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Marilyn Francus


Curriculum Vitae
I specialize in eighteenth-century British literature and culture, women’s studies, satire, and history of the novel. My recent book, Monstrous Motherhood: 18th-Century Culture and the Ideology of Domesticity (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), explores maternal demonization and erasure in Great Britain from 1660 to 1820. Currently I’m working on two major projects: one exploring the nexus of motherhood and authorship in the eighteenth century (focusing on Frances Burney, Eliza Haywood, Frances Sheridan, and Mary Wollstonecraft), and the second analyzing Jane Austen in contemporary popular culture. I also edit The Burney Journal, a periodical dedicated to the study of the novelist and memoirist Frances Burney, her family and her peers.

I enjoy engaging with our undergraduate and graduate students here at WVU, and I mentor students through the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies as well. I teach a variety of undergraduate courses, including British Literature to 1800 (ENGL 261), Eighteenth Century Literature I (ENGL 366W), Eighteenth Century Literature II (ENGL 367W), and Topics in Women’s Literature (ENGL 387W). My recent graduate courses include studies in the origins of feminism, the history of the novel, and the Burney-Thrale circle. I also founded the Rare Book Pedagogy Project, an online resource that helps faculty integrate archival research into their curricula.


  • Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture
  • Women's Studies
  • Satire
  • History of the Novel

Selected Publications:

  • Monstrous Motherhood: 18th-Century Culture and the Ideology of Domesticity (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012).
  • The Converting Imagination: Linguistic Theory and Swift’s Satiric Prose (Southern Illinois University Press, 1994).
Recent Articles:
  • “The Monstrous Mothers of Mansfield Park,” Persuasions Online, Vol. 35 No. 1 Winter 2014.
  • “Rowe’s The Ambitious Stepmother: Motherhood and the Politics of the Blended Family: in Stage Mothers: Women, Work, and the Theater, 1660-1830 ed. Laura Engel and Elaine McGirr (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2014): 121-36.
  • "'Where does discretion end, and avarice begin?’: The Mercenary and the Prudent in Austen,” Persuasions 34 (2013): 57-70.
  • “Austen Therapy: Pride and Prejudice and Popular Culture,” Persuasions Online, Volume 30 No. 2 (Spring 2010).
  • “Tis Better to Give: The Conduct Manual as Gift,” in The Culture of the Gift in Eighteenth-Century England, ed. Linda Zionkowski and Cynthia Klekar (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009): 79-106.
  • “Stepmommy Dearest? The Burneys and the Construction of Stepmotherhood,” Eighteenth-Century Women, Volume 5 (2008): 133-169.
  • “Erasing the Stepmother Story: Frances Burney and Elizabeth Allen,” A Celebration of Frances Burney ed. Lorna J. Clark (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007), pp. 57-73.
  • “Calamity Jane? Austen and Owen Wister’s The Virginian,” Persuasions: The Journal of the Jane Austen Society of America, Vol. 27 (2005), pp. 219-33.
  • "'A-Killing Their Children With Safety’: Maternal Indentity and Transgression in Swift and Defoe,” Lewd and Notorious: Female Transgression in the Eighteenth Century, edited by Katharine Kittredge (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003), pp. 258-82.
  • “Circulating Jane,” Persuasions: The Journal of the Jane Austen Society of America, Vol. 25 (2003), pp. 129-40. reprinted in Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 217 (Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2006), pp. 78-84.
Other Publications:
  • “Mothers/Mother Figures,” The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of British Literature 1660-1789 (2015).
  • “Stepmothers/Stepfamilies,” The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of British Literature 1660-1789 (2015).
  • “Introduction,” Disjointed Perspectives on Motherhood, edited by Catalina Florescu (Lexington Books, 2013).
  • “Shaping a Legacy: Alicia Lefanu’s Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mrs. Frances Sheridan,” The Female Spectator (Winter 2013}: 6-7.
  • “Jane Austen, Pound for Pound,” Persuasions Online, Volume 33 #1, Winter 2012.
Works in Progress:
  • Book project on motherhood and authorship
  • Book project on Jane Austen and popular culture

Recent Awards:

  • Jane Austen Society of North America International Visitor Fellowship, Summer 2015
  • American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies/McGill Fellowship, July 2012
  • Chawton House Library Fellowship, May 2012