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Faculty Profile

Jacob Sider Jost

Associate Professor of English (2011)

Contact Information


I am a teacher and scholar of literature, focused on the British eighteenth century. At Dickinson I teach courses about the epic, Shakespeare, the early British novel, eighteenth-century poetry and drama, and fairy stories from Spenser to the Grimms. I am the author of two monographs, Prose Immortality, 1711-1819 (2015), and Interest and Connection in the Eighteenth Century: Hervey, Johnson, Smith, Equiano (2020), both from the University of Virginia Press. I have also published essays on Shakespeare, Shaftesbury, Defoe, Hume, Johnson, Proust, and other figures. I am in the early stages of a history of life-writing in eighteenth-century Britain.

Curriculum Vitae


  • B.A., Goshen College, 2002
  • B.A., University of Oxford, 2005
  • M.A., 2009
  • Ph.D., Harvard University, 2011

2022-2023 Academic Year

Fall 2022

FYSM 100 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: - Critically analyze information and ideas - Examine issues from multiple perspectives - Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason - Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and - Create clear academic writing The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

ENGL 220 Intro to Literary Studies
In literary studies, we explore the work texts do in the world. This course examines several texts of different kinds (e.g., novel, poetry, film, comic book, play, etc.) to investigate how literary forms create meanings. It also puts texts in conversation with several of the critical theories and methodologies that shape the discipline of literary study today (e.g., Marxist theory, new historicism, formalism, gender theory, postcolonial theory, ecocriticism, etc.). This course helps students frame interpretive questions and develop their own critical practice. Prerequisite: 101. This course is the prerequisite for 300-level work in English.

ENGL 222 English Literary Histories
This class has two major components: first, it is a survey of the history of British literature. We will read representative major works from the Anglo-Saxon period to the twentieth century: authors may include the Gawain poet, Shakespeare, Milton, Austen, Conan Doyle, Woolf, and Ishiguro. Second, this class is a critical exploration of the idea of literary history. What does it mean to divide literature into periods? What is gained--and what is lost or left out--when we use concepts like "tradition" or "canon" to think about writing? Critics and theorists may include Wordsworth, Eliot, Bourdieu, Guillory, and Underwood.