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Aaron Hanlon


Visiting Assistant Professor


Department of English
General profile


+1 202-687-7435

Office hours

Fall 2014:M/W 2:00-3:30


My research and teaching interests fall primarily within the 17th-18th centuries, from the emergence of the "New Philosophy" and 17th-century British science writing to the "rise" and development of the novel throughout the 18th century and across the Atlantic. In particular, I'm interested in how we organize knowledge, how the domains of reality and fiction interact in the novel, and how science writing and the novel mutually construct our ideas of what we know and how we know it. These interests lead, perhaps predictably, to further interests in methodology and heuristics as objects of study and critique, not merely as means of study and critique.

My book project, "The Politics of Quixotism," examines the proliferation of quixotic characters in British and American fiction (1612-1815) as part of a political history of exceptionalism, which both informs the history of "American exceptionalism" and locates an underexplored "British exceptionalism" of the long eighteenth century. Through the examples of Don Quixote and his literary progeny, it illustrates how fiction - even outlandish fiction - has played a prominent role in reshaping political realities.

My articles have appeared in Studies in the Novel, The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, Connotations, and Comparative American Studies. I have also written book reviews for the British Association for Romantic Studies Bulletin and Review and The Oxonian Review of Books, and have written essays on satire and the discourse of privilege and race and American exceptionalism for

My most recent work explores 1) links between methodology and visual rhetoric in the writings of Robert Hooke and Thomas Sprat, 2) anthropomorphism in the writings of Margaret Cavendish, 3) rhetoric and speech act in the poetry of Mary Chudleigh and Alexander Pope, and 4) character as a transportable heuristic for organizing the controversial "world literature."

This Fall ('14) I'm teaching "Satire," "17th-18th Century Women's Writing," and "The (Im)Personal Essay." This Spring ('15) I'm teaching "Rhetoric of 18th Century Poetry," "Restoration Drama," and "The (Im)Personal Essay" (again). Students with interest in any of these courses or research topics are most welcome to get in touch.


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  • D.Phil. (2012) University of Oxford, English
  • MA (2008) Dartmouth College, Cultural Studies
  • BA, MA (2004, 2006) Bucknell University, Political Science, English