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Our Faculty

David Palumbo

Associate Professor of English

Contact Information


Office Hours

Office: Administration Building, Room 461
Office hours: Monday, 1:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.; Thursday, 11:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.


Ph.D., Tufts University; M.A., State University of New York, Buffalo; B.M., Vanderbilt University


I teach courses in British Literature, including an interdisciplinary seminar in Emmanuel's Honors Program, and I actively engage in faculty-student research projects. In my classes and research, I utilize a variety of analytical paradigms, including deconstruction, feminism and history, to develop a critical context that emphasizes the subtlety and complexity of literary texts. I want to know why people valued and enjoyed literary texts in their original contexts and why we continue to do so today.

Courses I Teach

  • FYS1101 Periodical Culture-Then and Now
  • ENGL 1208 Persuasive Strategies and Rhetorical Traditions
  • ENGL 2101 English Literature I
  • ENGL 2102 English Literature II
  • ENGL 2106 Irish Identities
  • ENGL 2406 Rise and Fall of the English Novel
  • ENGL 2408 Modern British Novel
  • ENGL 2417 Literatures of the Black Atlantic
  • ENGL 3305 Satire
  • ENGL 3309 Characters of the Long Eighteenth Century
  • ENGL 4999 Jane Austen and the Culture of the Novel
  • HON 2201 Sympathy and the Institution of the English Novel

Publications + Presentations

Full-length articles:

  • "Death Becomes Her: Figuration and Decay in Swift's Birthday Poems to Stella."  The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 51.4 (Winter 2010): 431-50.  Print.
  • "Mary Wollstonecraft, Jonathan Swift, and the Passion in Reading."  Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 51.3 (Summer 2011): 625-44.  Print.

Selected Conference Presentations:

  • "Satiric Alenation: Friendship and Isolation in Swift's Circle"-Northeast American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in Middletown, CT, Fall 2012.
  • "The 'Milk-sop[ped] Drapier': Satiric Intimacy through the Pastoral"-East-Central American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in Baltimore, MD, Fall 2012.
  • "Satiric Mistranslation in Swift's A Modest Proposal and The Answer to The Craftsman-East-Central American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies in State College, PA, Fall 2011.
  • "Passion and Figuration in Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,"-UMass Dartmouth's Provost Lecture Series in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, Fall 2009.
  • "Love, Death, and Murder in Jonathan Swift's 'On the Death of Mrs. Johnson,"-East Coast American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in Washington D.C. Nov. 2008.
  • "Sensing Death: Theories of Narrative Decay in Eighteenth-Century Studies,"-The International Conference on Narrative in Austin, Texas, May 2008.
  • "Sensing Inequality: the fair defect in Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,"-American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in Portland, Oregon, March 2008.
  • Respondent to panel "Swift and His Circle V,"-American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in Portland, Oregon, March 2008.
  • "Re-Thinking Empiricism: Sensible Decay in Swift's 'Birthday Poems to Stella,'"-Southeastern Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in Auburn, Alabama, February 2008.

Research Focus

My scholarly interests lie in the literature of Britain's long eighteenth century (1660-1800) with a particular focus on the writings of Jonathan Swift (1667-1745).  Currently, my research investigates how Swift critiques John Locke's empiricism by consistently figuring the decaying female body as a material resistant to the assumed stability of sensory experience.  Part of this project involves my thinking about how some women writers, like Mary Wollstonecraft, use Swift and his work to challenge conventional approaches to female education and to derive complex, if unsettling, reading strategies.  My interest in eighteenth-century satire led to a recently submitted article that complicates approaches to Swift's satiric methodology invested in his ability to control the trajectory and destination of his satiric attacks.

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