Melinda Alliker Rabb Professor of English

Melinda Rabb is the author of Satire and Secrecy in English Literature 1650-1750 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). Her chapters and articles on 18th-c. novels, satire, and poetry, and on authors including Swift, Manley, Pope, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Godwin, and Defoe, have appeared in books such as Cutting Edges: Postmodern Critical Essays on 18th-c. Satire (1995), A Companion to Early Modern Women's Writing (2002), The Blackwell Companion to Satire (2006), and Reading Swift (2008), and in journals such as Modern Language Studies, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, PLL, SEL, and ELH. She has edited Lucius: The First Christian King of England for The Broadview Anthology of Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century Drama, ed. Douglas Canfield (2000) and a special issue of Modern Language Studies titled Making and Rethinking the Canon: The Eighteenth Century XCIII: 1 (1988). Before joining Brown's faculty, she taught in the Humanities department at MIT. Her most recent publications draw on new research on embodiment, masculinity, and the effects of the the mid-seventeenth-century civil wars on eighteenth-century literature.

Brown Affiliations

research overview

Melinda Rabb has research interests in literature and culture of the 'long' eighteenth century, that is, from the time of the English Civil Wars through the career of Jane Austen. Within this broad time-frame, particular interests include satire, secret history, the novel, early modern women's writing, the idea of war and embodiment, material culture, and the history of cognition.

research statement

Current interests have led me into two new areas of research. The first project, Parting Shots: Eighteenth-Century Displacements of the Male Body at War, investigates the significance of the English Civil Wars on eighteenth-century literature in which the experience and memory of non-foreign conflict changes the representation of masculine identity and institutions. The second project, Eighteenth-Century Miniature: Mimesis Reconsidered, draws on evidence from material culture and literature in order to explain the eighteenth-century practice of reproducing objects in small scale, a practice with ramifications in literature, art, science, and the history of cognition. Past research and publications with continuing interest include Swift, satire, the novel, early modern women's writing, and the ongoing revision of the canon.

funded research