Assistant Professor of English
On Faculty since 2009
Office: Blanchard Hall 308
The University of Virginia
Ph.D. English Language and Literature, 2009
M.A. English Language and Literature, 2006
B.A. English Literature, 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—in opening Jose Saramago one morning and Homer the next—, 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.
- ENGL 101 Classics of Western Literature
- ENGL 102 Modern Western Literature
- ENGL 215 Classical and Early British Literature
- ENGL 285 African Literature
- ENGL 355 The Romantic Period
- ENGW 103 Composition and Research
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 two book-length research projects, both on concepts that at once connect and divide Victorian thinkers from across the disciplines: forgiveness and landscape, respectively. Forgiveness in Victorian Literature: Grammar, Narrative, and Community situates the work of several major nineteenth-century English authors, including Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, and Oscar Wilde, within the period's theological and philosophical debates about the meaning and practice of forgiveness. The project on landscape (working title: Natural Selections: Science, Aesthetics, and Natural Theology in Victorian Landscape Writing) explores the way that novel environments, scientific theories, and technologies affected the way that Victorian writers understood and experienced landscapes. This project aims to show the cross-pollination of the sciences, theology, and the arts in nineteenth-century Britain, an age when scientists could win praise for the beauty of their descriptions of natural scenes and theologians and art critics were actively reading and contributing to scientific debates that affected the understanding and experience of landscapes.
"More than Mineralogists: Victorian Landscapists and the Question of Geology" (article-in-progress)
"Wordsworth's Liturgical Excursion" (article-in-progress)
"Browning's 'A Forgiveness': A Grammatical Reading." Special Issue on Forgiveness and Poetry. Ed. Emma Mason. Literature Compass. (Forthcoming)
"Counterfeit Phrases and Illusory Eschatons: Forgiveness in Jude the Obscure." The Hardy Review. (2011)
"Evangelicalism." Oxford Bibliographies Online: Victorian Literature. Oxford University Press. (Spring 2012; with Timothy Larsen)
“The Wretched Monk” [Translation of Charles Baudelaire’s “Le Mauvais Moine”], 66: The Journal of Sonnet Studies 1.1 (2008): 46-47.
"Emily Dickinson's Rebellious Faith." The Norton Introduction to Literature. 10th Edition. Eds. Alison Booth, J. Paul Hunter, and Kelly Mays. New York: Norton, 2005. 2292-2301.
“Mr. [T. S.] Eliot’s Mistaken Date,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 65.1 (Autumn 2003): 101-105.
"Poets Landscaping." Rev. of Abandoned Quarries, by John Lane, and Riffraff, by Stephen Cushman. Books and Culture. (Forthcoming, Spring 2012) [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]
Conference Papers and Presentations
“Small Talk in Nineteenth-Century Etiquette and Fiction,” 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
“‘I couldn’t help it’: A Textual Study of ‘Difficult’ Pronouns in As I Lay Dying,” Contemporary Southern Literature and Culture Association Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, 2007
“Nonsense at the Back of the North Wind: George MacDonald’s Experiment,” Association of Literary Scholars and Critics Conference, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2005
“‘Neglected’ No Longer: The Victorians and the Wycliffite Bible,” North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, Charlottesville, Virginia, 2005