Associate Professor | Associate Chair, Graduate Studies

PhD, RutgersJohn Savarese head shot
MA, Rutgers
BA, New York

Extension 43019
Office: HH 143

For enquiries related to graduate studies, email


I completed my Ph.D. at Rutgers University in 2012, and held two postdoctoral fellowships (at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of California, Berkeley) before coming to Waterloo in 2014. My main areas of research interest are Romantic literature, poetry and poetics, and the history and philosophy of science. While I spend most of my time teaching and writing about the history of literary forms and genres, I have a longstanding interest in what literary studies can contribute to interdisciplinary conversations. To that end, I have been involved in the History of Distributed Cognition project at the University of Edinburgh, and have also co-taught for Waterloo’s program in Cognitive Science. In addition to teaching Romantic literature, surveys of British literature, and composition, I regularly offer courses on topics such as poetry and popular song; literary Orientalism; and the gothic mode from the novel to new media.

Selected publications


Romanticism’s Other Minds: Poetry, Cognition, and the Science of Sociability The Ohio State University Press (2020)

Articles and Chapters

Cognitive Scaffolding, Aids to Reflection,” in Distributed Cognition in Enlightenment and Romantic Cultureed. Miranda Anderson, George Rousseau, and Michael Wheeler (Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2019).

 “Baillie’s Diagnostic Sublime,” European Romantic Review 29.3 (June 2018).

Social Minds in Romanticism,” Literature Compass 14.2 (February 2017).

“Wordsworth between Minds,” Multi-Media Romanticisms, ed. Andrew Burkett and James Brooke-Smith, Romantic Circles Praxis Series (November 2016).

Ossian’s Folk Psychology,” ELH 80.3 (Fall 2013).

Reading One’s Own Mind: Hazlitt, Cognition, Fiction,” European Romantic Review 24.4 (2013).

"Lyric Mindedness and the ‘Automaton Poet,’” in Romantic Numbers, ed. Maureen N. McLane. Romantic Circles Praxis Series (April 2013).

Psyche’s ‘Whisp’ring Fan’ and Keats’s Genealogy of the Secular,” Studies in Romanticism 50.3 (Fall 2011).

Fellowships & Awards

  • David L. Kalstone Award, Rutgers University (English alumni award), 2019
  • UW/SSHRC Insight Development Grant 4A Funding, 2015-2016
  • Travel stipend, University of Edinburgh, 2015
  • UW/SSHRC Travel Grant, 2014
  • American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellowship, 2013-2014
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin, 2012-2013

Current research

My forthcoming book, Romanticism’s Other Minds: Poetry, Cognition, and the Science of Sociability, examines how Romantic poets reimagined what it meant to have a mind, and to live among other minds. Against a longstanding argument that Romantic writers understood poetry in terms of the mind’s inner, private workings, my book shows that Romantic poetics also became a staging ground for debates about the mind’s outward-directed, social powers. My ongoing research on the social mind looks at two particular historical traditions: eighteenth-century “natural sociability” theory (in the poetry of Joanna Baillie, Charlotte Smith, and others) and theories of socially distributed cognition (in Anna Letitia Barbauld, S.T. Coleridge, and the gothic revival).

Areas of graduate supervision

  • Eighteenth-century literature
  • Nineteenth-century literature
  • The history and philosophy of science
  • Poetry and poetic theory
  • Gothic studies
University of Waterloo

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