Headshot of Rivka Swenson

Rivka Swenson

Associate Professor
(804) 827-8416
Hibbs Hall 416


BA Virginia Polytechnic Institute
MFA Virginia Commonwealth University
MA, PhD University of Virginia

Research/Teaching Focus

Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature


Essential Scots and the Idea of Unionism in Anglo-Scottish Literature, 1603-1832. Lewisburg PA: Bucknell UP, 2016. [Series: Transits: Literature, Thought & Culture, 1650–1850]

Ed. with Elise Lauterbach. Imagining Selves: Essays in Honor of Patricia Meyer Spacks. Newark: U of Delaware P, 2009.

Recent/Selected Publications

“‘it is to pleasure you’: Seeing Things in Mackenzie’s Aretina (1660), or, Whither Scottish Prose Fiction before the Novel?” Studies in Scottish Literature. [Symposium on “Periodization,” ed. Juliet Shields] [in press]

“Secret History and the It-Narrative.” The Secret History in Literature, 16601820. Eds. Rebecca Bullard and Rachel Carnell. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. [in press]

Robinson Crusoe and the Form of the New Novel.” The Cambridge Companion to Robinson Crusoe. Ed. John Richetti. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. [in press]

“The Poet as Man of Feeling.” Oxford Handbook of British Poetry 1660–1800. Ed. Jack Lynch. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2016. 195–209.

“Formalism, Historicism, and the Author’s Farce: Making the Modern Author in Tom Jones.” Approaches to Teaching the Novels of Henry Fielding. Eds. Jennifer Wilson and Elizabeth Kraft. New York: Modern Language Association, 2015. 130–37.

“History.” The Cambridge Companion to Women’s Writing in Britain, 1660–1789. Ed. Catherine IngrassiaCambridge: Cambridge UP, 2015. 135–46.

Ed. with Manushag N. Powell. “Sensational Subjects,” special issue of The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 54.2 (Summer 2013).

“Revising the Scottish Plot in Roderick Random.” New Contexts for Eighteenth-Century British Fiction: “Hearts Resolved and Hands Prepared”: Essays in Honor of Jerry C. Beasley. Ed. Christopher Johnson. Newark, DE: U of Delaware P, 2011. 177–200.

“Optics, Gender, and the Eighteenth-Century Gaze: Looking at Eliza Haywood’s Anti-Pamela.” The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 51.1–2 (Spring/Summer 2010): 27–43.

“‘A Soldier is her Darling Character’: Susanna Centlivre, Desire, Difference, and Disguise.” Journal of Narrative Theory 31.4 (2007): 16–43.

“Representing Modernity in Jane Barker’s Galesia Trilogy: Jacobite Allegory and the Patch-Work Aesthetic.” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 38.1 (2005): 55–80.

Current Elected Positions

Liaison to Other Societies, Executive Committee, Defoe Society. 2015–2019

Board Member, Executive Committee, Scottish Literature Forum, Modern Language Association. 2014–2019 [Secretary, 2017­–2018; Chair, 2018–2019]

Participation in Grant-Funded Professional Working Groups

“Anglo-Scottish Migration and Integration.” AHRC-funded research network, U of Manchester. 2013–2014.

Participation in Grant-Funded Professional Working Groups

“Anglo-Scottish Migration and Integration.” AHRC-funded research network, U of Manchester. 2013–2014.

Editorial Positions

The Scriblerian and the Kit-Kats. 2014–
Digital Defoe. 2011–

Recent External Fellowships

Lewis Walpole Library/ASECS, Yale U. 2015.
Manuscripts and Rare Books Library, Woodruff Library, Emory U. 2013.
Chawton House Library and U of Southampton, 2013.
Folger Shakespeare Library. 2012.
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. 2010.

Faculty photo by Patrick Scott Vickers – 2014

Upcoming Deadlines

Department Orientation Sessions
AUGUST 15, 2019

Classes Begin
AUGUST 20, 2019

Add/Drop Deadline
AUGUST 26, 2019

Graduation Application Deadline

Fall Reading Day
OCTOBER 10, 2019

Course Withdrawal Deadline
NOVEMBER 1, 2019

Last Day of Classes
DECEMBER 9, 2019

British Virginia

British Virginia logo: simply the words

British Virginia is a VCU-hosted series of scholarly editions of documents touching on the colony. These texts range from the 16th and 17th-century literature of English exploration to the 19th-century writing of loyalists and other Virginians who continued to identify with Great Britain. Editions appear principally in digital form, freely downloadable. 

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