Richard Gibson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of English
On Faculty since 2009

Office: Blanchard Hall 308
Phone: (630)752-5051


Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2009

M.A., University of Virginia, 2006

B.A., Princeton University, summa cum laude, 2002

About Richard Gibson

My education has often been marked by an exhilarating freedom to roam among, sample from, and dive into poems, plays, novels, treatises, and tomes under the guidance of trusted teachers and mentors. I delight still in reading broadly, and I am grateful for that the courses I teach express my wide-ranging interests as a reader.

The work of an English professor often spills over into what we call “personal” life: we as a breed enjoy spending our “free time” reading, and the reading we do for or at work inspires in us new interests and enthusiasms. I thus read materials that count as “work” for fun, and my teaching and research have inspired new activities and pursuits. In particular, folks like Ruskin and Pater have warmed and informed my youthful interest in the pictorial arts, for which I now have a strong appetite. Thankfully, my spouse is more than willing to go along for if not initiate the ride to the museum, studio, or monument. She is likewise my regular companion at shows highbrow and low as well as in trying new recipes at home and restaurants abroad. Otherwise, I run; I poetize; I root for and often forgive the New York Mets.

Courses Taught

General Education:

  • ENGL 101 Classics of Western Literature
  • ENGL 102 Modern Western Literature
  • ENGL 105 Modern Global Literature
  • ENGW 103 Composition and Research

Courses within the Major:

  • ENGL 215 Classical and Early British Literature
  • ENGL 285 African Literature
  • ENGL 355 The Romantic Period
  • ENGL 364: British Modernism
  • ENGL 378: Studies in the Novel
  • ENGL 385: Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • ENGL 495: Independent Study (Advisor)

Membership in Professional Societies

  • Modern Language Association
  • Victorians Institute
  • Nineteenth Century Studies Association


My research centers on nineteenth-century Britain, that volatile and endlessly fascinating period that confronted so many of the joys and challenges of modernity: speedy machines, bustling cities, global trade and colonial power, scientific breakthroughs and paradigm-shifting theories, heated debates about theology, mass media, etc. I am currently at work on a monograph titled Forgiveness in Victorian Literature: Grammar, Narrative, and Community, which explores how a crucial theological and ethical concept fares in the increasingly complicated religious and literary scenes of Victorian Britian. The book is under contract with Bloomsbury Academic's New Directions in Religion and Literature Series.



"Nineteenth-Century Spiritual Autobiography: Carlyle, Mill, Newman." [with Timothy Larsen]A History of English Autobiography. Ed. Adam Smyth. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. [Forthcoming, 2015]

"Browning's 'A Forgiveness': A Grammatical Reading." Special Issue on Poetry and Forgiveness. Ed. Emma Mason. Literature Compass. [Forthcoming, 2014]

"Evangelicalism." [with Timothy Larsen] Victorian Literature: Oxford Bibliographies Online. Oxford University Press. 2012. [Peer-Reviewed, Annotated Bibliography of Best Current Scholarship]

"Counterfeit Phrases and Illusory Eschatons: Forgiveness in Jude the Obscure." The Hardy Review 13.2 (Autumn 2011): 109-121.

"Keeping the Sabbath Separately: Emily Dickinson’s Rebellious Faith." The Norton Introduction to Literature. 9th Edition. Eds. Alison Booth, J. Paul Hunter, and Kelly Mays.  New York: Norton, 2005. 2292-2301. [Reprinted in the 10th Edition, 2010]

"T. S. Eliot’s Mistaken Date." Princeton University Library Chronicle 65.1 (Autumn 2003): 101-105.


Rev. of St John and the Victorians, by Michael Wheeler. Religion and Literature. (Forthcoming)

"Two for the Road." Rev. of Places of Faith, by Christopher Scheitle and Roger Finke. Books and Culture. July/August 2012. 16-18. [2000 words]

"Extravagant Reversals."  Rev. of Victorian Parables, by Susan Colón. Books and Culture Online. June 2012. [2000 words]

"Poets Landscaping." Rev. of Abandoned Quarries, by John Lane, and Riffraff, by Stephen Cushman.  Books and Culture Online. November 2011. [2000 words]

"Artist of the Portrait." Rev. of The Picture of Dorian Gray: Annotated and Uncensored Edition, by Oscar Wilde. Ed. Nicholas Frankel. Books and Culture July 2011. 35. [1500 words]

Selected Conference Experience

Conference Co-Organizer:

"The Task of the Translator," The Conference on Christianity and Literature Midwest Regional Meeting, Theme:  Wheaton College, Illinois, 2014

"Religion and Literature in the Long Nineteenth Century," Wheaton College, Illinois, 2012

Papers and Presentations:

"The Narrativity of Forgiveness in the Victorian Period," Conference on Religion and Literature in the Long Nineteenth Century, Wheaton College, Illinois, 2012

"Wordsworth and Liturgy." Nineteenth Century Studies Conference, Asheville, North Carolina, 2012

"Plotting Forgiveness in Dombey and Son," Victorians Institute Conference, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, 2011

"Browning's A Forgiveness," for the seminar "Forgiveness and Poetry," The Hospitable Text: New Approaches to Religion and Literature, London, UK, 2011

"Who’s Counting? Dickens and the Counting-House," Victorians Institute Conference, Charlottesville, Virginia, 2010

"Small Talk in Nineteenth-Century Etiquette and Fiction," Dickens Society, MLA Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2009

"Not so ‘dizzy’ after all?  Second Impressions of ‘Mont Blanc,'" International Conference on Romanticism, Rochester, Michigan, 2008

"Thomas Hardy’s Non-forgiving Narratives," International Conference of the Thomas Hardy Association, New Haven, Connecticut, 2007

Other Professional Development

"Versions of The Winter's Tale," Summer Institutes in Literary Studies, National Humanities Center, led by Sarah Beckwith, Duke University, 2013

"Political Theology," Facutly Faith and Learning Seminar, Wheaton College, led by Brian McGraw, 2012-2013

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