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Ian Duncan

Florence Green Bixby Chair in English
456 Wheeler
Spring 2015: Wed., 3:00-5:00 pm or by appointment

Professional Statement

I studied at King's College, Cambridge (B.A., 1977) and Yale University (Ph.D., 1989), and taught for several years in the Yale English department, before being appointed Barbara and Carlisle Moore Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Oregon in 1995. I came to Berkeley in 2001, and was appointed to the Florence Green Bixby Chair in English in 2011. I've held visiting positions at the universities of British Columbia, Konstanz, and LMU Munich. I am the author of Modern Romance and Transformations of the Novel (Cambridge, 1992) and Scott's Shadow: The Novel in Romantic Edinburgh (Princeton, 2007). I am currently researching a study of the novel and the "science of man" in Europe, from Buffon to Darwin.  I've taught courses on Scotland and Romanticism, Darwin and Culture, Gothic, Walter Scott, the Romantic novel and Enlightenment anthropology, George Eliot and Victorian science, and nineteenth-century British fiction, among other topics. I am currently a Vice-President of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies, a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a member of the editorial board of Representations, a General Editor of the Collected Works of James Hogg, and a co-editor of a new book series, Edinburgh Critical Studies in Romanticism, as well as of the International Journal of Scottish Literature.



Title Fields
Pic-book18 Scott's Shadow: The Novel in Romantic Edinburgh
Scott's Shadow is the first comprehensive account of the flowering of Scottish fiction between 1802 and 1832, when post-Enlightenment Edinburgh rivaled London as a center for literary and cultural innovation. Ian Duncan shows how Walter Scott became the central figure in these developments, and how he helped redefine the novel as the principal modern genre for the representation of nat....
9780199217953_140 The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
'We have heard much of the rage of fanaticism in former days, but nothing to this' A wretched young man, 'an outcast in the world', tells the story of his upbringing by a heretical Calvinist minister who leads him to believe that he is one of the elect, predestined for salvation and thus above the moral law. Falling under the spell of a mysterious stranger who bears an unca....
9780748641239 The Edinburgh Companion to James Hogg
James Hogg (1770-1835) is increasingly recognised as a major Scottish author and one of the most original figures in European Romanticism. 16 essays written by international experts on Hogg draw on recent breakthroughs in research to illuminate the contexts and debates that helped to shape his writings. The book provides an indispensable guide to Hogg's life and worlds, his publishing histo....
Duncan Kidnapped
Set in the aftermath of the 1745 rebellion, Kidnapped transforms the Romantic historical novel into the modern thriller. Its heartstopping scenes of cross-country pursuit, distilled to a pure intensity in Stevenson’s prose, have become a staple of adventure stories from John Buchan to Alfred Hitchcock and Ian Fleming. Kidnapped remains as exhilarating today as when it was first published ....

Selected Publications and Papers Delivered


Modern Romance and Transformations of the Novel: The Gothic, Scott, Dickens. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992

Scott’s Shadow: The Novel in Romantic Edinburgh. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.

(Saltire Society / National Library of Scotland Research Book of the Year Award, 2008)

Edited collections

"Scott, Scotland and Romantic Nationalism": special issue of Studies in Romanticism (40:1, Spring 2001). Co-edited with Ann Rowland and Charles Snodgrass.

Scotland and the Borders of Romanticism
. Co-edited with Leith Davis and Janet Sorensen. Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Approaches to Teaching Scott’s Waverley Novels. Co-edited with Evan Gottlieb. Modern Language Association, 2009

The Edinburgh Companion to James Hogg. Co-edited with Douglas Mack. Edinburgh University Press, 2012  



Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World. Oxford University Press, 1995, 1998. 

Walter Scott, Ivanhoe. Oxford University Press, 1996.

Walter Scott, Rob Roy. Oxford University Press, 1998.

James Hogg, Winter Evening Tales: Collected among the Cottagers in the South of Scotland. Edinburgh University Press, 2002; 2004.  

Travel Writing 1700-1830: An Anthology. Co-edited with Elizabeth Bohls. Oxford University Press, 2005.

James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Oxford University Press, 2010.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped. Oxford University Press, 2014

Selected recent essays

The Trouble with Man: Scott, Romance and World History in the Age of Lamarck,” in Romantic Frictions, ed. Theresa Kelley. Romantic Circles: Praxis Series (Sept. 2011) 

" 'A great, a transcendent sinner': Hogg and the Fables of Romanticism," Studies in Hogg and his World 22 (2012), 1-18

“Altered States: Galt, Serial Fiction and the Romantic Miscellany,” John Galt: Observations and Conjectures on Literature, History, and Society, ed. Regina Hewitt. Bucknell UP (2012), pp. 53-71

"Late Scott," The Edinburgh Companion to Walter Scott, ed. Fiona Robertson. Edinburgh UP (2012), pp. 130-142.

"On Charles Darwin and the Voyage of the Beagle," BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Ed. Dino Franco Felluga. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net

"Death and the Author," Taking Liberties with the Author: Selected Essays from the English Institute, ed. Meredith L. McGill. English Institute / ACLS E-Books (2013). 

"Walter Scott's Anachronisms," Oxford University Press Blog (13 August 2013)

“George Eliot and the Science of the Human.” A Companion to George Eliot, ed. Amanda Anderson and Harry Shaw. Blackwell-Wiley (2013)

"Human Habitats: The City and the Form of Man," Romantic Cityscapes, ed. Jens Martin Gurr and Berit Michel. Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier (2013), 33-42

"George Eliot's Science Fiction," Denotatively, Technically, Literally, ed. Elaine Freedgood and Cannon Schmitt (special issue), Representations 125 (Winter 2014), 15-39

"Spawn of Ossian," Global Romanticism: Origins, Orientations and Engagements 1760-1820, ed. Evan Gottlieb. Bucknell University Press (2015), 3-18

Recent & upcoming talks and lectures:

"Kant, Herder, and the Anthropological Turn," GER/NASSR conference: Romantic Knowledge, Munich, Oct. 2013

"Scottish Literature as World Literature in the Age of Union,"                  Keynote address, Scotland 2014: Coming of Age and Loss of Innocence?: Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Oct. 2013

"Conan Doyle's Poetics of the Unknown," Keynote lecture, Challenger Unbound Symposium: University College London, Dec. 2013

“After Natural Man,” The Grammar of Imagination: Susan Manning Memorial Symposium, University of Edinburgh, Feb. 2014

Denotatively, Technically, Literally: symposium on the novel, UC Berkeley, April 2014

Session organizer, "Rethinking The Historical Novel," World Congress on Scottish Literatures: Glasgow, July 2014

"Fictions of Clairvoyance: The Omen and The Lifted Veil," World Congress on Scottish Literatures: Glasgow, July 2014 

"Is Waverley a Bildungsroman?" International Scott Conference, Aberdeen, July 2014

"Archives of Our Mutual Friend," Dickens Universe, UC Santa Cruz, August 2014

On or About 1814: A Symposium on Literature in History, UC Berkeley, Sept. 2014

19th-Century Studies Working Group of the Central New York Mellon Humanities Corridor, Syracuse Univ., Nov. 2014: “Archives of Our Mutual Friend” (lecture), “The Form of the Novel, the Form of Man” (seminar)

"Human Time: After Buffon" (paper) and "Literary Science" (roundtable), MLA Convention, Vancouver, Jan. 2015

"After Natural Man: Buffon, Rousseau, Kant, Herder": The Biological Turn in Literary Studies. Symposium, Duke University, Feb. 2015

"Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: Enlightenment Anthropology and the Romantic Historical Novel." Biennial Giorgio Melchiori Lecture, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, March 2015

21st annual Vincent A. De Luca Lecture in Romantic-Period Literature, University of Toronto, April 2015

Current Research

I am working on a new book on the novel and human nature in the age of the "science of man" -- from Hume's Treatise of Human Nature and Buffon's Natural History to Darwin's Descent of Man, from Tom Jones and Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship to Daniel Deronda -- with the provisional title The Great Book of Nature: The Form of the Novel and the Form of Man. (Scott,Waverley: "It is from the great book of Nature, the same through a thousand editions, whether of black letter or wire-wove and hot-pressed, that I have venturously essayed to read a chapter to the public.")  As the "science of man" breaks up into contending disciplines the novel makes its claim -- increasingly vexed and tortuous -- to be the literary form of a universal, singular human nature ... even as human nature is convulsed by a succession of philosophical scandals and revolutions. So far I've been working on Lamarckian fictions, circa 1830, by Scott (Count Robert of Paris: and Victor Hugo (Notre-Dame de Paris); on Enlightenment anthropology (Buffon, Rousseau, Ferguson, Herder, Kant) and the Romantic novel (Goethe, Stael, Scott); and on George Eliot's science fiction.

Recent English Courses Taught