James Smith joined Royal Holloway in September 2015, having previously taught in Manchester and in Exeter. His first monograph is about the novelist Samuel Richardson, and he is writing another book on eighteenth-century literary culture, entitled Shakespeare and the Rise of the Novel. He is interested in all aspects of twentieth and twenty first-century literary theory, and in intersections between cultural criticism and politics.
In this module, we think about what writers of the 18th century thought about writing itself, focusing in particular on Alexander Pope's Essay on Criticism (1711) and Elizabeth Montagu's Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespeare (1769). Should writers follow the models of ancient writers like Homer and Virgil, as Pope said, or should they 'quit the beaten track' and 'make daring incursions into unexplored regions of invention', as Montague writes?
Royal Holloway, London