Faculty Profile

Jacob Sider Jost

Associate Professor of English (2011)

Contact Information

on sabbatical Spring 2025




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.


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

2023-2024 Academic Year

Fall 2023

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 331 Shakespeare and Tragedy
An exploration of tragedy through primary texts (Sophocles, Euripides, above all Shakespeare), canonical theories (Aristotle, Hegel, Frye) and recent critical discussions (Rowan Williams, Blair Hoxby, Joshua Billings).

Spring 2024

ENGL 221 Life Writing
In this course we will read texts that represent human lives, including biographies, autobiographies, diaries, memoirs and essays. We will investigate how texts organize and make sense of human lives. Students will also compose their own life-writing texts

ENGL 341 The Fairy Way of Writing
In this course we will read texts that imagine fantastical worlds, focusing primarily on England between 1590 and 1800. Authors may include Spenser, Shakespeare, Perrault, Cavendish, Wortley Montagu, Dryden, Swift, as well as popular and children's texts. We will also encounter early modern readers and critics who explore the power of fantasy, such as Dryden, Addison, Boswell, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Lamb, as well as contemporary scholars of myth and fantasy such as Maria Tatar and Rosemary Jackson.