John J. Richetti

John J. Richetti

Fellow: Awarded 1970
Field of Study: English Literature

Competition: US & Canada

Columbia University

John Richetti, A. M. Rosenthal Professor of English (Emeritus) at the University of Pennsylvania, spent most of his career at three institutions: Columbia, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1968 and was an assistant professor until 1970; Rutgers, where he taught from 1970 to 1987, and completed his time there as Distinguished Professor of English; and Penn, where he served as Chairman of the English Department for seven years.  Mr. Richetti has also been a visiting professor at Stanford and Princeton, and served as the Berg Visiting Professor at NYU in 2005.

Mr. Richetti’s work has focused on eighteenth-century prose, both fictional and nonfictional.  His first book, Popular Fiction before Richardson: Narrative Patterns 1700-1739 (Oxford UP, 1969; rpt. with new introduction by the author, 1992), has long been a standard work in the field.  His second book and much of his subsequent writing has explored the work of Daniel Defoe: Defoe’s Narratives: Situations and Structures (Oxford UP, 1975), Daniel Defoe (Twayne English Authors Series, 1987), and  The Life of Daniel Defoe: A Critical Biography (Blackwell, 2005).  His third book, Philosophical Writing: Locke, Berkeley, and Hume (Harvard UP, 1983), broke new ground in considering eighteenth-century philosophical prose as literature.  In 1999, Mr. Richetti published a history of the eighteenth-century novel centered on the issue of social change during that period: The English Novel in History 1700-1780 (Routledge, 1999).

Mr. Richetti has also been active over the years as an editor.  Among the volumes he has edited are The Columbia History of the English Novel (1995), The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth-Century Novel (1996), The Cambridge History of English Literature: 1660-1780 (2005), Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (Penguin, 2001), and The Cambridge Companion to Daniel Defoe (2008).

During 2008-09, John Richetti was President of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

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