John Savarese

Associate Professor

PhD, Rutgers

John Savarese head shot

MA, Rutgers
BA, New York

Extension 43019


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 teaching and research are Romantic literature, the history and philosophy of science, and the gothic tradition in literature, music, and film.

My first book, Romanticism's Other Minds (Ohio State, 2020), examines how Romantic poets reimagined what it meant to have a mind in the first place, and to live in a social environment populated by other minds. In my more recent work, I have been looking at how theories of the social mind, and of the socially “distributed” mind, play out in the gothic tradition.

While I spend most of my time teaching and writing about the history of literary forms and genres, I also 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 co-taught for Waterloo’s program in Cognitive Science.

Selected publications


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

Edited Collection

“Romanticism and Vision,” special issue co-edited with Terry F. Robinson, European Romantic Review 33.4 (2022).

Articles and Chapters

“Gothic Ecologies of Mind,” in Romanticism and Consciousness Revisiteded. Joel Faflak and Richard C. Sha, under contract with Edinburgh UP.

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

  • UW/SSHRC Explore Grant, 2020-2022
  • 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

I am currently at work on a new book-length projectabout the relation of mind, environment, and technology in the gothic tradition. An early portion of the project, on the gothic ballad and embodied rhythm, is included in a collection from Edinburgh University Press. I also continue to be interested in Romantic theories of the social mind, and have pieces in the works about “natural sociability” in the poetry and songwriting of Charlotte Smith and Joanna Baillie.

Areas of graduate supervision

  • Romanticism
  • Gothic studies
  • The history of science