department of english

114 Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881

Main Office: 401.874.5931 - Graduate Office: 401.874.4663

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Sarah Eron

  • Associate Professor
  • Restoration and 18th Century Literature, Culture, and Philosophy; Aesthetic Theory; Romanticism
  • Phone: 401.874.4683, Office: 308E Swan Hall, Office Hours: Mondays & Wednesdays, By Appointment
  • Email:
  • Office Location: Professor Eron is on sabbatical leave for Spring 2018.


Sarah Eron specializes in the literature, culture, and philosophy of the long eighteenth century (1660-1820). She received her PhD at Cornell University where she focused on the intersections between eighteenth-century literature and Enlightenment philosophies of empiricism and aesthetics. She is the author of Inspiration in the Age of Enlightenment (University of Delaware Press, 2014). This book reconsiders theories of apostrophe and poetic authority to argue that early eighteenth-century writers created a new form of inspiration, one that changed literary production in the modern period and also redefined patterns of secularization in literature from the Renaissance to Romanticism.

Professor Eron is currently completing a new manuscript, Mind over Matter. Proposing a new approach to the history of the novel, this book examines what happens to literary minds in states of emotional crisis and distress. Focusing on memory as a faculty that allows the mind to abstract itself from its present environment, she argues that the mind’s ability to exist simultaneously in multiple temporalities (past, present, and future) is what allows eighteenth-century characters to survive moments of bodily and affective crisis. Memory triggers the extension of mind into world, facilitating survival, Bildung, decision making, and independent thought and action. In this sense, memory enables the creation of a “world” that makes it possible to endure and work through situations of crisis. Through new readings of works by Daniel Defoe, Frances Burney, Laurence Sterne, Jane Austen, and others, this proto-romantic account of the history of the novel reveals the unexpected origins of William Wordsworth’s “emotions recollected in tranquility” in fictional biographies of mental distress.

In addition to her book projects, Professor Eron has published articles in various journals dedicated to the study of eighteenth and nineteenth-century British literature and culture. These include: Studies in the Novel, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Eighteenth-Century Novel, Blake, An Illustrated Quarterly, Victorian Poetry, and contributions to the Victorian Web. At URI, she teaches courses on the early novel, neuroscience and literature, Restoration drama, Jane Austen, and eighteenth-century poetry and aesthetics. Recent courses include:


English 374: The Embodied Mind: The 18th-Century Passions

English 263: The Neuroscience of Poetry

English 264: Theater & the Passions

English 265: Personal Matters: Short Novels of the Eighteenth Century

English 480: Jane Austen, Therapist

English 260: Jane Austen’s Library

English 469: The Eighteenth-Century Novel

English 447: Eighteenth-Century Poetry

English 265 & 374: Gothic Fictions


English 610: Literary Minds: How Novels Think

English 610: Enlightenment Aesthetics


Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature, Culture, and
Philosophy; Aesthetic Theory; Romanticism


  • Ph.D., Cornell University
  • M.A., Cornell University
  • B.A., Brown University

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