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Publications in VIVO

Stevenson, John A



Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • My interests center on British Literature, especially literature of the eighteenth century and the history of the novel.. I am most interested in the historical contexts of literature, and I bring that perspective to bear in all my scholarship and teaching. I am currently at work on a book tentatively titled 'Strange Case of Elizabeth Canning,' which examines the most famous criminal mystery of the eighteenth century in both literary and historical (especially legal) ways. Over the last ten years, I have presented four papers at scholarly conferences on this project, as well as a paper here on the Boulder campus sponsored by the C!8-19th Group. I have written well over 100 pages of this books and hope to finish it next summer. I have also begun work on another book on detective fiction. This complements (though is different from the Canning project): using both ifthree books published in the 20th century, I will analyze why detective fiction has become one of the most popular modes of novel writing in the 20th and 21st centuries. I hope to use a sabbatical in the spring of 2025 to make a detailed study of some of the most popular of these novels and explore the ways that the long history of the novel as a genre has absorbed this kind of fiction.


  • English literature, history and literature of the eighteenth century, literature and the law, literature and crime, detective fiction, the novel


selected publications


courses taught

  • ENGL 1290 - Crime, Policing, Detection
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2021 / Fall 2023
    Explores stories about crime and policing, deviance and detection, law and order. Students will learn how genres such as detective or crime fiction or police procedurals narrate anxieties about race, class, gender, sexuality, and nationality. Analyzes how categories of innocence and guilt, justice and punishment, are imagined and portrayed in short stories, films, novels, and TV shows.
  • ENGL 2102 - Literary Analysis
    Primary Instructor - Summer 2018 / Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Fall 2021
    Provides a basic skills course designed to equip students to handle the English major. Emphasizes critical writing and the acquisition of basic techniques and vocabulary of literary criticism through close attention to poetry and prose.
  • ENGL 2503 - British Literary History to 1660
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019
    Provides a chronological study of great figures and forces in English literature from Beowulf to 1660.
  • ENGL 2504 - British Literary History after 1660
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019 / Fall 2020
    Surveys key trends and works in British literature from 1660 to 1900 by focusing on issues such as modernity; national identity; political, economic, social, and scientific revolutions; reading and media technologies; and the relationship between literary and visual culture. May include works by Aphra Behn, William Hogarth, the Wordsworths, Jane Austen, the Bront's, Charles Dickens, Christina Rossetti, and Joseph Conrad. Formerly ENGL 2512.
  • ENGL 3000 - Shakespeare for Nonmajors
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020 / Summer 2020 / Summer 2021 / Spring 2022 / Summer 2022
    Introduction to Shakespeare. Introduces students to 6-10 of Shakespeare's major plays. Comedies, histories, and tragedies will be studied. Some non-dramatic poetry may be included. Viewing of Shakespeare in performance is often required.
  • ENGL 3164 - History and Literature of Georgian Britain
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019 / Summer 2019 / Spring 2020 / Summer 2020
    Provides an interdisciplinary study of England in one of its most vibrant cultural and historical periods. Topics include politics, religion, family life, and the ways contemporary authors understood their world.
  • ENGL 3204 - Developments in the Novel
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021 / Spring 2022 / Spring 2023 / Spring 2024
    Surveys key developments in the formal and socio-cultural history of the British novel, from its rise in the long eighteenth century to its preeminence during the Victorian era. Readings may include works by Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Richardson, Laurence Sterne, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, the Bront's, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde and Joseph Conrad.
  • ENGL 3544 - The Long Eighteenth Century: Satire, Sense, and Sentiment from Behn to Austen
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020
    Examines the literature and culture of the "long eighteenth century" (1660-1815), when satire ruled, the novel rose to prominence, philosophers challenged authority, and romanticism took hold. Studies how authors used evolving forms to confront and buttress authority and ask what being human means: Is it to reason and feel? To trade and own things? To be free?
  • ENGL 3563 - Shakespeare
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2022
    Shakespeare's poetry and drama.
  • ENGL 4039 - Critical Thinking in English Studies
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021
    Concerned with developments in the study of literature that have significantly influenced our conception of the theoretical bases for study and expanded our understanding of appropriate subject matter. May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours.
  • ENGL 4830 - Honors Thesis
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020 / Spring 2023 / Spring 2024
    Students accepted to English Departmental Honors are enrolled in this course.


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