Melissa M. Rampelli


Assistant Professor

PhD, English Literature, St. John’s University
MA, English Literature, St. John’s University
MAT, Secondary English Education, Brown University
BA, English Literature, Skidmore College

Courses Taught

Senior Seminar
Junior Seminar
Women and Literature
British Literature I
British Literature II
American Literature II
Writing I
Writing II

Teaching Focus/Philosophy

As a teacher of undergraduates, my goals are for students to develop creative, critical thinking skills, make interdisciplinary connections, take risks in their arguments, and feel empowered to articulate their own positions within historical and political discourse. I see it as my role to help scaffold and facilitate this process.

Recent Presentations/Publications

Papers Delivered

2019: “Author as Medical Practitioner: Rewriting Narratives of Pathology and Cure in Middlemarch,” International Society for the Study of Narrative, Pamplona, Spain, May 30- June 1.

2019: “The Portrait Miniature Versus the Curative Power of Marriage in George Eliot’s Middlemarch,” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies, Dallas, TX, March 21-24.

2017: “The Androgynous Mind and Material Feminism in Woolf’s To the Lighthouse,” Northeast Modern Language Association, Baltimore, MD, March 23- 26.

2016: “Sympathy Revisited: Middlemarch and the Figure of the Hysteric,” North American Victorian Studies Association, Phoenix, AZ, November 2- 5.

2015: “From Poet to ‘Physician’: A Medical Reading of Elizabeth Carter’s Poems and Letters,” Northeast Modern Language Association, Toronto, ON, April 30- May 3.

2015: “Wicked Wills and Tainted Genes: The Hysteric and Cultural Degeneration in Hardy’s The Woodlanders,” Northeast Modern Language Association, Toronto, Ontario. April 30- May 3.

2015: “Wandering Womb and Wandering Woman: Incapacitated Senses and Female Publicity in Dickens’s Bleak House,” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies, Atlanta, GA, April 16-19.

2015: “The Figure of the Hysteric and the Cult of Sensibility: Wollstonecraft and Austen.” Temple University British Literature Group, Philadelphia, PA, April 2.

2014: “The Form of Fits: Hysteria and the One-Sex Model in Swift’s Gender Politics,” Northeast Modern Language Association, Harrisburg, PA, April 3- 6.

2013: “‘you chained me to one spot, one hour, one chair’: Queering Colonized Female Subjectivity in Woolf’s The Waves,” 23 rd Annual Virginia Woolf Conference, Vancouver, BC, June 6-9.


Review. [Harris, Jocelyn. Satire, Celebrity, and Politics in Jane Austen], Eighteenth-Century Fiction, 31.2 (Winter 2018-19): 471-74.

Review. [Wright, Erika. Reading for Health: Medical Narratives and the Nineteenth-Century Novel], Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 39.3 (April 2017): 242-44.

Additional Info

Current Research

My research and teaching interests include: nineteenth-century British literature, culture, and philosophy; the history of medicine; sexuality and gender studies; and novel studies. My current book project examines how nineteenth-century British novelists—namely Austen, Dickens, Eliot, and Hardy—narrativize the mind-body relationship to forward new models for women’s subjectivity and new definitions for women’s health. I argue that reading the novels’ mind-body models through the lens of nineteenth-century hysteria discourse and feminist thought as well as today’s material feminist theory helps to make legible the novelists’ gender politics.

Melissa M. Rampelli
Office: HFH 302
Phone: 267-341-3655