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. 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 am beginning a new 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--are recently out in Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature and Studies in Romanticism, respectively. My publications also include a co-edited special issue of The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation on the “The Novel as Theory" and articles in ELHEighteenth-Century FictiondifferencesEighteenth-Century Studies, and Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture. Recently appointed Book Review Editor for the journal Eighteenth-Century Studies, I am also a member of Eighteenth-Century Fiction's Editorial Board and of the Executive Committee of the MLA Forum in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century English. I have been awarded research fellowships by the University of Pennsylvania and by 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 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