Kenneth Richard Johnston

Kenneth Richard Johnston

Ruth N. Halls Professor Emeritus, English

  • Ballantine Hall 442
  • Office Hours
    By Appointment Only


  • Ph.D., Yale University, 1966
  • M.A., Yale University, 1962
  • M.A., University of Chicago Divinity School, 1961
  • B.A., Augustana College, IL, 1959


After spending most of my career studying Wordsworth, I have in recent years branched out into the British 1790s more generally, with particular interest in the tension between literature and politics, both the French Revolution and the English parliamentary reform movement.

Journal Articles and Other Publications

Romantic Revolutions: Theory & Criticism, ed. and contrib. (with G. Chaitin, K. Hanson, and H. Marks), Indiana University Press, 1990.

The Age of William Wordsworth: Critical Essays in Romantic Tradition, ed. (with Gene W. Ruoff) and contrib., Rutgers University Press, 1987.

Wordsworth and "The Recluse." Yale University Press, 1984.

Recent Chapters in Collections:

"Encountering the Counterfactual: Lord Byron reads The Prelude," in Counterfactual Romanticism, ed. Damian Walford Davies. University of Manchester Press, forthcoming 2016.

"Usual and Unusual Suspects: John Thelwall, William Godwin and Pitt's Reign of Terror," in John Thelwall: Radical Romantic and Acquitted Felon, ed. Steve Poole. Pickering & Chatto, 2009 (pp. 25-37).

"Whose History? My Place or Yours? Republican Assumptions and Romantic Tradtions," in Romanticism, History, Historicism: Essays on an Orthodoxy, ed. Damian Walford Davies. Routledge, 2009 (pp. 79-102).

"New Historicism," in Romanticism: An Oxford Guide, ed. Nicholas Roe. Oxford U.P., 2005 (pp. 165-181).

"The Political Sciences of Life: From American Pantisocracy to British Romanticism," in Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the Sciences of Life, ed. Nick Roe.  Oxford University Press, 2001.

Recent Essays in Scholarly Journals:

"Wintering Out: John Bugg's Five Long Winters," in Romanticism, Summer 2015.

"Wordsworth's Excursion: Route and Destination," The Wordsworth Circle, Spring 2014.

"Unusual Suspect, Unlikely Hero: A Life in the Reign of Alarm - Francis 'Ornament' Wrangham (1769-1842)," Romanticism 20.3 (2014), 217-232.

"The Unromantic Lives of Others: The Lost Generation of the 1790s," The Wordsworth Circle (2010).

"The First and Last British Convention," Romanticism 13.2 (Spring 2007), 99-132.

Extra-Curricular Productions:

The Love Adventures of Mr. George Cochrane (my adaptation of a story by Scottish Romantic writer James Hogg), directed by Lady Judy Steel; 1993 performances at Dumfries, Moffat, Bowhill Theater (Peebles), Scottish Borders Festival, Netherbow Theater (Edinburgh); reviews in The Scotsman, Southern Reporter, Scots Independent. Production revived, Spring 2004.

Edited Works:

The Cool World of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, by Paul M. Zall [30 biographical essays published in The Wordsworth Circle, 1970-1984]. Special issue of The Wordsworth Circle, Summer 2014.

Searching for Cioran, by Ilinca Zarifopol-Johnston. Indiana University Press, 2009. 274 pp. [Edited completion of book my late wife was working on at the time of her death.] (Rev. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, January 2009; Costica Bradatan, TLS, Oct. 2009; Thomas Pavel, London Review of Books, April 2010.)

Selected Honors and Awards:
  • Distinguished Scholar, Keats-Shelley Association of America, 2016
  • FIRST faculty, U. of Colorado, Boulder, 2009
  • Honorary Senior Research Fellow, University of Glasgow, 2005-08
  • Cox Family Visiting Scholar, Center for Arts & Humanities, University of Colorado, 2003
  • Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities, University of Edinburgh, 1998
  • Distinguished Teaching Award, Amoco Foundation, Indiana University, 1973
  • Mellon Foundation Emeritus Fellow (UK), 2006-07, 2009-11
  • Distinguished Fulbright Fellow (UK), 2005-06
  • Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 1991-92
  • NEH Fellowship for Independent Study, 1979-80, 1985-86