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Amelia S. Worsley

Assistant Professor of English

Departmental affiliation: English

Professional and Biographical Information


Ph.D., Princeton University (2014)

M.A., Brown University (2008)

B.A., University of Cambridge, UK (2006)

Teaching Interests

I specialize in literature written in Britain from 1660-1830, with a particular emphasis on poetry.

I currently teach two classes on British Romantic literature, "Nature and the Imagination" and "Solitude and the Self in British Romanticism."

Making connections between British literature written in the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries is central to my research. This is reflected in my classes on "Early Women Writers" and "Making Literary Histories II: Milton to Wordsworth."

In “Reading Poetry” and "Close Reading," we focus on the tools and methods needed to engage with the history of anglophone poetry more broadly.

Research Interests

My current book project, Loneliness: The Story of a State of Mind, charts the development of the concept of loneliness--a new term in the seventeenth century--from Romance to Romantic texts. Loneliness is different from solitude, because it describes an experience that can take place amidst other people, as well as apart from them. The invention of the concept therefore signals a revolution in the history of interiority.

Since loneliness is central to the project of poetic self-fashioning in the early-nineteenth century, the history of this relatively new concept is crucial for British Romanticism.  By uncovering loneliness' origins in the early modern period, I reveal the hidden gender dynamics involved in what it means to be a lonely poet. Though loneliness today is primarily associated with sadness and a longing for sociability, loneliness was first used to describe people in dangerous or vulnerable situations--especially female characters. In readings of the works Shakespeare, Milton, John Dryden, Aphra Behn, Anne Finch, Alexander Pope, Thomas Gray, Charlotte Smith, S. T. Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Percy Shelley and Mary Shelley, I chart the story of how loneliness moved from describing a state of body to a state of mind that poets were able to align with an aesthetic sensibility.


“Ophelia’s Loneliness,” ELH, 82.2 (Spring 2015).

Awards and Honors

Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni Teaching Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching (2013).

Quin Morton Teaching Fellowship, Princeton University (2012-2014).

Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (2011-12).