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Paula Backscheider

Paula Backscheider

Philpott-Stevens Eminent Scholar Chair



Paula Backscheider

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9082 Haley Center

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By Appointment


PhD, Purdue University

About Me

Paula R. Backscheider is the Philpott-Stevens Eminent Scholar at Auburn University. She specializes in Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, feminist criticism, and cultural studies. An award-winning teacher, her most recent recognitions are the Student Government Association Outstanding Graduate Faculty Member and the Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award given jointly by the Graduate School and the Auburn Alumni Association. She is the author of several books including Daniel Defoe: His Life (winner of the British Council Prize), Spectacular PoliticsReflections on Biography, and Eighteenth-Century Women Poets and their Poetry: Inventing Agency, Inventing Genre (winner of the Modern Language Association Lowell Prize). Two of her books have been selected for the Choice Outstanding Academic Book award. She has published articles in PMLATheatre JournalELH, and many other journals. A former president of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, she has held ACLS, NEH, and Guggenheim Fellowships and is one of the few American members of the Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Edinburgh. Her most recent book is Elizabeth Singer Rowe and the Development of the English Novel.

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Research Interests

Restoration and long 18th-century British literature; feminist criticism; performance studies; drama; space and place; criticism and theory; cultural studies; women's and gender studies


  • “Politics and Gender in a Tale of Two Plays” in Women, Popular Culture and the Eighteenth-Century, ed. Tiffany Potter (Toronto: U. of Toronto P., 2012): 52-69.
  • “The Paradigms of Popular Culture” in The Eighteenth-Century Novel: Essays in Honor of John Richetti (New York: AMS Press, 2009): 19-59.
  • “Literary Culture as Immediate Reality” in A Companion to the Eighteenth-Century English Novel and Culture, ed. Paula R. Backscheider and Catherine Ingrassia (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005): 504-538.
  • “Shadowing Theatrical Change” in Players, Playwrights, Playhouses: Investigating Performance, 1660-1800s, ed. Michael Cordner and Peter Holland (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007): 78-100.
  • Revising Women: Eighteenth-Century “Women's Fiction” and Social Engagement. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. (edited)
  • "Reflections on the Importance of Romantic Drama," Texas Studies in Literature and Language 41, no. 4 (1999): 311-329.
  • “The Shadow of an Author: Eliza Haywood,” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 11 (October 1998): 79-102.
  • “'Endless Aversion Rooted in the Soul': Divorce in the 1690-1730 Theater," The Eighteenth-Century: Theory and Interpretation 37 (1996): 99-135.
  • Spectacular Politics: Theatrical Power and Mass Culture in Early Modern England. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.