James Noggle

Professor of English

Interested in 18th-century British literature and culture, literary theory, and Milton.

James Noggle is a professor of English specializing in British literature, thought, and culture of the long eighteenth century. He has taught at Wellesley College since 1995. He was born and raised in San Jose, California, where he graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School, and has a B.A. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

His most recent book is Unfelt: The Language of Affect in the British Enlightenment (Cornell UP, 2020). His other scholarly monographs include The Temporality of Taste in Eighteenth-Century British Writing (Oxford UP, 2012) and The Skeptical Sublime: Aesthetic Ideology in Pope and the Tory Satirists (Oxford UP, 2001). In support of research for these books, he received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2014-15), the American Philosophical Society (2005-6), and the American Council of Learned Societies (1998-99). He also is an editor of the Norton Anthology of English Literature (2005-). His current book project, titled Magic Letters, discovers the surprising origins of our current understanding of the concept "literature" in the eighteenth century.


  • B.A., Columbia University
  • Ph.D., University of California (Berkeley)

Current and upcoming courses

  • Fantasy, romance, “true” crime, experimental absurdity, Gothic-early English fiction originates narrative types that energize the novel throughout its history as literature's most popular form. This course begins with Aphra Behn's romance, Oroonoko, set in a South American slavery colony, and Daniel Defoe's tale of a pickpocket and sex worker, Moll Flanders. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift has captivated a world readership with its vertiginous mix of fantasy and satire. Henry Fielding laughs at his readers' class and gender anxieties in Joseph Andrews, while Horace Walpole invents a whole new fictional sensibility with the first Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto. The course concludes with a parody of storytelling itself, Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy, and Frances Burney's Evelina, which anticipates the courtship comedy of Austen and the humorous characterization of Dickens.