Department of English

Noah Brooksher

B.A. English & Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, The College of William & Mary, 2016.
Research Interests Eighteenth-Century Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Literary and Cultural Theory, Poetry and Poetics, Queer Theory/Gay and Lesbian Studies, Race and Slavery, Romantic and Victorian, Transatlantic Studies, Ethics


My research focuses on the literatures of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in both British and transatlantic contexts, with a special emphasis on Romantic poetry from 1789-1832. My dissertation, tentatively titled “Urizen’s Compass: Romanticism, Standardization, and the Poetics of the Measure,” traces the rise of the Romantic lyric as it emerges in conjunction with one of the epoch’s most enduring, yet under-analyzed, intellectual contributions: the metric system. By attending to the lyric alongside the proliferation of new systems, technologies, and discourses of measurement – including the establishment of the French Republican calendar, the rise of phrenology, and the development of increasingly precise clocks needed to coordinate the division of labor in industrial capitalism – I hope to illustrate how, for key Romantic writers, poetry itself comes to function as a unique form of measure-taking. This poetic measure, I argue, is not oppositional to the more empirical forms of measurement that dominate eighteenth century scientific discourses, but rather, according to authors like William Wordsworth, Phillis Wheatley, Charlotte Smith, and Percy Shelley, it serves as the enabling condition by which empirical measure-taking first becomes possible.