Michael McKeon
Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of English

Michael McKeon specializes in the history of literary and cultural forms. His approach to history takes in both the chronological or diachronic dimension of forms and their structural or synchronic relations to other formations—political, social, economic, cultural--with which they coexist at their respective diachronic moments. Within this broad methodological field, McKeon’s attention is concentrated on England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

McKeon has taught and written on a range of topics, among them the aesthetic, realism, disinterestedness, genre theory, narrative theory, parody, allegory and typology, romance and the novel, family romance, the picaresque, pastoral and pastoralism, sensibility, travel narratives, status and class, sex and gender, domestication and domesticity, pornography, patriarchalism, secularization, the quarrel of the ancients and moderns, from feudalism to capitalism, periodization, the division of knowledge, science and literature, civil and religious liberty, the public and the private, the public sphere, libel and censorship, Marxism and literature, dialectical method, politics and poetry, tradition, print culture, virtual reality.

  • Department Graduate Studies (DGS), director
  • School of Arts and Sciences Committee on Gender Equity, member
  • University British Studies Center (RBSC), co-founder; director
  • University Promotion Review Committee (PRC), member
  • University Search Committee for Executive Dean, member
  • University Committee on Academic Planning and Review (CAPR), member

Murray Hall, Room 202, College Ave Campus

  • Foundations of 18th-Century British Literature
  • The Age of Parody: English Literature 1660-1745
  • The Rise of the Modern in English Literature, 1600-1800
  • Public and Private in 18th-Century Britain
  • Theory and Practice of the Public Sphere
  • English Literature and the Origins of the Sex/Gender System, 1660-1800
  • Sex and Class: The Origins of the Modern System
  • 18th-Century British Novel, Behn to Austen
  • Pastoral and Pastoralism, Theocritus to Wordsworth
  • Political Poetry
  • Travel Narratives: Exploring Terra Incognita, 1600-1800
  • Andrew Marvell and Jonathan Swift
  • History of Literary Theory, Plato to Wordsworth
  • Theory of the Aesthetic in 18th-Century Britain
  • Theory of the Novel
  • Marxism and Literary Theory
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1974-1975
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 1978-1979
  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1983-1984
  • Modern Language Association James Russell Lowell Prize, 1987 (The Origins of the English Novel).
  • Rutgers University Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research, 1991-92
  • Fellow, Rutgers University Center for the Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture, 1994-95
  • Recipient, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant for English Graduate Student Dissertation Seminar, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 ($380,918.34)
  • Co-recipient, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant for Rutgers British Studies Center, 2010-2014 ($406,000.00)
  • The Origins of the English Novel Chinese translation (Shanghai: East China Normal University, 2015).

Politics and Poetry in Restoration England: The Case of Dryden's Annus Mirabilis (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975).

The Origins of the English Novel, 1600-1740 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987; 2002).

Editor, Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).

The Secret History of Domesticity: Public, Private, and the Division of Knowledge (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005).

  • “The ‘Marxism’ of Claude Lévi-Strauss”
    Dialectical Anthropology 6, 1981
  • “Pastoralism, Puritanism, Imperialism, Scientism: Andrew Marvell and the Problem of Mediation”
    Yearbook of English Studies 13, 1983
  • “Historicizing Absalom and Achitophel”
    The New 18th Century, ed. Laura Brown and Felicity Nussbaum (1987)
  • “A Defense of Dialectical Method in Literary History”
    diacritics 19.1 Spring 1989
  • “Cultural Crisis and Dialectical Method: Destabilizing Augustan Literature”    
    The Profession of 18th-Century Literature: Reflections on an Institution,  1992
  • “Historicizing Patriarchy: The Emergence of Gender Difference in England, 1660-1760” 
    18th-Century Studies 28.3, 1995
  • “What Were Poems on Affairs of State?”
    1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era 4 (1997)
  • “The Pastoral Revolution”
    Refiguring Revolutions: Aesthetics and Politics from the English Revolution to the Romantic Revolution (1998)
  • “Political Poetry”
    18th-Century Genre and Culture: Serious Reflections on Occasional Forms: Essays in Honor of J. Paul Hunter (2001)
  • “Tacit Knowledge: Tradition and Its Aftermath”
    Questions of Tradition (2004)
  • “The Politics of Pastoral Retreat: Dryden’s Poem to His Cousin”
    Enchanted Ground: Reimagining John Dryden (2004)
  • “Parsing Habermas’s ‘Bourgeois Public Sphere’”
    Criticism 46.2 Spring 2004
  • ”Civic Humanism and the Logic of Historical Interpretation”
    The Political Imagination in History: Essays concerning J.G.A. Pocock (2006)
  • “The Dramatic Aesthetic and the Model of Scientific Method in Britain, 1600-1800”
    The 18th-Century Novel 6-7: Essays in Honor of John Richetti (2009)
  • “The Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Sexual Hypothesis”
    Signs 37.4 Summer 2012
  • ?”Civil and Religious Liberty in 17th-Century England: A Case Study in  Secularization"
    Representation, Heterodoxy, and Aesthetics: Essays in Honor of Ronald Paulson  (2015)
  • “The Afterlife of Family Romance"
    The Afterlives of 18th-Century Fiction (2015)
  • Paradise Lost in the Long Restoration, 1660-1742”
    Milton in the Long Restoration (2016)
  • “The 18th-Century Challenge to Narrative Theory”
    Narrative Concepts in the Study of 18th-Century Literature (2017)

PhD, Columbia University
MA, Columbia University
BA, University of Chicago

  • Washington University, St. Louis, Fall, 1980
  • Brandeis University, 1986-1987
  • Princeton University, 1989-1990, Spring, 1991
  • Université de Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle, Spring, 2008
  • Universidad de Granada, Spain, March: 2010-2013, 2015-2017
  • Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, May, 2012
  • La Sapienza, Università di Roma, Fall, 2016