Richard Gibson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of English
On Faculty since 2009

Office: Blanchard Hall 308
Phone: (630)752-5789


Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2009

M.A., University of Virginia, 2006

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

About Richard Gibson

In a book full of good words, Alberto Manguel’s The Library at Night, these are some of my favorites, “My books hold between their covers every story I've ever known and still remember, or have now forgotten, or may one day read; they fill the space around me with ancient and new voices. ” Like Manguel, I’m philabibliothecan, a lover of libraries, both public and personal. And I take my role in forming those of my students as seriously as my own. In my teaching, I endeavor to foster intimacy with texts, to create opportunities for students to have experiences of the kind that Manguel so lovingly (and so superlatively) describes. As practitioner of what is now being called “comparative textual media,” which embraces both book history and New Media, I also urge my students to be sensitive to the ways in which their reading histories may take on new dimensions that words like Manguel’s above don’t map. Books read on mobile phones, tablets, and personal computers (if not media walls, watches, eyewear, etc.) don’t fill our material space in quite the same way as codices (especially the shelves and shelves of them that Manguel has in mind). My teaching and research are thus equally attentive to the rich tales and verses that writers pass to readers and to the means—whether spoken, hand-written, printed, or digital—by which audiences have received them in the past and access them now.

Teaching Focuses


General Education:

  • Modern Global Literature
  • Classical & Early English Literature



Current Book Project: Friendship by the Book from the Alba Amicorum to Facebook

Forgiveness in Victorian Literature: Grammar, Narrative and Community. New Directions in Religion and Literature Series. London: Bloomsbury, 2015.


“Paratextual Pedagogy and Code Coterie Poetry: ‘Taroko Gorge’ and its Remixes” [in-progress]

"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 11.2 (February 2014): 74-83.

"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 44.3 (2012): 253-256.

"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]

Professional Development

Intensive Coursework:

Electronic Literature in the Digital Humanities: Research and Practice,” Digital Humanities Summer Institute, University of Victoria, 2014

Instructors: Dene Grigar (Washington State University), Sandy Baldwin (West Virginia University), M.D. Coverly, and Davin Heckman (Winona State University)

The Printed Book in the West since 1800,” Rare Book School, University of Virginia, 2014

Instructor: Eric Holzenberg (Grolier Club)


Versions of The Winter’s Tale,” Summer Institutes in Literary Studies, National Humanities Center, 2013

Seminar leader: Sarah Beckwith (Duke University)

“Political Theology,” Faculty Faith and Learning Seminar, Wheaton College, 2012-2013

Seminar leader: Bryan McGraw (Wheaton College)

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

Symposium Participant:

“The Bible, Narrative, and Modernity,” Symposium on Religion and Literature, Workshop Leader and Panelist, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, 2015

“The Past and Future of the Book,” Rhodes College, Memphis, Tennessee, 2013

Papers and Presentations:

“Not at Face Value: A Reading of the ‘Epilogue’ to Dramatis Personae,” Robert Browning and Victorian Poetry at 200, Armstrong Browning Library, Waco, Texas, 2012

"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

Media Center