Michael Genovese

  • Assistant Professor
  • English
1217 Patterson Office Tower
(859) 257-4328
Research Interests:
Office Hours (Fall 2013): Mon/Tues 9:30-11:30am

Ph.D., University of Virginia M.A., University of Chicago B.A., University of Virginia


Book Project

My current book project, "The Problem of Profit: Finance and Feeling in Eighteenth-Century Britain" explores an overlooked literary history of economic "profit" within which eighteenth-century authors pit profitability against individualism by tying monetary accumulation to the expansion of sympathetic networks.  Throughout chapters on georgic poetry, periodical essays, novels, commercial treatises, and slave narratives, I treat the language of sentiment and sensibility not as a cover for or a disavowal of economic gain but as constitutive of a sociable theory of profit.  As I argue, the idea of sociable profit emerges from a literary tradition rooted in the georgic mode that, for the first time in the eighteenth century, expanded beyond agricultural topics to include mercantile activity in general, including bankruptcy courts, tradespeople's shops, and even metallic coinage.  Across five chapters that range from the 1690s to the 1790s, I uncover a literary attitude toward commerce that conflated profit with sentimental interdependence in ways that neither previous nor subsequent centuries acknowledged. 


Selected Research Fellowships

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow, The Huntington Library

Midwest Modern Language Association Fellow, The Newberry Library

American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) Fellow, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

Visiting Fellow, Chawton House Library

Graduate Training

University of Virginia

Selected Publications: 


“‘A Mixture of Bad in All’: The Character(s) of Self-Interest in Sarah Fielding’s David Simple,” forthcoming in The Age of Johnson 22 (2012) 

“An Organic Commerce: Sociable Selfhood in Eighteenth-Century Georgic,” forthcoming in Eighteenth-Century Studies

“‘Profess as Much as I’: Dignity as Authority in the Poetry of Sarah Fyge Egerton,” The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 52:1-2 (Spring-Summer 2010): 45-66.

Book Reviews

Review of Collecting Women: Poetry and Lives 1700-1780, by Chantel M. Lavoie, forthcoming in The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation

Review of Sentimental Figures of Empire in Eighteenth-Century Britain and France, by Lynn Festa, The Eighteenth-Century Novel 6-7(2009): 536-38.

Published Articles
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