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Ian Duncan

Florence Green Bixby Chair in English
C61 Hearst Annex
Fall 2016: Wed. 2:00-5:00 pm

Professional Statement

Ian Duncan 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. He came to Berkeley in 2001, and was appointed to the Florence Green Bixby Chair in English in 2011. He has held visiting positions at the universities of British Columbia and Konstanz, Boğaziçi University, and LMU Munich. He is the author of Modern Romance and Transformations of the Novel (Cambridge, 1992) and Scott's Shadow: The Novel in Romantic Edinburgh (Princeton, 2007). Current research projects include a study of the novel and the "science of man" in Europe, from Buffon to Darwin, and a book on Scotland and Romanticism.  He has 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. Duncan is 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.



Title Fields
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 ....
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....
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....

Selected Publications and Papers Delivered


Modern Romance and Transformations of the Novel: The Gothic, Scott, Dickens. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992; paperback, 2005

Scott’s Shadow: The Novel in Romantic Edinburgh. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007; paperback, 2016

(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

“Altered States: Galt, Serial Fiction and the Romantic Miscellany,” John Galt: Observations and Conjec
tures 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).

“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

"Walter Scott and the Historical Novel," The Oxford History of the Novel in English, Vol. 2, English and British Fiction 1750-1820, ed. Peter Garside and Karen O'Brien. Oxford University Press (2015), 312-331.

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

“Kant, Herder and the Anthropological Turn,” Romanticism and Knowledge, ed. Stefanie Fricke, Felicitas Menhard and Katharina Pink (Trier, 2015), 63-71

"The Nineteenth Century" (with Sheila Kidd), The International Companion to Scottish Poetry, ed. Carla Sassi (Scottish Literature International, 2016), 64-73

“Literature: Historicism and Organic Form in Nineteenth-Century Fiction,” Historicism and the Human Sciences in Victorian Britain, ed. Mark Bevir. Cambridge University Press (forthcoming)

The Lost World’s Other Nature,”  Arthur Conan Doyle’s Science Fiction, ed. Tom Ue. Manchester University Press (forthcoming)

“Aesthetics and Form in Charles Darwin’s Writings,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of English Literature, ed. Paula Rabinowitz. OUP online (forthcoming)


Recent talks and lectures:

"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." Giorgio Melchiori Lecture, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, March 2015

Bildung of Humanity: Anthropology, Irony, and the Romantic Novel.” 21st annual Vincent A. De Luca Lecture in Nineteenth-Century Studies, University of Toronto, April 2015

"Bad Hogg." James Hogg Society Conference, Hogg and his World, Toronto, April 2015

"George Eliot and Species Consciousness." Séminaire "Politique, Culture, Société, XIXe-XXIe siècles: Littérature et Sciences humaines," Aix-Marseille Université, November 2015

"Realism's Human Forms." Berkeley Lecture, Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, LMU Munich, December 2015

"Dickens, Transformist." Indiana University, January 2016

"Charles Dickens, Transformist: Popular Science, Romantic Poetry, and the Victorian Novel"; "Infinity or Totality: The Romantic Bildungsroman and the Theory of the Novel." Barbara L. Packer Lectures, UCLA, April 2016

“The Anthropology of Form in Schiller and Darwin.” Anthropology and Literature Forum, MLA, Philadelphia, Jan. 2017

[title tba], Graduate Colloquium in Victorian Studies, Princeton University, April 2017

[title tba], Boston Area Romanticism Colloquium, Boston University, April 2017

Keynote lecture, Victorian Form and Reform conference, UC Santa Cruz, August 2017


Current Research

I am completing a book with the provisional title The Form of the Novel and the Form of Man (under advance contract with Princeton University Press): a study of the novel's interactions with natural history and philosophical anthropology in Europe, from the late Enlightenment through the mid-Victorian era -- from Buffon's Natural History to Darwin's The Descent of Man, from Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship to George Eliot's Daniel Deronda. Chapters consider: 1.) Enlightenment philosophical anthropology (Buffon, Rousseau, Ferguson, Herder, Kant); 2.) The new Romantic genres of the Bildungsroman and the historical novel (Goethe, Staël, Scott); 3.) Lamarckian / Geoffroyan historical romances circa 1830 by Scott (Count Robert of Paris) and Hugo (Notre-Dame de Paris); 4.) Dickens's Romantic transformism in Bleak House (cf. Owen, Chambers) versus the anthropomorphic techniques of Victorian realism; 5.) "Species consciousness" and the science-fiction turn in George Eliot's major novels.

My other current work in progress is a book called Scotland and Romanticism, for Cambridge University Press. It willl offer a short, authoritative critical overview of Scotland's long Romantic century, from the late eighteenth-century projects of the human sciences and revivals of indigenous poetry to Scott's late novels and Carlyle's French Revolution. Part I explores the genres and institutions of Scottish Enlightenment and Romantic-period writing; Part II examines a series of case studies according to reprentative topoi: the lost nation, popular festivity, world literature, the fanatic.

I am also thinking about a short book on Charles Darwin and the relations between scientific and aesthetic conceptions of form in nineteenth-century writing; and maybe another short book, on Scott's late career (1825-32).

Recent English Courses Taught

Spring, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
45B/1 Literature in English: Mid-17th to Late-19th Century Introductory Surveys
45B/101 -- discussion section No instructor assigned yet.
45B/102 -- discussion section No instructor assigned yet.
45B/103 -- discussion section No instructor assigned yet.
45B/104 -- discussion section No instructor assigned yet.
246H/1 Graduate Pro-seminar: Victorian Period Graduate Courses
Fall, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
170/2 Literature and the Arts: Opera and Literary Form World Literature
Special Topics
Spring, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
45B/1 Literature in English: Late-17th through Mid-19th Centuries Introductory Surveys
45B/101 -- discussion section de Stefano, Jason

45B/102 -- discussion section Wise, Diana Catherine

45B/103 -- discussion section Sirianni, Lucy

203/1 Graduate Readings: George Eliot and Victorian Science British 19th-Century
Graduate Courses
Spring, 2015
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/1 Special Topics: Scotland and Romanticism Pre-1800 Requirement
British 18th-Century
British 19th-Century
World Literature
Special Topics

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