Curriculum Vitae


A.B. Amherst College, 1970
Ph.D. Rutgers University, 1975 diss.
“Critical Worlds,” directed by Paul Fussell


Assistant Professor, Vassar College, 1975-1983
Associate Professor, Vassar College, 1983-1989
Henry Noble MacCracken Professor of English Literature, Vassar College, 1989-

Adminstrative Appointments

Director, Middle States Reaccreditation for Vassar (2007-9)

Director, Vassar Mellon Grant for Teaching with Technology (1997-2001).

Grants and Fellowships

NEH Scholarly Editions Grant, 2012-15

Guggenheim Fellowship, 1992-93

Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, fellow, 1992-93.

NEH Summer Stipend, 1989.

Fulbright Visiting Scholar Grant, 1988: co-author, with Jeff Opland, of a successful grant to bring David Livingston Yali-Manisi, a Xhosa oral poet, to Vassar for a term to assist in the technology of writing program.

Vassar Mellon Grant to study Sanskrit, 1988-91.

Alfred P. Sloan Grant, 1985-89: director of the “Technology of Writing Program,” which was dedicated to examining the hypothesis that writing is conditioned by the technologies used to produce it.

ACLS Grant-in-Aid, 1981: for research on Johnson’s Dictionary and the Language of Learning.

New College, Oxford, elected member of the SCR, 1980-81.

NEH Summer Stipend, 1980: for research on Johnson’s Dictionary and the Language of Learning.

Other Professional Activity and Honors

International Executive Committee, IAUPE, 2016-

Executive Committee, NEASECS, 2012-17

Executive Committee, MLA Group on Lexicography and Bibliography, 2012-17

Editorial Board, Textus, 2009-

President, Samuel Johnson Society of Southern California, 2008

General Editor and Chair of the Editorial Board, Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson, 2007-

Christian Gauss Award Selection Committee, 2007-

Elected member of the International Association of University Professors of English, 2004-

Editor, Johnsonian News Letter, 2002-

Board of Managers, Oakwood Friends School, 2001-

Advisory Board, Amherst College, Friends of the Library, 2001-

Editorial Board, Age of Johnson, 2000- Reader for Mellon Post-graduate Awards in the Humanities (Woodrow Wilson Foundation), 1996-2005

Editorial Board, Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson, 1995-

Reader for 1994 NEH Summer Stipends Elected member of the Johnsonians, 1991- (president, 2004)

Co-organizer, with Rachel Kitzinger and Jeff Opland, of “Transformations of the Word,” an international conference on the technology of writing, May 29-June 2, 1987.

Executive producer, Praise Poetry in America, a film about a Xhosa oral poet’s visit to America (1988).

Publications and Works under Contract

Critical Books

British Literature 1640-1789: Keywords (forthcoming 2018)

Samuel Johnson and the Life of Reading. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.

The Life of Samuel Johnson. Oxford: Blackwell, 1993.

Johnson’s Dictionary and the Language of Learning. Chapel Hill and Oxford: University of North Carolina Press and the Clarendon Press, 1986.


Johnson on Demand: reviews, prefaces, proposals and dedications. Ed, with O M Brack, Jr. Vol. XX of the Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson. 2018, projected.

The Yale Anthology of the Works of Samuel Johnson. Ed., with Howard

Weinbrot and Steve Fix. Yale University Press. 2017, projected.

Biographical Writings: Soldiers, Scholars, and Friends. Ed, with O M Brack, Jr. Vol. XIX of the Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson. 2016

The Yale Digital Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson. Ed. Yale University Press, 2014.

The Blackwell Guide to British Literature. 4 vols. Ed., with Heesok Chang and Samantha Zacher. Blackwell/Wiley, 2014.

A Catalogue of Choice Books by Michael Johnson. Samuel Johnson Society ofSouthern California, 2008.

“Johnson’s Considerations,” facsimile edition with an introduction (with O M Brack, Jr.), forthcoming.

Classical Literature and Its Reception: An Anthology (with Robert Brown). Blackwell, 2007.

Textus: English Studies in Italy, vol. 19, with Giovanni Iamartino (2006).

Johnson on the English Language, Volume XVIII in The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson (with Gwin Kolb), 2005.

The Johnsonian News Letter, vol. 54, no. 1-vol. 58, no. 2 (September 2003-Sepember 2007).

Adam Smith Reviews Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language. The Johnsonians, 2005.

The Vision of Theodore, the Hermit of Teneriffe. The Typophiles, 2005

British Literature 1640-1789: An Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996. 2d edn, 2001. 3rd Edition, in press, 2008.

Gulliver’s Travels. Penguin Books, 2001. 2nd Edition, 2003.

A New Preface by Samuel Johnson (with O.M. Brack). Tempe, Arizona, 2001.

On the Character and Duty of an Academick (New York: The Johnsonians, 2000).

British Literature 1640-1789: A Critical Reader. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999.

Transformations of the Word, a special double issue of Language and Communication (with Rachel Kitzinger). Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1989.


“Fraudulence and Savagery in Three Eighteenth-Century British Writers,” Il  Conforto Letterario, ed. Lia Guerra (2016), pp. 37-55.

“Johnson and the Teutonic Roots of English.” The Harp and the Constitution, ed. Joanne Parker, Brill 2015, pp. 47-65.

“Careful and Careless: Epic tales in the Editing of Dr Johnson,” Times  Literary Supplement, 6 March 2015, pp. 14-15.

Samuel Johnson’s Editorial Lexicography,” Dictionaries, 35 (2014), 146-61.

 “Publishing Johnson’s Works: The First Two Hundred Years,” Tercentenary Essays on Samuel Johnson, ed. Howard Weinbrot, Huntington Library, 2014: 343-66.

“Johnson on Barbarism and Corruption in the Works of Ascham (1761), with Robert Brown, Johnsonian News Letter LXIV, No. 2 (September 2013), pp. 17-23

“Samuel Parr’s Epitaph for Johnson, His Library, and His Unwritten Biography,” Editing Lives: Essays in Contemporary Textual and Biographical Studies in Honor of OM Brack, Jr., ed. Jesse Swann. Bucknell University Press, 2013: 67-92.

“Your Humble Servant: Real Letters from Real Servants in the Eighteenth Century.” Age of Johnson, 22 (2012): 191-206.

“Johnson and Change.” In Johnson’s Pendulum. Ed. Lynda Mugglestone and Freya Johnstone. Oxford University Press, 2012: 24-36.

“Book Collecting in America, 1945-2000” in The History of the Book in America, vol. 5 (University of North Carolina Press, 2009), pp. 472-84.

“Samuel Johnson and the Saxonic Shakespeare,” in Comparative Excellence: New Studies in Shakespeare and Johnson, ed. Aaron Santesso (New York: AMS Press, 2006), 24-45.

“North and South in Johnson’s Dictionary.” Textus, vol. 19 (2006), pp. 11-32.

“Johnson’s Ex Tempore History and Grammar of English” in New Perspectives on Johnson’s Dictionary, ed. Jack Lynch and Anne MacDermott (Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 77-91.

“The Gove-Liebert File of Quotations from Johnson’s Dictionary,” Johnsonian News Letter, LVI (March, 2005), pp. 28-30.

“Periodical Literature,” in the New Cambridge History of English Literature. Ed. John Richetti (Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 527-48.

“Richard Bathurst,” “Robert Levet,” “George Psalmanazar.” Articles for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004).

“Johnson, Johnsonians, and ‘Cooperative Enterprise.'” Johnsonian News Letter, LV, No. 1 (March, 2004), pp. 20-29.

“‘Beneath this Marble’ a Johnsonian Epitaph” (with Gordon Williams). Johnsonian News Letter, LV, No. 1 (March, 2004), pp.42-45.

“Samuel Johnson in Post-revolutionary France” (with Paul Fenouillet), Johnsonian News Letter, vol. LIV, no. 1 (September, 2003), pp. 43-48.

“Samuel Johnson at Vassar,” Johnsonian News Letter, vol. LIV, no. 1 (September, 2003), pp. 38-42.

“‘Some Remarks on the Progress of Learning’: another Preface by Samuel Johnson?” New Rambler, No. E VI (2002-03), pp. 61-74.

“‘Evil be thou my Good’: Scholarly Commentary and the Pleasure of Reading,” TEXT12 (1999), 91-100.

“Joseph Emerson Worcester,” New Dictionary of American Biography, vol. 23. Oxford University Press, 1999: pp. 869-71.

(With Gwin Kolb) “Dr Johnson’s Etymology of Gibberish.” Notes and Queries (March 1998), 72-4.

“Johnson’s Dictionary and Dictionary Johnson,” Yearbook of English Studies, 28 (1998), 19-43.

“Johnson’s Dictionary.” In The Cambridge Companion to Samuel Johnson. Ed. Gregory Clingham. Cambridge University Press, 1997. 85-101.

(With Gwin Kolb) “Thomas Warton’s Observations on the ‘Faerie Queene’ of Spenser, Samuel Johnson’s ‘History of the English Language,’ and Warton’s History of English Poetry: Reciprocal Indebtedness? Philological Quarterly, 74 (1995), pp. 327-35.

(With Gwin Kolb) “The Preliminaries to Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary: Authorial Revisions and the Establishment of the Texts.” Studies in Bibliography, 48 (1995), 121-34.

“Latter-Day Humanists and the Pastness of the Past.” Common Knowledge 3 (1993), 67-76.

“Samuel Johnson and the Reading Revolution.” Eighteenth-Century Life, 16 (1992), 86-102.

“Johnson’s Dictionary and the ‘Teutonick’ Roots of English.” In Language and Civilization, ed. Claudia Bank (Berne: Peter Lang, 1992), pp. 20-36.

“The Politics of Johnson’s Dictionary.” PMLA 104 (1989), 64-74.

“The Theory of Language in Johnson’s Dictionary.” In Johnson after Two Hundred Years, edited by Paul Korshin (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1986), pp. 159-74.

“Johnson’s Form of Evaluation.” Studies in English Literature, 19 (1979), 501-14.

“`The Thinker as Reader’: The Figure of the Reader in the Writing of Wallace Stevens.” Genre, 12 (1979), 243-68.

“The Ideal Reader: A Critical Fiction.” PMLA 93 (1978), 463-74. Translated by Nadezda Vukovik for Leptopis Matitse Srpske (Belgrade), February 1979, pp. 247-64.

“Coleridgean Names.” JEGP 77 (1978), 343-55.

“The Dramatic Form of Dryden’s Literary Criticism.” The Academic Quarterly, 5, No. 2 (1977), 65-80.

Selected Reviews

Jack Lynch, You Could Look It Up, Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America, 37 (2016), 185-88.

“E if for Explanation,” Times Literary Supplement, March 12, 2016.

“The London Effect,” Times Literary Supplement, February 17, 2016.

“The Simple Urge to Correct”: Richard Bentley: Poetry and Enlightenment, Kristine Louise Haugen, Eighteenth-Century Life 37 (2013): 125-28.

Conversing with Antiquity: English Poets and the Classics from Shakespeare to Pope,“ David Hopkins, Age of Johnson 22 (2012): 344-46.

“Samuel Johnson: The Struggle,” Jeffrey Meyers. Johnsonian News Letter, LX, 1 (March 2009), pp. 57-61.

“The Augustan Art of Poetry,” forthcoming in the International Journal of the Classical Tradition.

“The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets,” Johnsonian News Letter, LVIII, 1 (March 2007), pp. 41-45.

“Johnson, Writing, Memory, Greg Clingham,” Johnsonian News Letter, LV, 1 (March 2004), pp. 56-58.

“A Bibliography of the Works of Samuel Johnson, Treating his Published Works from the Beginnings to 1984, ” J. D. Fleeman, JEGP, 101 (2002), 142-45

“Samuel Johnson and the Culture of Property,” Kevin Hart. Age of Johnson, 13 (2001).

“The Evolution of English Prose, 1700-1800,” Carey McIntosh, JEGP, 100 (2001).

“Samuel Johnson: the Life of an Author,” Lawrence Lipking, Modern Philology, (2001).

“Selected Poems of Leopardi, trans. Eamon Grennan,” Italiana Americana, 17 (1999), 227-8.

“Fiabe, Giovanni Melli,” Italiana Americana.

“Sir William Jones, Selected Works,” EECB (1997)

“Gentlemen and Scholars,” JEGP (1997)

“The Making of Johnson’s Dictionary 1746-1773,”Modern Philology, 90 (1992).

“Reading in America.” Nineteenth-Century Prose, 17 (1990), 73-78.

“Forgotten Lexicographers.” Modern Philology, 85 (1987), 204-206.

Selected Lectures

“Johnson and Religious Melancholy,” Halle University, Germany, May 26, 2017


“Johnson on Demand,” the Thrale Lecture, London, December 12, 2016


“Johnson’s Life of Shakespeare,” Pembroke College, Oxford, August 9, 2015.

“Fraudulence and Savagery in Three Eighteenth-Century British Writers,”

Università degli Studi di Pavia, November 23, 2015.


“Digitizing the Works of Samuel Johnson,” University of Bergamo,

November 25, 2015

“Samuel Johnson’s Melancholy of Body, Mind, and Soul,” University of

Milan, conference on “Writing the Body in Eighteenth-Century British

Literature,” December 3, 2015

“Anthologizing British Literature 1640-1789,” Otago University, Dunedin,

New Zealand, March 4, 2016

“The Digital Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson,” Otago University,

Dunedin, New Zealand, March 6, 2016


“Editing the Works of Samuel Johnson,” at Dr. Johnson’s House, London, November 19, 2014.


“Digitizing English Literature: The Works of Samuel Johnson (and others) in Bits and Bytes,” University of Padua, November 5, 2014.


“John Milton, Paradise Lost, and Metaphysical Poetry,” Freiburg University, December 2, 2014.


Johnson’s Lives of the Philosophers,” Interdisciplinary Centre for European Enlightenment Studies, University of Halle, Germany, June 2, 2014.


“The History of Editions of Samuel Johnson’s Works,” The George Winship Lecture, Houghton Library, Harvard University, October 25, 2012


“Publishing Johnson’s Works: The First Two Hundred Years,”

Huntington Library, September 9, 2011.


“Samuel Johnson and Religious Melancholy,” King’s College, London,

May 20, 2011.


“Samuel Johnson’s Italian Learning,” University of Milan, September 30,

2009; and University of Wisconsin, Madison, April 17, 2010.


“Samuel Johnson and Change,” Pembroke College (Oxford), September 16,


“The Life of Johnson and Johnson’s Lives,” University of Barcelona, March13, 2008.


“Johnson, Boswell, Plutarch and Biography in the Late Eighteenth Century,” International Association of University Professors of English, Lund, Sweden, August 6, 2007.

“Johnson and the Prince of Classical Biographers,” Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University, January 29, 2006

“The Rationale of the Copy Text,” panel presentation at ASECS in Montreal, March 29, 2006

“Johnson and the Teutonick Roots of English,” Bristol University, January 15, 2005.

“North and South in Johnson’s Dictionary” (short version) South-Eastern Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies, St. Simon’s Island, Ga, February 26, 2005.

“North and South in Johnson’s Dictionary” (full length) University of Milan, April 15, 2005.

“Johnson’s Dictionary and Dictionary Johnson,” University of Florence, April 12, 2005.

“Johnson’s Ex Tempore Grammar of English,” University of Bologna, April 6, 2005.

“Johnson and the Gothic Shakespeare,” University of Nevada at Reno, April 30, 2005.

“Who Asked Samuel Johnson to Write the Dictionary and Why?” Northwestern University, May 2004; University College, London, October 2003.

“Samuel Johnson and ‘Cooperative Enterprise,'” Houghton Library, Harvard University, September, 2003.

“Johnson’s Ex Tempore History and Grammar of the English Language,” Los Angeles, August, 2003.

“The Booksellers Society for the Promotion of Learning.” New York, September, 2002

“Publishers, Poets, and Johnson’s Plan of a Dictionary of the English Language.” Colorado Springs, April 8, 2002.

Gulliver’s Travels: Truth, Lies, and the Printed Page,” New Canaan, January 17, 2002

“Samuel Johnson,” SUNY, New Paltz, October 24, 2001

“Lying and Literature in the Eighteenth Century: Psalmanazar, Swift, and Johnson,” Amherst College for the Friends of the Library, May 5, 2000.

“Styles of Authorship in Johnson and Swift,” Columbia University, September 9, 1999

“Samuel Johnson,” Amherst College, December 4, 1998.

“‘Evil be thou my good’: Confessions of an Editor,” MLA Conference, Committee on Scholarly Editing, 1997.

“Johnson’s Dictionary and Dictionary Johnson,” University of Birmingham (UK), September 18, 1997.

Guest faculty, Institutions of Enlightenment: The Invention of the Public Sphere, NEH institute at Stanford University, July 17-20, 1995.

“The Talons of a Scholar: How Johnson Grappled with his Books,” Rowfant Club, March 22, 1995.

“Johnson’s Dictionary and Dictionary Johnson,” Blum Memorial Lecture, Samuel Johnson Society of Southern California, December 10, 1994.

“Johnson’s Life of Reading,” Curtis Lecture, Vassar College, 1992 (Also given in Los Angeles and Monterrey, California)

“The Politics of Johnson’s Dictionary.” Princeton University, European Cultural Studies Program, April 1988.

“Johnson’s Dictionary and the Philosophy of Language.” Pembroke College Conference on the Bicentennial of Johnson’s Death, June 1984.

College Activity

Selected Teaching Assignments

Eighteenth-century British Literature; Old English; Old Icelandic; The English Language; Milton; British Literature from Beowulf to Wollstonecraft; History of Literary Criticism; An Introduction to Scientific Inquiry for Students of the Humanities (team taught); Transformations of the Word (team taught); Forms of Poetry; The Book as Medium (team taught); The Classical Tradition in British Poetry (team taught)

Selected Committee Assignments

Search committees: Head of Library, Special Collections Director, Dean of Faculty, Head of CIS, President of the College; Academic Panel (lead writer of Originality and Attribution); Library Committee (numerous years; chair, 2003-4); Housing Committee (chair, 2000); Committee on Committees (chair, 1999); Library construction committee (1999-2001); Library 2000 committee (1993-94); Dean’s Cabinet (2005-7); Learning and Teaching Center Review committee, 2006 (chair); Assessment Committee (chair, 2003-4); Media Studies Development committee and Media Studies steering committee (2000- ); Recording secretary of the faculty (1983-86); House Fellow (1983-86); Sloan Grant advisory committee and director of the humanities portion of the grant (1983-88); College Course steering committee; computer committee; master planning committee.

Departmental Service

Chair, 1987-90, 2001-07; numerous search committee both as chair and not: by my count, I was chair or chair of the search committee responsible for hiring twenty present members of the department and several more who have departed for various reasons.