Skip to main content
Department of English

Sarah Eron

Valerie Karno

Assistant Professor of English

Ph.D. Cornell University
M.A. Cornell University
B.A.  Brown University

Office: 308E Swan Hall
Phone: 401-874-4683
Office Hours: Mon/Wed by appointment for Spring 15


Sarah Eron specializes in the literature, culture, and philosophy of the long eighteenth century (1660-1820). Her research focuses on how aesthetic terminologies such as “enthusiasm,” “inspiration,” “sympathy,” and “genius” are rhetorically deployed within the context of Enlightenment era thought. She is the author of Inspiration in the Age of Enlightenment (University of Delaware Press, 2014). This book reconsiders theories of apostrophe and poetic authority to argue that the Augustan age created a new form of inspiration, one that not only changed the relationship of literary production to authority in the modern period but also crucially contributes to defining the movement of secularization in literature from the Renaissance to Romanticism.

Dr. Eron’s current project, Sympathy’s Sublime: Cognitive Feeling in Late Eighteenth-Century Literature, re-envisions the implications of sympathy for late eighteenth-century concepts of subjectivity and cognition. Many late eighteenth-century works in France and England focus on the problematic relationship of sympathy to the image-producing, re-presenting faculties of cognition. Eron argues that this literature helps to re-envision the implications of sympathy for late eighteenth-century concepts of subjectivity and cognition by mixing a Romantic rhetoric of the sublime with an empiricist language of immediate, sensory perception. This tension between Romantic memory (as an agent of transport, impression, and return) and eighteenth-century empirical observation (as a faculty of immediate feeling) marks a transition in eighteenth-century thought regarding the nature of subject-object relations. Sympathy’s sublime turn in late eighteenth-century writing elaborates upon empiricism’s “sense perception” so as to imagine a new cognitive relationship to the world dependent upon the revolutions of sublime thinking and transport.

Sarah Eron has published articles in a number of journals and online publications on issues of religion and aesthetics, time and form, gender and genre, secularization and Enlightenment. Her most recent work has appeared in such publications as Eighteenth-Century Novel and Blake, An Illustrated Quarterly. Sarah is an affiliated member of the Modern Language Association, the American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Northeast American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies, the American Comparative Literature Association and the North American Society for Studies in Romanticism.

At URI, she teaches courses on satire, the rise of the novel, eighteenth-century women writers, eighteenth-century poetry, and Restoration drama.

Recent courses include:


English 374: The Embodied Mind: Reason & the Passions in the Eighteenth Century
English 264: Theater & the Passions
English 447: Eighteenth-Century Poetry
English 480: Daniel Defoe: 1660-1731.
English 469: The Eighteenth-Century Novel
English 374: Satire.
English 265: Gothic Fictions
English 460: Wordsworth & Rousseau
English 260: Austen and Her Predecessors


English 610. Enlightenment Aesthetics