561 Denney Hall
Areas of Expertise
- Eighteenth-century literature and philosophy
- Transatlantic studies
- Poetry and poetics
- Literature and philosophy
- PhD, Harvard University, 2014
- MSt, Oxford University, 2007
- BA, Middlebury College, 2006
Jake Risinger writes and teaches about transatlantic Romanticism and the literature and philosophy of the long eighteenth century.
His current book project, Stoic Romanticism and the Ethics of Emotion, is a study of the subterranean but vital life of Stoic ideas in British and American Romanticism. The book takes up a range of writers from Shaftesbury and Sarah Scott, Wollstonecraft and Wordsworth to Byron, Mary Shelley and Emerson who were drawn to the surprisingly radical possibilities of Stoicism. In the book, he makes a case for the significant and destabilizing force of Stoicism in the literary culture of the long eighteenth century. Stoicism was a strange correlative of moral sentimentalism. It troubled an emerging theory of lyric at a key moment of its articulation, and it complicates many of the fundamental stories we tell about the political trajectories of Romantic writers. Stoicism was a central hinge in transatlantic writing, and it opened a path for novelists eager to explore a new vision of feminist agency. Encounters with Stoicism foregrounded the ethical undertones of literary character as well as the racialization of indifference. Its demanding austerity was a resource for writers as they imagined themselves, however imperfectly, as citizens of a cosmopolitan and increasingly war-torn world.
Other current preoccupations that he looks forward to sharing with students include an interest in the unruly development of “power” as an aesthetic concept during the Industrial Revolution, and an interest in mapping out an “untimely” literary history of Romanticism’s expansive American afterlife.
Recent and future special topics courses include “Before Night Falls: British Poetry, 1750-1900,” “Ecopoetics: From the Enlightenment to the End of Nature,” “Lord Byron and his Circle,” and a grad seminar on “Romanticism and Critique.”
A former Javits Fellow, his dissertation won the Howard Mumford Jones Prize at Harvard University in 2014. He was named the English Department’s Undergraduate Professor of the Year in 2017.
- Four entries in The Cambridge Guide to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, 1660-1820, ed. April London (forthcoming)
- “Wordsworth’s Water Power,” The Wordsworth Circle (Spring 2019)
- “Wordsworth and Godwin in ‘Frozen Regions.’” ELH 83.4 (December 2016).
- “Coleridge, Politics, and the Theory of Life.” SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 (Summer 2015).
- “The Excursion as Dialogic Poem.” The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth, ed. Richard Gravil and Daniel Robinson (Oxford University Press, 2015).
- "Transatlantic Fate: Emerson, Cavell, and Beautiful Necessity.” European Romantic Review 25.3 (Summer 2014).