Work E-mail: mrooney@uOttawa.ca
My primary field of interest is British Literature in the “long” eighteenth century (1660-1832). My recent work focuses on a variety of genres — including poetry, political treatises, and histories — but my research interests lie largely with the novel.
My recent book considers the British novel in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, situating the genre in the context of the French Revolution and paying particular attention to the novel’s various, oft-ignored sub-genres in the era (Jacobin, anti-Jacobin, National Tale, and early historical). The novel in this period, I argue, becomes involved in a struggle for the authority of history that begins with the French Revolution debate — a broad cultural controversy in which forms such as the Jacobin and anti-Jacobin novel explicitly participate. I conclude that the novel’s engagement with the historical discourses of the revolutionary decade motivates novelists to represent the past in their attempts to defend their ideological positions and to attack those of their opponents, a development that lays the groundwork for the emergence of early historical fiction and, ultimately, the historical novel as it was realized by Walter Scott.
Building on that work, my new project considers literary allusion, generic inheritances, and canon formation in the literature of the 1790s. In particular, I explore the ways in which allusions to early eighteenth-century authors and texts are deployed, and their relationship to the novel and poetry canons emerging in the Romantic era and after. I am especially interested in complicating two long-standing critical truisms about the literature of the period: first, that anti-Jacobin fiction is hostile to the novel form as a whole, and second, that Romantic poetry in the 1790s suddenly and finally displaces older Augustan poetic forms. With respect to the former, I am focusing on anti-Jacobin fiction’s critical appraisals of the novel — how it identifies and examines the novel’s various features, traces its genealogy, and constructs canons of its masters as well as its dunces. With respect to the latter, I am investigating the ongoing influence of Augustan genres and modes in the Romantic era, a subject that has received little attention to date.
In the classroom, I strive to create a learner-centered space that, ideally, balances lectures and hands-on activities. In my lectures, I aim to situate the literature in its original contexts (social, political, historical, and cultural). At the same time, I also instruct students in the fundamentals of literary study, teaching them an appropriately literary vocabulary and essay-writing techniques; familiarizing them with various theoretical frameworks for literary analysis (feminist, Marxist, new historicist, postcolonial, and so on); and, through the lectures and a variety of expository assignments, building up their ability to read closely, to analyze and synthesize, and to form persuasive arguments. In my activities, I seek to have students apply what they are learning and so to become directly involved in their own learning. In all my classes, my main goal is always to help students become stronger, more confident readers and writers — and, ideally, independent learners.
Fields of Interest
- Restoration and Eighteenth-Century British Literature
- Romantic-Era British Literature
- The 1790s and the French Revolution Debate
- Jacobin and Anti-Jacobin Fiction
- The Novel
- Canon Formation
- The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
2014-2019 Adjunct Research Professor, Department of English, Carleton University
2009- Part-Time Instructor, Carleton University
2008- Part-Time Instructor, University of Ottawa
2006- 2012 General Academic and Textual Advisor, Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Broadview Press
2005-2012 Editorial Advisor, Broadview Literary Texts, Broadview Press
2002-2007 Teaching and Research Assistant, Carleton University and University of Ottawa
Scholarly and professional activities
2013- Educational Developer, Educational Development Centre, Carleton University
2011-2012 Referee, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, Bucknell University press, Broadview Press
2012-2013 Coordinator, Peer Assisted Study Sessions program, Carleton University
2011-2012 Steward, Department of English, CUPE 4600, Carleton University
2010-2011 Representative, Department of English, Association of Part-Time Professors, University of Ottawa
2010 Panel Chair, “Miscellaneous Mapping,” CSECS Conference
2009-2010 Coordinator, Learning Support Services, Carleton University
2005-2007 President and Past President, Graduate Students’ Association, Department of English, University of Ottawa
Awards and Honours
2006-2007 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship
2006 Mark Madoff Prize
2003-2007 Ontario Graduate Scholarship (declined in 2007)
2003-2007 University of Ottawa Excellence Scholarship
2002-2003 Entrance and Domestic Scholarships, Carleton University
The French Revolution Debate and the British Novel, 1790-1814: The Struggle for History’s Authority. Transits: Literature, Thought and Culture 1650-1850. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2013.
“Charlotte Smith and the Persistence of the Past.” Didactic Novels and British Women's Writing, 1790-1820. Ed. Hilary Havens. Routledge, 2017. 21-37.
“Anti-Jacobin Fiction and the Eighteenth-Century Traditions of the Novel: Robert Bisset, Isaac D’Israeli, and the Novel’s Reclamation.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 48.2 (2015): 221-39.
“Reading History in a Revolutionary Age: Strategies for Interpreting 1688 in Richard Price, James Mackintosh, and Edmund Burke.” Lumen 27 (2009): 27-40.
“‘Belonging to No/Body’: Mary Robinson, The Natural Daughter, and Rewriting Feminine Identity.” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 18:3 (2006): 355-72.
Reviews and Other Publications
Rev. of Fictional Matter: Empiricism, Corpuscles, and the Novel, by Helen Thompson. Journal of British Studies 57.1 (2018): forthcoming.
Seven entries for The Cambridge Introduction to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, 1660-1820. Ed. April London. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, forthcoming.
Rev. of British Historical Fiction before Scott, by Anne H. Stevens.Wordsworth Circle 43.4 (2012): 249-50.
Rev. of The Cottagers of Glenburnie: And Other Educational Writing, by Elizabeth Hamilton, ed. Pam Perkins. Scottish Literary Review 4.2 (2012): 193-95.
“William Duff.” Eighteenth-Century Literary Scholars and Critics. Ed. Frans De Bruyn. Dictionary of Literary Biography 356. Detroit: Gale, 2010. 69-77.
"The Impacts of Changing PhD Programs on Research and Practice in English" (panel). Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE).
"Measuring the Impact, Strengths, and Limitations of Formative Assessment: A Case Study." Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) Conference. Halifax, Nova Scotia. 20-23 June 2017."
“Pedagogical Training and the Future of the PhD Program.” STLHE Conference. London, Ontario. 21–24 June 2016.
“Fostering a Culture of Teaching Professionalization: Challenges, Opportunities, and Strategies.” Modern Language Association (MLA) Convention. Vancouver, British Columbia. 8–11 January 2015.
“Transforming Undergraduate Essay Writing: Towards a Potential Model.” Workshop. STLHE Conference. Kingston, Ontario. 17–20 June 2014.
“Women, Novel Reading, and the Novel Canon in the 1790s.” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) Conference. Williamsburg, Virginia. 17–20 March 2014.
“Anti-Jacobin Fiction and the Eighteenth-Century Traditions of the Novel: Robert Bisset, Isaac D’Israeli, and the Novel’s Reclamation.” Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (CSECS) Conference. University of Alberta. 17–20 October 2012.
“The Struggle for History’s Authority: The Example of Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent (1800).” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference. San Antonio, Texas. March 22-25, 2012.
“‘Auld ways are aye the best’: Custom and Tradition in Elizabeth Hamilton’s Cottagers of Glenburnie (1807) and Hannah More’s Cheap Repository Tracts (1795-98).” Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies / Aphra Behn Society / Northeast American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference. McMaster University. October 27-29, 2011.
“The Problem of History in the 1790s: The Persistence of the Past in Charlotte Smith’s Old Manor House and William Godwin’s St. Leon.” CSECS Conference. Memorial University. October 14-16, 2010.
“Representing History in a Post-Revolutionary Age: Jane Porter and Historical Fiction before Walter Scott.” CSECS / NASECS Conference. University of Ottawa. November 5-8, 2009.
“‘Tales of other times’: Reform, Reaction, and the Politics of Representing History in Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent.” CSECS Conference. McGill University. October 15-18, 2008.
“The Discourses of History in the Anti-Jacobin Novel: George Walker’sThe Vagabond and Robert Bisset’s Douglas; or, The Highlander.” CSECS Conference. University of Manitoba. October 17-20, 2007.
“Reading History in a Revolutionary Age: Strategies for Interpreting 1688 in Richard Price, James Mackintosh, and Edmund Burke.” CSECS Conference. Dalhousie University. October 18-21, 2006.
“The Writing Self: Authorship, Identity, and the Body in Mary Robinson’s The Natural Daughter.” CSECS Conference. Université du Québec à Trois Rivières. October 19-22, 2005.