Kathleen Lubey

ProfessorDirector, University Writing Center
Ph.D., 2005, Rutgers University, EnglishM.A., 1999, State University of New York at Buffalo, EnglishB.A., 1997, Ithaca College, summa cum laude, English

I specialize in the literature and culture of eighteenth-century Britain, sexuality and gender studies, feminist theory, history of pornography, literature of the British slave trade, and literary criticism and theory. My new book What Pornography Knows: Sex and Social Protest since the Eighteenth Century  (Stanford 2022) works with little-known archival texts to trace currents of feminism and social justice in British pornography from the 1740s to the present. (You can hear me talk about it on the podcast Betwixt the Sheets or read my public writing for Aeon.) My first book, Excitable Imaginations: Eroticism and Reading in Britain, 1660-1760 (Bucknell 2012), examined the relationship between sexual representation and discourses on morality, aesthetics, and reading in a broad range of eighteenth-century texts. I'm now working on a book project that asks skeptically if marriage was revered by eighteenth-century writers, as is often alleged, and pieces of that project--on Hester Piozzi's marginalia and on the novel The Woman of Colour--appear in Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature and Studies in Romanticism; and I'm also a volume editor for Nineteenth-Century Pornography: Sources and Materials, forthcoming from Routledge. Other publications include a special issue of The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation on the “The Novel as Theory" and articles in ELHEighteenth-Century FictiondifferencesEighteenth-Century Studies, and The Routledge Companion to Eighteenth-Century Literatures in English. I am also Reviews Editor for the journal Eighteenth-Century Studies, a member of Eighteenth-Century Fiction's Editorial Board, and Chair of the MLA Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century English Forum. I have been awarded research fellowships by the University of Pennsylvania, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and the Walpole, Beinecke, and Chawton House Libraries.


Journal Publications

  • "Marginalia as Feminist Use of the Book: Hester Piozzi's Spectator Annotations." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 41.1 (2022)
  • "The Woman of Colour's Counter-Domesticity." Studies in Romanticism 61.1 (2022), Special Issue on Race, Blackness, and Romanticism
  • “Teaching Eighteenth-Century Black Lives.” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 49 (2020)
  • Co-editor, “The Novel as Theory” special issue. The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 61.2 (2020)
  • “Sexual Intention in Pornography.” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 47 (2018)
  • “Sexual Remembrance in Clarissa.” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 29.2 (2016)
  • “Making Pornography, 1749-1968: The History of The History of the Human Heart.” ELH English Literary History 82 (2015)  
  • “Erotic Interiors in Joseph Addison’s Imagination.” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 20.3 (2008)
  • “Spectacular Sex: Thought and Pleasure in the Encounter with Pornography.” differences 17.2 (2006)
  • “Eliza Haywood’s Amatory Aesthetic.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 39.3 (2006)

Recent Invited Lectures

  • "Hester Piozzi's Feminist Use of the Book." Celebrating Hester Thrale Piozzi, UCLA Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies/University of York Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, September 2021.
  • “Piecing Together Mary Wollstonecraft’s Feminism.” Columbia University, February 2020.
  • “Looking Backward at Eighteenth-Century Pornography.” University of Virginia; Villanova University; University of Colorado Boulder; Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies at York University. February 2018-February 2020.
  • “Eighteenth-Century Sex Toys and the Prehistory of Transgender.” Ithaca College, October 2019.
  • “Eighteenth-Century Dildo Theory.” New York University, November 2018.
  • “Eighteenth-Century Pornography (and What the Victorians Did to It).” Yale University, March 2017.

Select Recent Conference Papers

  • "Trans Pornography; or, Detachable Genitals in the Eighteenth Century." American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Baltimore, MD, 2022 (forthcoming).
  • “Genital Property.” International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Edinburgh, UK, 2019.
  • “Eighteenth-Century Pulp.” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Denver, CO, March 2019.
  • “The Woman of Colour, White Women, and the Eclipse of Feminist Politics.” Society for Novel Studies, June 2018; American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, March 2018.
  • “How Pornography Became Erotic.” Modern Language Association, Austin, TX, January 2016.
  • “Hester Thrale Piozzi’s Dialogic Historiography.” Aphra Behn Society, Summit, NJ, November 2015.

Recent Panels Chaired

  • “Adolescent Girls.” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, March 2020.
  • “Anti-Marriage Plots in the Eighteenth Century.” Modern Language Association, January 2017.
  • “Whither the Subject in Eighteenth-Century Studies?” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, April 2016.
  • “The Novel as Theory.” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, March 2014.


  • English 3280: Early English Feminisms
  • English 3290: Special Topics: Eighteenth-Century Black Lives
  • English 3220: The Eighteenth-Century Novel
  • English 3270: Eighteenth-Century British Poetry
  • English 4991: Cultures of Sexuality in the Eighteenth Century
  • English 3570: Women and Literature: What and Who are Women?
  • English 2200: Reading and Writing as an English Major
  • English 2050: Freshman Seminar in English


  • English 140: Topics in Theory: Gender, Sexuality, Pornography
  • English 430: Early English Feminisms
  • English 440: The Eighteenth Century and the History of Sexuality
  • English 450: Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa
  • English 450: Eighteenth-Century Black Lives
  • English 855: Theory of the Novel
  • English 885: A History of Pornography, Aretino to the Internet
  • English 975: The Dissertation Workshop