Roger Maioli

Assistant Professor

Roger Maioli

I am interested in the intersections between philosophy and imaginative literature in both Britain and France during the Enlightenment. My first book, Empiricism and the Early Theory of the Novel (Palgrave 2016), frames the rise of the British novel as an inaugural round in the longstanding opposition between the empirical sciences and the literary humanities. In turn, my current book project, provisionally entitled Redrawing the Boundaries: The Enlightenment Crisis of Values, considers how the Enlightenment redesigned, along secular lines, certain conceptual distinctions that had long rested on a theological foundation — including the distinctions between right and wrong, true and false, beautiful and ugly, man and woman, and Europeans and “Barbarians.” I trace how these boundaries were redrawn in the novels, plays, essays, philosophical treatises, biographies, literary criticism, and letters of the period, showing that they were all motivated by a common concern: to forestall the danger of relativism.

Born and raised in Brazil, I hold an M.A. in English Literary Studies from the University of São Paulo (2006) and a PhD in English from Johns Hopkins University (2015). (My surname, should you decide to use it, is pronounced My-oh-ly, but I am very comfortable with first names. Plain “Roger” is always welcome.) I have articles and book reviews either published or forthcoming in Eighteenth-Century Fiction, SEL– Studies in English Literature 1500–1900, The Shandean, The Scriblerian, Eighteenth-Century Novel, and Digital Defoe. In addition, I have an extensive output as an English–Portuguese translator, having prepared among many others the first Brazilian edition of Henry Fielding’s Joseph Andrews. I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses on the rise of the British novel, on the Enlightenment’s modern legacy, and on eighteenth-century secularism. Other than Jane Austen and the eighteenth-century usual suspects, I am a fan of Elizabeth Gaskell, Machado de Assis, William Somerset Maugham, Jorge Luis Borges, and Donald Duck.


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