Cynthia Richards, Ph.D.

Cynthia Richards Richard P. Veler Endowed Chair in English
Professor of English
Department Chair
(937) 327-7053
Hollenbeck Hall 122


Dr. Richards fell in love with literature during a seminar on John Keats her first semester at Brown University, where she earned her B.A. in 1984, and although she redirected her passions toward eighteenth-century literature during her graduate days at New York University (Ph.D 1996) she has remained a committed teacher and scholar ever since. Her teaching interests include eighteenth-century literature, the woman writer, war, romance, and how the study of all of the above intersects with living a meaningful life. A Fulbright Scholar, she is co-editor of Approaches to Teaching Behn's Oroonoko and editor of Mary Wollstonecraft's The Wrong of Woman paired with William Godwin's Memoirs of Wollstonecraft's life. Widely published, Dr. Richards is also a contributing editor for The Scriblerian

Notable Accomplishments

  • Richard P. Veler Endowed Chair in English, 2021-2026
  • Project Lead, NEH Grant Proposal, "The Healing Humanities: Creating Health Pathways on Campus and in the Community," Spring 2023
  • Editorial Board, Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, 2022-2025
  • Award for Faculty Excellence, Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education, 2021 & 2018
  • Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award, 2021
  • Excellence in Community Service Award, Wittenberg University, 2021
  • Collegium Award for Excellence and Innovation, Wittenberg University, 2018
  • Lawrence Ruff Visiting Chair in Eighteenth-Century Studies, University of Dayton, Spring 2016
  • Woman of the Year, Wittenberg University, 2014 and 2015
  • Edith B. and Frank C. Matthies Teaching Award, Wittenberg University, 2014
  • Fulbright Alumni Ambassador, 2009-2010
  • Fulbright Scholar, 2004-2005, Czech Republic
  • American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Innovative Teaching Award, 2002 (Transatlantic Connections)
  • Omicron Delta Kappa Excellence in Teaching Award 2000

Courses Taught (selected)

  • Narrative Medicine
  • Theorizing Tristram Shandy
  • Editing the Classics: Topics in Advanced Composition
  • Making Romance: Themes and Traditions in Literature
  • English 101E: Memory, Memorial and Restitution
  • Private Matters, Social Networks: Reading the Eighteenth Century in a Digital Age
  • Bad Girls: From Eve to Mary Wollstonecraft (Women and Literature I)
  • Love and War in the Eighteenth Century
  • Transatlantic Connections: Studies in the Eighteenth Century
  • Literary Form and Interpretation: The Language of Love and Loss
  • British Literary Genealogies: Inventing the Self
  • Honors Seminar: The Darkness Within


  • Ph.D. New York University 1996
  • B.A. Brown University 1984

Research Interests

  • Narrative Medicine (Narrative-Based Medicine Digital Certification, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, 2023)
  • Eighteenth-Century Literature
  • Women and Gender Studies
  • Aphra Behn
  • Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Trauma Theory
  • Disability Studies
  • Pedagogy

Selected Publications

  • Co-Editor (with Erin Peters), Early Modern Trauma: Europe and the Atlantic World (University of Nebraska Press, August 2021).
  • "Imperfect Enjoyments and Female Disappointments: Understanding Trauma in Aphra Behn’s ‘The Disappointment’ and Oroonoko," University of Nebraska Press, August 2021. 
  • "Belatedness in the Eighteenth Century and What to Do about It," Literature Compass, Winter 2021. 
  • "Living Memory, Embodied Experience, and What Gets Lost in Alexander Pope’s ‘Rape of the Lock,’" English Language Notes, (special issue on memory), Fall 2020. 
  • "Teasing Out Desire: Eliza Haywood, the Novel, and Early Women Writer’s Course," Approaches to Teaching the Works of Eliza Haywood, ed, Tiffany Potter, New York: MLA, 2020.  
  • "Reflections: The Body in the Body of My Work," Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Summer 2019.
  • "History without Trauma: Recovering Loss in the Eighteenth Century," The Future of Feminist Eighteenth Century Scholarship: Beyond Recovery, New York: Routledge, 2017.
  • "Wit at War: The Poetry of John Wilmot and the Trauma of War," Eighteenth-Century Fiction (Fall 2014).
  • "Anger and the Liberated Girl," Mary Wollstonecraft: Interpretations and Reflections, ed. Michaela Mudure. (Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Napoca Star Publishing, 2014).
  • Co-Editor (with Mary Ann O'Donnell), Approaches to Teaching Behn's Oroonoko, (New York: MLA, 2013).
  • "Transatlantic Crossings: Teaching Oroonoko with The Widow Ranter," Approaches to Teaching Behn's Oroonoko, MLA World Literature Teaching Series (New York: MLA, 2013).
  • "Interrogating Oroonoko: Torture in Oroonoko and a Fiction of Power," Eighteenth-Century Fiction (Summer 2013).
  • "To Whom Does the New World Belong? Teaching The Widow Ranter in a Transatlantic Context," Approaches to Teaching British Women Playwrights of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century, MLA World Literature Teaching Series (New York: MLA, 2010).
  • "The Body of Her Work, The Work of Her Body: Accounting for the Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft," Eighteenth-Century Fiction (Summer 2009).
  • "Romancing the Sublime; Why Mary Wollstonecraft fell in love with that cad Gilbert Imlay," Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature (Spring 2006).
  • Editor, The Wrongs of Woman; or Maria and Memoirs of the Authors of "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman," with introduction, notes, inter-text essays, appendices (Glen Allen, VA: College Publishing, 2003).
  • "Revising History, 'Dumbing Down,' and Imposing Silence: Understanding the Later Career of Mary Hays," Eighteenth-Century Women 3 (November 2003).
  • "Fair Trade: The Language of Love and Commerce in Mary Wollstonecraft's Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark," Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 30 (Spring 2000).
  • "The 'Pleasures of Complicity': Sympathetic Identification and the Female Reader in Early Eighteenth-Century Amatory Fiction," The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation (Fall 1995).
  • "Sylvia: The Unintended Female Reader in Aphra Behn's Love-Letters between a Nobleman and His Sister," Michigan Feminist Studies (Spring 1995).

Selected Articles, Interviews, and Web Publications (solicited and/or editorial board reviewed)

  • "The Duty to Teach and Restore Bodily Autonomy," Intersections, Spring 2023. 
  • "The Public Service of Higher Education: What I Learned from Running for State Representative," Inside Higher Education, (August 2021).

Books in Progress

  • The Body, Trauma, and War, 1667-1798, (monograph), first option, University of Nebraska Press.
  • Literature as Clinic: Patient Narratives of the Eighteenth Century, co-edited collection with Lilith Todd, preliminary stages.

Recent Academic Presentations

  • "Making the Athletic Body a Healthy Body: Transdisciplinary Collaborations between Health Humanities, Disability Studies, and College Athletic Programs," Creating Space: Canada’s Annual Health Humanities Conference, Quebec City, Quebec, April 2023. 
  • "The Walking Cure: Trauma as Treatment in James Boswell’s Tour of the Hebrides," American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, St. Louis, Missouri, March 2023. 
  • "Trauma in Undergraduate Nursing Students, and the Vocational Spaces of Narrative Medicine," 10th International Health Humanities Consortium Conference (virtual) March 25-27, 2022. 
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