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Elizabeth Napier

Professor of English and American Literatures

 Fall 2019 Term: Monday and Wednesday 12:15-1:15, Thursday 12:30-1:30, and by appointment

Elizabeth Napier has been teaching in the Department of English and American Literatures at Middlebury College since 1978.   Her research and writing focus on eighteenth-century English literature, with a special emphasis on the novel, and on literary translation, with a particular interest in the writings of painter-poets.  She teaches mainly in the areas of eighteenth-century literature and the novel.

Professor Napier received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

Selected Publications


Defoe's Major Fiction: Accounting for the Self.  University of Delaware Press, 2016.

Falling Into Matter:  Problems of Embodiment in English Fiction from Defoe to Shelley. U Toronto P, 2011.

F. T. Marinetti: Selected Poems and Related Prose. Translation with Barbara R. Studholme; selected by Luce Marinetti; with an essay by Paolo Valesio. New Haven: Yale UP, 2002.

The Failure of Gothic: Problems of Disjunction in an Eighteenth-century Literary Form. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1987.

Sounds.  Translation, with introduction, of Wassily Kandinsky's Klänge.  New Haven: Yale UP, 1981.

Selected Articles

"The Grapes of Wrath: Steinbeck's Pilgrim's Progress."  Steinbeck Review 7: 1 (2010): 51-56.

“’Raining Cats and Dogs’: Swift’s ‘A Description of a City Shower’.” Explicator 65:4 (2007): 208-11.

"Mary Collyer." British Novelists 1660- 1800, I.  Ed. Martin C. Battestin. Dictionary of Literary Biography.   Detroit: BC Research, 1985. XXXIX, 113- 116.

"Elizabeth Griffith," 247- 251.

"Elizabeth Inchbald," 274- 280.

"Harriet Lee; Sophia Lee," 301- 306.

"Matthew Gregory Lewis," 313- 323.

"Ann Radcliffe," II, 37- 46.

"Clara Reeve," II, 46- 51.

"Elizabeth Rowe," II, 409- 413.

"Sarah Scott," II, 413- 418.

"Charlotte Smith," II, 433- 440.

"Horace Walpole," II, 525- 542.

"The Problem of Boundaries in Wuthering Heights." Philological Quarterly 63 (1984): 95-107.  Rpt. in Major Literary Characters: Heathcliff.  Ed. Harold Bloom.  New York: Chelsea House, 1993.  48-50.

"Swift, Kaempfer, and Psalmanaazaar: Further Remarks on 'Trampling upon the Crucifix'." Notes and Queries 226 (l98l): 226.

"Objects and Order in Robinson Crusoe." South Atlantic Quarterly 80 (l98l): 84- 94.

"Swift's 'Trampling upon the Crucifix': A Parallel." Notes and Queries 224 (l979): 544- 548.

"Aylmer as 'Scheidekünstler': The Pattern of Union and Separation in Hawthorne's 'The Birthmark'." South Atlantic Bulletin, 4l (l976): 32-35.

"'Tremble and Reform': The Inversion of Power in Richardson's Clarissa." ELH 42 (l975): 2l4- 223.

Translations from the poetry of Valie Export.  Dimension: Contemporary German Arts and Letters 8 (l975): 82- 85.




Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

CRWR 0560 - Special Project: Writing      

Special Project: Creative Writing
Approval Required.

Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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CRWR 0701 - Senior Thesis:Creative Writing      

Senior Thesis: Creative Writing
Discussions, workshops, tutorials for those undertaking one-term projects in the writing of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.

Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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ENAM 0103 - Reading Literature      

Reading Literature
Please refer to each section for specific course descriptions. CW LIT

Spring 2017, Fall 2018

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ENAM 0204 - Foundations of English Lit.      

Foundations of English Literature (Pre-1800)
Students will study Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Milton's Paradise Lost, as well as other foundational works of English literature that may include Shakespeare, non-Shakespearean Elizabethan drama, the poetry of Donne, and other 16th- and 17th-century poetry. 3 hrs. lect./disc. EUR LIT

Fall 2018

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ENAM 0208 - Literary Landscapes, 1700-1900      

English Literary Landscapes, 1700-1900 (II) (Pre-1800)
In this course we will examine literary and related works that take as their focus the natural world and man's relationship to it. We will consider transformations of taste in representations of landscape in England in the 18th and 19th centuries. Works to be discussed will include poems, gardening tracts, philosophical treatises, notebooks, letters, travel accounts, natural histories, and novels. Pope, Crabbe, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Clare, Hopkins, and Hardy will be central figures in this course. EUR LIT

Spring 2019

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ENAM 0219 - English Romantic Novel      

English Romantic Novel, 1764-1847 (Pre-1800)
In this course we will examine novels written in England at the turn of the eighteenth century. Romantic in sensibility, these works are far from romantic in content, preoccupied with quite the opposite of amour: pride, revenge, incest, lascivious monks, transgressive scientists, and religious fanaticism. Each of these novels explores questions of identity, religion, sexuality, science, and landscape in innovative ways, experimenting with organizational and narrative strategies that challenge prevailing views of novelistic form. We will read three Gothic novels (The Castle of Otranto, The Mysteries of Udolpho, and The Monk) and one anti-Gothic work, ,Northanger Abbey, as well as Frankenstein, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, and Wuthering Heights. LIT

Fall 2019

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ENAM 0225 - Eighteenth-Century Literature      

Travails of the Self: Eighteenth-Century Literature (Pre-1800)
The 'long' 18th century opens with poems of affairs of state and ends with intensely private and often anguished meditations on the self. In this course we will examine the rich range and complexity of 18th century literary concerns through a loosely chronological look at major works of poetry, drama, and fiction of the period: poems of Gay, Pope, Swift, Cowper, and Gray; Congreve's The Way of the World and Sheridan's The School for Scandal; and Fielding's Joseph Andrews and Inchbald's A Simple Story. 3 hrs. lect./disc. LIT

Spring 2017, Fall 2019

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ENAM 0500 - Special Project: Lit      

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required.

Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Winter 2021

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ENAM 0700 - Senior Thesis:Critical Writing      

Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking one-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the Senior Thesis Workshop (ENAM 700Z) in either Fall or Spring Term.

Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

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FYSE 1538 - Literary Places      

Literary Places
In this seminar we will explore representations of place in essays, short stories, and novels. Among the questions we will consider are how does one define a "place"? Is there such a thing, as a "non-place"? How and why does one develop and demonstrate loyalty to a particular place or region? How does place help to define self? We will address such questions in the context of The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy Boston, essays by Wendell Berry, and novels by Oscar Wilde and Alain Robbe-Grillet. The seminar will conclude with a section on walking (place in motion), with a look at Cheryl Strayed's Wild and Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild. Students will discuss writing and develop skills of oral and written literary analysis. CW LIT

Spring 2019

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LITS 0500 - Independent Research Project      

Independent Research Project
(Approval Required) (Staff)

Fall 2018

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Department of English & American Literatures

Axinn Center at Starr Library
15 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753