDF)

"Coleridge's Criticism of Life," The Coleridge Bulletin NS 37 (Summer 2011): 21-34. (Link to PDF)

"Rhyme and Reason: Erasmus Darwin's Romanticism," Modern Language Quarterly 70.2 (June 2009): 171-194. (Link to PDF)

"Archaeologies of Perception: Reading Wordsworth After Foucault," European Romantic Review 18, no. 2 (April 2007): 175-185. (Link to PDF)

"Rethinking the Cultural Divide:  Walter Pater, Wilkie Collins, and the Legacies of Wordsworthian Aesthetics," Modern Philology 102, no. 2 (November 2004): 207-234. (Link to PDF)

"Critical Conditions: Coleridge, 'Common Sense,' and the Literature of Self-Experiment," ELH 70, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 117-149. (Link to PDF)

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Short essays and reviews

"On MOOCs; and Some Possible Futures for Higher Education," blog of the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard, June 4, 2013.

"On the Rate of Attrition in MOOCs"

"MOOCspace and Meatspace (at MIT and beyond)"

Review of Jeffrey C. Robinson, Unfettering Poetry: The Fancy in British Romanticism, in Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net 55 (August 2009)

“Strange Power of Speech,” The Lancet 374, no. 9700 (October 31, 2009): 1494-1495. (Link to full text)

Review of Marc Redfield, The Politics of Aesthetics:  Nationalism, Gender, Romanticism, in 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era 13 (2006): 396-400.

“Historiography: Britain” and “Solitude and Community,” in Encyclopedia of the Romantic Era, 1760-1850, ed. Christopher John Murray (New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2004), 504-5, 1067-8.

Review of Maureen McLane, Romanticism and the Human Sciences: Poetry, Population, and the Discourse of the Species, in Modern Philology 101, no. 3 (February 2004): 477-80.

Review of Alan Richardson, British Romanticism and the Science of the Mind, in Keats-Shelley Journal 52 (2003): 233-235.


Classes Taught

21L.000J Writing about Literature

21L.003 Reading Fiction

21L.004 Reading Poetry

21L.017 The Art of the Probable: Literature and Probability

21L.325 Media, Modernity, and the Moment: Experiments in Time

21L.470 Eighteenth-Century Literature

21L.471 Major English Novels

21L.476 Romantic Poetry

21L.704 Studies in Poetry: British Poetry and the Sciences of the Mind

21L.704 Studies in Poetry: What's the Use of Beauty?

21L.707 Studies in Cultural Interpretation: On Beauty

21L.709 Studies in Literary History: Manifestos and the Invention of the Modern