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Tabitha Kenlon

Assistant Professor of English

ENGLISH DIVISION

Ph.D., English, Northeastern University, USA
M.A., Text and Performance, King’s College London, England
B.A., English, University of Maryland, College Park, USA
 
Dr. Tabitha Kenlon joined AUD in 2014 after teaching writing at Northeastern University for five years.
 
At AUD, she teaches composition and literature. She advises the Theatre Club and serves on the Reading Across Campus committee. Dr. Kenlon believes in student-centered learning and in bringing literature to life. She sometimes holds class in the auditorium (and always invites students to get on stage and take a bow), and recent classroom activities have included a treasure hunt, walking while blindfolded, and writing tweets in the voice of Frankenstein’s monster.
 
Dr. Kenlon’s research concentrates on eighteenth-century British novels, theatre, and conduct manuals, with particular emphasis on the contributions and concerns of women. She was a Visiting Fellow at Chawton House Library in 2013 and has presented papers at the American Society for Theatre Research and both the American and British Societies for Eighteenth-Century Studies.
 
Dr. Kenlon’s book, Woman As She Should Be: A History of Conduct Books, will be published by Anthem Press next year. It is the first book to analyze the context of specific volumes of advice both within their time of publication and as part of a sustained conversation about guidelines for female behavior. This interdisciplinary work combines textual literary analysis with a social history sensibility, incorporating theories of performativity and gender construction to better understand the centuries-old struggle to first imagine and then create the ideal woman in Britain and America.
 
PUBLICATIONS
Woman As She Should Be: A History of Conduct Books, Anthem Press; forthcoming, 2019
 
“Scold, Punish, Pity or Seduce?: The Confused Rhetoric of Advice to Unmarried Women,” essay for Exploring the Lives of Women 1558-1837 (peer-reviewed edited collection); forthcoming, November 2018
 
“Like a Woman: Gender Confusion in The Merry Wives of Windsor and Who’s the Dupe?,” paper for the Women Writers Project Intertextual Networks research initiative, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (US); second of three blog posts, June 2018
 
Book review of The Speaker’s Chaplain & the Master’s Daughter: A Georgian Family & Friends, by Barry Shurlock, for Journal for Eighteenth Century Studies; vol. 40 (2017)
 
“A Bold Stroke for a Husband, or What You Will: Hannah Cowley’s Interpretation of William Shakespeare,” paper for the Women Writers Project Intertextual Networks research initiative, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (US); first of three blog posts, November 2016
 
“Teaching Hannah Cowley in Dubai,” blog post, Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837,
December 2015
 “Scripts for Life: How Plays, Novels, and Conduct Manuals Created Women in Eighteenth-Century Britain,” peer-reviewed article on Readings, November 2015
 
CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS
“Important Studies in Seduction, or Why Mrs. Cockle Put a Short Story in Her Conduct Manual,” British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, January 2018
 
“Castles in the Air: Gothic Fiction as Travel Writing,” Encounters with Difference conference, Freie Universität Berlin, October 2017
 
“Jane Austen’s Library: Teaching and Studying What Austen Wrote and Read,” British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, January 2017
 
“Cowley’s Will: Questioning Social and Shakespearean Rules in A Bold Stroke for a Husband,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, March 2016
 
“The Virtues of the Gothic: Lessons in Female Comportment from the Gothic Novel,” British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, January 2016
 
“Conduct and Class: The Maintenance of Social Structure within Female Friendships,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, March 2015
 
“The Role of the Wife: Conduct Manuals and the Performance of Marriage,” British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, January 2015
 
“‘Such Perverse Obedience!’: Performing Transgression and Conformity in the Plays of Hannah Cowley,” American Society for Theatre Research, November 2013
 
“She Made a Sign: Performances of Femininity in The Female Quixote,” Southeastern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, February 2013
 
“The Imagined Transvestite: The Sex of Clothes on Shakespeare's Stage,” American Society for Theatre Research, November 2012