Associate Professor

Photo of Fraser Easton.PhD, Princeton
MA, Princeton
BA, British Columbia

Extension: 43359
Office: HH 267


I grew up in North Vancouver and studied physics and math at UBC before switching to English. At Princeton I specialized in British literature of the period 1740 to 1830; my dissertation was on sexual disguise in eighteenth-century culture and society, with chapters on Charlotte Charke and Christopher Smart, among others. I returned to Canada to hold a Killam post-doctoral fellowship on eighteenth-century intellectual history in the History Department at UBC. At Waterloo I teach and research eighteenth-century and Romantic literature. My latest project looks at the human/animal voice in Laurence Sterne, Christopher Smart, William Wordsworth, and Jane Austen. My work on other topics, including the economic ideas of Jane Austen, the poetry of Christopher Smart, and the coverage in popular media of women who passed as men, has appeared in Past and Present, Studies in Romanticism, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Genre, and Textual Practice.

I am a member of the advisory board of the comparative literature department at Fordham University. In August 2004 I was a visiting Associate Professor in the Fachbereich Literaturwissenschaft at the University of Konstanz in Germany and in April 2013 I was a visiting Associate Professor in the School of Foreign Languages at Zhejiang Gongshang University in China. From 2008 to 2015 I served two terms as chair of the English Department.

Selected publications

“Yorick’s Speech: The Limits of Elocution in A Sentimental Journey,” forthcoming in Blake Gerard and Mary Newbould, eds., New Approaches to Laurence Sterne’s “A Sentimental Journey” and Other Works.

“Plebeianizing the Female Soldier: Radical Liberty and The Life and Adventures of Mrs. Christian Davies,” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 32.3 (2020): 427-461.

“Smart’s Professors: Birdsong and Rhetorical Agency in Jubilate Agno,” in Christopher GoGwilt and Melanie Holm, eds., Mocking Bird Technologies: The Poetics of Parroting, Mimicry, and Other Starling Tropes (New York: Fordham University Press, 2018): 68-96.

“Christopher Smart’s Elocution,” in Reading Christopher Smart in the 21st Century, edited by Min Wild and Noel Chevalier (Bucknell UP, 2013): 63-84.

“Covering Sexual Disguise: Passing Women and Generic Constraint,” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 35 (2006): 97-127.

“Gender’s Two Bodies: Women Warriors, Female Husbands, and Plebeian Life,” Past and Present 180 (August 2003): 131-174.

“Cosmopolitical Economy: Exchangeable Value and National Development in Adam Smith and Maria Edgeworth,” Studies in Romanticism 42 (2003): 99-125.

“‘Mary’s Key’ and the Poet’s Conception: The Orphic versus the Mimetic Artist in Jubilate Agno,” in Clement Hawes, ed., Christopher Smart and the Enlightenment (New York: St. Martin’s, 1999), 153-175.   

“Christopher Smart’s Cross-Dressing: Mimicry, Depropriation, and Jubilate Agno,” Genre 31 (1998): 193-243.

“The Political Economy of Mansfield Park: Fanny Price and the Atlantic Working Class,” Textual Practice 12 (1998): 459-488.

Fellowships & Awards

  • Outstanding Performance Award, University of Waterloo

  • SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) Standard Research Grant, University of Waterloo
  • Isaac Walton Killam Memorial Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Department of History, University of British Columbia
  • Princeton University Graduate Fellowship, Princeton University

Current research

I am currently exploring the nature of “voice” in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century literature.  This research takes a rhetorical approach to presentations of animal speech, the mediation of feeling, the status of writing, and the shift from oral to print culture.  My most recent article examines birdsong in the poetry of Christopher Smart; an essay on Laurence Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey is forthcoming.  I continue to work on a range of other topics, including political economy and the Romantic novel, media accounts of women who passed as men (an article on the memoir of the female soldier Christian Davies is forthcoming in Eighteenth-Century Fiction), and eighteenth-century newspapers.

Areas of graduate supervision

My interests are pretty broad, comprehending gender, class, and human/animal speech in eighteenth-century and Romantic literature. I have held tricouncil funding, supervised numerous MA and PhD theses and dissertations, and welcome the opportunity to work with students on a wide variety of topics. I can offer particular expertise on Sterne, Smart, Wordsworth, Edgeworth, and Austen, as well as the economist Adam Smith, and I am more generally interested in the novel, and in various aspects of media, rhetoric, and literary theory.

University of Waterloo

Profiles by type