Cynthia Wall

Cynthia Wall

William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor, Associate Chair

105 Dawson's Row

Office Hours: Tuesdays 2:00-5:00
Class Schedule: MW 2:00-3:15, 3:30-4:45

18th C British, Restoration


Ph.D. Chicago, 1992
M.A. Chicago, 1987
M.A. Northwestern (Phil.), 1983
B.A. St. Olaf College, 1981


Grammars of Approach: Landscape, Narrative, and the Linguistic Picturesque, The University of Chicago Press, 2018; Robert Lowry Patten Award for Best Contribution to Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Studies, 2019; shortlisted for the Kenshur Prize for Best Book in Eighteenth-Century Studies, 2020
The Prose of Things: Transformations of Description in the Eighteenth Century, The University of Chicago Press, 2006; Honorable Mention, James Russell Lowell Prize, 2007

Edited Works

The Eighteenth Centuries: Global Networks of Enlightenment, The University of Virginia Press, 2017 (with David T. Gies)
The Pilgrim’s Progress, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2008 
A Journal of the Plague Year, London and New York: Penguin Classics, 2003
Eighteenth-Century Genre and Culture: Serious Reflections on Occasional Forms, University of Delaware Press, 2001 (with Dennis Todd)
The Rape of the Lock, Boston and New York: Bedford Books/St. Martin's Press, 1998


  • “Fielding and the City,” The Oxford Handbook to Henry Fielding, ed. Thomas Keymer and Henry Power (forthcoming, Oxford University Press, 2024)
  • “Style and Language,” in Jonathan Swift in Context, ed. Pat Rogers and Joseph Hone (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2023)
  • “‘Wheels within wheels’: Eighteenth-Century Parentheticals,” in Punctuation in Modern English Literature, 3 vols., ed. Jeffrey Gutierrez and John Lennard (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2024)
  • “Gothic Syntax,” in Small Things, ed. Chloe Wigston Smith and Beth Tobin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2022)
  • “Editions,” in Daniel Defoe in Context, ed. Albert Rivero and George Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2022)
  • Of a Parenthesis,” in Milieus of Minutiae, ed. Christiane Frey and Elizabeth Brogden (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, forthcoming 2022)
  • “Defoe and the Stage,” in The Oxford Handbook to Daniel Defoe, ed. Nicholas Seager and J. Alan Downie (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2022)
  • “SEL’s Recent Studies in the Restoration and Eighteenth Century; or, Our Scholarly Future,” Special Issue, “Eighteenth-Century Studies and the Future of the Profession,” ed. Jonathan Sachs, The Rambling, ed. Sarah Tindall Kareem and Crystal Lake (, July 2020
  • Introductory essay, “Reception,” The Oxford Handbook of English Prose, 1640-1714, ed. Henry Power and Nicholas McDowell (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2022); in press
  • “Fielding’s Prepositional, Textual Inns,” in “Getting Perspective,” ed. Julie Park, Word & Image 37:3 (Winter 2021): 245-258
  • Introductory essay, “The Meaning of Home,” The Cultural History of the Home, ed. Amanda Flather (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020), 13-34
  • “Recent Studies in the Restoration and Eighteenth Century,” Studies in English Literature 58:3 (Summer 2018): 731-804
  • “Bunyan and the Early Novel,” Oxford Handbook to John Bunyan, ed. Michael Davies (Oxford University Press, July 2018), 521-36
  • “Allegorical Punctuation,” English Without Boundaries: Reading English from China to Canada, ed. Jane Roberts and Trudi L. Darby (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017): 230-41
  •  “Exploration, Expansion, and the Early Novel,” Oxford History of the Novel in English, vol. 1, ed. Thomas Keymer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 450-70
  • “Description in Action,” Public Books (November 2016)
  • “Travel Narratives and the Early Novel,” Oxford Handbook of the Eighteenth-Century Novel, ed. J. A. Downie (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 121-36; Oxford Handbooks Online, September 2013 (DOI:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199566747.013.006)
  • “‘The little words’: The Close Reading of Really Small Things,” The Wordsworth Circle, Special Edition in Honor of Robert Langbaum, 47:2 (Spring 2016): 114-118
  • “Poems on the Stage,” Oxford Handbook of British Poetry, 1660-1800, ed. Jack Lynch (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016): 23-39
  • “London,” Blackwell Companion to the English Novel, ed. Stephen Arata, J. Paul Hunter, and Jennifer Wicke (Oxford: Blackwell, 2015), 341-59
  • “Approaching the Interior of the Eighteenth-Century English Country House,” Style 48:4 (Winter 2014), 543-562
  • “John Bunyan and the Spaces of Religious Writing,” A Companion to British Literature, ed. Robert DeMaria, Heesok Chang, and Samantha Zacher (Oxford: Blackwell, 2014), 2:342-358
  • “Daniel Defoe: Journalism, Myth, and Verisimilitude,” The Cambridge Companion to the European Novel, ed. Michael Bell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 36-53
  • “The Impress of the Invisible: Lodges and Cottages,” English Literary History 79 (Winter 2012), 989-1012
  • “Description, Including Ekphrasis,” The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Novel, ed. Efrain Kristal (Oxford: Blackwell, 2012)
  • “London and Narration in the Long Eighteenth Century,” The Cambridge Companion to London, ed. Lawrence Manley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 102-118
  • “London,” Johnson in Context, ed. Jack Lynch (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 243-250
  • “The Business of Houses: The Problem of Old London Bridge,” The Eighteenth-Century Novel: Essays in Honor of John Richetti, ed. Albert J. Rivero and George Justic, vol. 6-7 (August 2009), 261-305
  • “Defoe and London,” The Cambridge Companion to Daniel Defoe, ed. John J. Richetti (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 158-181
  • “‘Chasms in the Story’:  Sophia Lee’s The Recess and David Hume’s History of England,” in Imagining Selves: Essays in Honor of Patricia Meyer Spacks, ed. Rivka Swensen and Elise Lauterbach (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2008), 21-40
  • “Poetic Spaces,” The Cambridge Companion to Alexander Pope, ed. Pat Rogers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 49-62
  • The Castle of Otranto: A Shakespeareo-Political Satire?” in Historical Boundaries, Narrative Forms: Essays on British Literature in the Long Eighteenth Century in Honor of Everett Zimmerman, ed. Lorna Clymer and Robert Mayer (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2007), 184-198
  • “Teaching Space in Sir Charles Grandison,” MLA Approaches to Teaching Samuel Richardson, ed. Jocelyn Harris and Lisa Zunshine (2006), 162-68
  • “A Geography of Georgian Narrative Space,” Georgian Geographies, ed. Miles Ogborn and Charles Withers (Forthcoming, Manchester University Press, 2002), 114-30
  • “‘Over-against Catharine-Street in the Strand’”: Forms of Address in London Streets," The Streets of London, ed. Tim Hitchcock (forthcoming, London: Rivers Oram, 2002), 10-26
  • “The Spaces of Clarissa in Text and Film,” Eighteenth Century Fiction on Screen, ed. Robert Mayer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 106-22
  • “The Rhetoric of Description,” Eighteenth-Century Genres and Cultures, ed. Dennis Todd and Cynthia Wall (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2001), 261-79
  • “Details of Space: Narrative Description in Early Eighteenth-Century Novels,” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 10, no. 4 (July 1998), 387-405
  • “Novel Streets: The Rebuilding of London and Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year,” Studies in the Novel 30, no. 2 (Summer 1998), 164-177
  • “Grammars of Space: The Language of London from Stow’s Survey to Defoe's Tour,” Philological Quarterly 76, no. 4 (Fall 1997), 387-411
  • “The English Auction: Narratives of Dismantlings,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 31, no. 1 (Fall 1997), 1-25
  • “Gendering Rooms: Domestic Architecture and Literary Acts,” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 5, no.4 (July 1993), 349-72
  • “‘Her Conversation heavenly’: Defoe's Architectural Dialogues and the Academy for Women,” in Compendious Conversations, ed. Kevin Cope Lang (New York: Peter Lang, 1992), 237-238


  • Robert Lowry Patten Award for Best Contribution to Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Studies for Grammars of Approach, 2020
  • Shortlisted for Kenshur Prize for Best Book in Eighteenth-Century Studies, 2020
  • NEH Fellowship, The Newberry Library, 2016
  • Lewis Walpole Library Fellowship, May 2014
  • Newberry Library/ ASECS Fellowship, January 2014
  • Elected to The Athenaeum Club, London, June 2009
  • Honorable Mention, James Russell Lowell Prize, for The Prose of Things, Modern Language Association 2007.
  • NEH Fellowship, 2003-2004
  • University of Virginia sesquicentennial, 2003-2004
  • Newberry Library/ASECS Fellowship, May 2001
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 1998-1999
  • University of Virginia Sesquicentennial Fellowship, 1998-1999
  • Newberry Library/British Academy Fellowship, Summer 1997
  • NEH Summer Stipend, 1994
  • Huntington Library visiting fellowship, 1994
  • William Andrews Clark Library visiting fellowship, 1994
  • Houghton Library visiting fellowship, 1994
  • NEH Summer Seminar, 1993
  • Marc Perry Galler Prize for Best Dissertation, University of Chicago, 1993
  • Newberry Library research fellowship, 1991-1992