Campus News

Daniel Defoe scholar to open new colloquium

Daniel Defoe scholar to open new colloquium

John Richetti, the A. M. Rosenthal Professor of English (Emeritus) at the University of Pennsylvania, will deliver a lecture on Feb. 17 at 4:30 p.m. in Room 265 of Park Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

His lecture, “Daniel Defoe and Enlightenment,” is part of the Georgia Colloquium in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Literature, a speaker series started last year in the English department.

Richetti is an internationally recognized scholar of the British novel and the 18th century and has published and edited many well-regarded books, articles and anthologies. His groundbreaking studies include Popular Fiction Before Richardson: Narrative Patterns 1700-1739, Defoe’s Narratives: Situations and Structures, The English Novel in History, 1700-1800 and The Life of Daniel Defoe.

The recent past president of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Richetti has edited The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth Century, The Columbia History of the British Novel and (with Paula Backscheider) Popular Fiction by Women: 1660-1740. He is also the editor of the Restoration and Eighteenth-Century volume of the New Cambridge History of English Literature and most recently, of the Cambridge Companion to Daniel Defoe.

Richetti is a leading expert on the writer and businessman Daniel Defoe, most famous for penning Robinson Crusoe in 1719. Defoe is often considered the first English novelist. Before he started writing novels at the age of 59, he had a long and colorful career, including stints as a factory owner, civet cat trader, propagandist, poet, journalist, economist, debtor and spy. His life and his writing provide fascinating insights into the Age of Enlightenment.

A reception in the Park Hall Library will follow the lecture. This event is funded by the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and by the English department’s Rodney Baine Lecture Fund.