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Marilyn Francus


Curriculum Vitae

My research focuses on eighteenth-century British literature and culture, women’s studies, satire, and the history of the novel. My first book, The Converting Imagination: Linguistic Theory and Swift’s Satiric Prose, analyzes the linguistic play of famed satirist Jonathan Swift, in light of his education, his satires, his formal proposals concerning the English language, and his strategies as a reader. My second book, Monstrous Motherhood: 18th-Century Culture and the Ideology of Domesticity explores maternal demonization and erasure in Great Britain from 1660 to 1820. Currently I’m working on two major projects: the first explores the nexus of motherhood and authorship in the eighteenth century (focusing on Frances Burney, Frances Sheridan, Charlotte Smith and Mary Wollstonecraft), and the second analyzes Jane Austen in contemporary popular culture. 

I teach a variety of undergraduate courses, including Literature of Minds and SelvesThe Epic Hero (ENGL 170) and British Literature to 1800 (ENGL 261); courses within the Eighteenth-Century Literature I (ENGL 366) and Eighteenth-Century Literature II (ENGL 367) sequence (including Crime and Criminals in the 18th Century, and Performance and Disguise); and courses in Topics in Women’s Literature (ENGL 387), including Jane Austen and Popular Culture and Mamma Mia! Mothers and Monsters in Western Culture; and the Senior Thesis (ENGL 496). My recent graduate courses include an eighteenth-century survey, and courses in the origins of feminism, the history of the novel, and the classical tradition. 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:

  • “Hiding in Plain Sight: Frances Burney as Satiric Novelist,” in British Women Satirists in the Long Eighteenth CenturyThe Politics of Gender, Lampoonery, and Literary Caricature. Eds. Amanda Hiner and Elizabeth Tasker Davis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)  
  • “Trying to Set the Record Straight: Alicia Lefanu, Frances Burney D'Arblay and the Limits of Family Biography," in Writing Lives in the Eighteenth Century. Ed. Tanya Caldwell (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2020): 77-107. 
  • “Jane Austen, Marginalia, and Book Culture,” in Art & Artifact in Jane Austen’s Novels and Early Writings. Ed. Anna Battigelli (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2020): 109-25.

  • “Down with her, Burney!”: Johnson, Burney and the politics of literary celebrity,” in Community and Solitude: New Essays on Johnson’s Circle. Ed. Anthony W. Lee (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2019): 108-31.

  • “The lady vanishes: the rise of the spectral mother,” in The Absent Mother in the Cultural   Imagination: Missing, Presumed Dead, ed. Berit Åström (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017): 25-42.
  • 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, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2014): 121-36.
  • "'Where does discretion end, and avarice begin?’: The Mercenary and the Prudent in Austen,” Persuasions: The Journal of the Jane Austen Society of America, Vol. 34 (2013): 57-70.
Other Publications:
  • “Camilla,” The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Romantic-Era Women’s Writing, 2021. 
  • "Elegant Extracts," Jane Austen in 41 Objects, the Jane Austen House Museum, Fall 2017.
  • “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