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Dr. Thomas  Manganaro
Dr. Thomas Manganaro
Assistant Professor of English

In his research, Thomas Salem Manganaro focuses especially on eighteenth-century and Romantic-era British literature with particular focus on the relations between literature & philosophy, literature & science, intellectual history, and aesthetic theory. He also maintains intellectual and personal interests in the Arab world and its relations to the European Enlightenment as well as to contemporary American culture. He teaches (or is scheduled to teach) a range of courses on topics such as the history of the novel, eighteenth-century literature, animals in literature, Arab-American literature, literature and the environment, and literature and the philosophy of mind.

Manganaro is currently developing a book project entitled Against Better Judgment: Irrational Action and the Making of Literature in the Long Eighteenth Century. The book focuses on cases in literature in which individuals know they ought to do something, and yet fail to get themselves to do it. Philosophy tends to call such instances cases of “akrasia” or “weakness of will,” though they also manifest in literature as indolence or procrastination. The book focuses on the enigmatic qualities of such cases and the ways they thwart the rationalistic explanatory models of eighteenth-century philosophy while also motivating rich experimental writing within literature of the same period.

He has published in journals such as The Eighteenth Century: Theory and InterpretationStudies in RomanticismStudies in Eighteenth-Century CultureNineteenth-Century Contexts, and Configurations.


“Free Indirect Discourse and the Problem of the Will in Two Novels by William Godwin.” 23 pp. Studies in Romanticism vol. 57.2 (Summer 2018).

“Incoherent Intentions and the Need for Narrative.” 5 pp. Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, vol. 47 (2018).

 “Akrasia and the Explanation of Action in Rousseau and Sterne.” 17 pp. The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, vol. 58.1 (Spring 2017).

Daniel M. Stout, Corporate Romanticism: Liberalism, Justice, and the Novel (Fordham UP, 2017). 3 pp. Nineteenth-Century Contexts, vol. 40.5 (2018, forthcoming).

Sean Silver, The Mind Is a Collection: Case Studies in Eighteenth-Century Thought (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015). 4 pp. Configurations, vol. 25.1 (Winter 2017).

Ph.D., Duke University 2016
A.B., University of Chicago 2009
Contact Information
313 Ryland Hall
(804) 289-8289
Areas of Expertise
18th-century and Romantic literature
Literature in relation to intellectual history and ethics
Literature and science
The novel
Arab-American literature and culture