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Richetti, John 1938- (John J. Richetti, John Joseph Richetti)

Richetti, John 1938- (John J. Richetti, John Joseph Richetti)

PERSONAL:

Born November 14, 1938, in New York, NY; son of Miguel and Maria Louisa Richetti; married Frances Ellyn Palminteri, September 14, 1960 (divorced, 1986); married Deirdre Ada Whitaker, August 4, 1987; children: (first marriage) Dion, Noel. Education: St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY, B.A., 1960; Columbia University, M.A., 1961, Ph.D., 1968.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of English, University of Pennsylvania, 3340 Walnut St., Fisher-Bennett Hall, Philadelphia, PA, 19104. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Educator and writer. St. John's University, Jamaica, NY, instructor, 1961-64, assistant professor of English, 1964-65; Columbia University, New York, NY, lecturer, 1967-68, assistant professor of English, 1968-70; Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, associate professor, 1970-75, professor of English, 1975-87; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, began as Leonard Sugarman professor, became A.M. Rosenthal professor, currently A.M. Rosenthal professor emeritus of English, 1987—, chairperson of the Department of English, 1991-95 and 2000-02.

MEMBER:

Modern Language Association of America, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (vice president, 2007-08).

AWARDS, HONORS:

Fulbright fellow, 1965-67; Danforth fellow, 1965-67; Guggenheim fellow, 1971-72; American Council of Learned Societies fellow, 1975-76; National Endowment for the Humanities senior fellow, 1990; Ira Abrams Award for Distinguished Teaching in School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, 2006.

WRITINGS:

Popular Fiction before Richardson: Narrative Patterns, 1700-1739, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1969.

Defoe's Narratives: Situations and Structures, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1975.

Philosophical Writing: Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1983.

Daniel Defoe, Twayne (Boston, MA), 1987.

(Editor) The Columbia History of the British Novel, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1994.

(Editor and author of introduction) The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

(Editor, with Paula R. Backscheider) Popular Fiction by Women, 1660-1730: An Anthology, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

(Editor) Hamlet, Perfection Learning (Logan, IA), 1998.

The English Novel in History, 1700-1780, Routledge (New York, NY), 1999.

(Editor and author of introduction and notes) Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, Penguin (London, England), 2001.

(Editor) Eliza Haywood, The History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2005.

(Editor) The Cambridge History of English Literature, 1660-1780, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2005.

The Life of Daniel Defoe, Blackwell Pub. (Malden, MA), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

In his first book, Popular Fiction before Richardson: Narrative Patterns, 1700-1739, John Richetti surveyed novels of the early eighteenth century. This period is not known for its outstanding literature, and, as Richetti himself noted, "the great bulk of eighteenth-century pre-Richardson popular narrative is largely beyond redemption—morally or aesthetically." A contributor to the Times Literary Supplement called the text an "excellent and intelligent book."

As editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, Richetti "provides an excellent introduction to the field for undergraduates, graduate students, and their teachers," according to Studies in English Literature contributor Robert Markley. The book includes essays from twelve contributors that look to refine the traditional view of the English novel's origins and purposes. Among the many works discussed are writings by Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Jonathon Swift, Henry Fielding, and Laurence Stern. Richetti is also the author of the book's introduction. The Columbia History of the British Novel is another volume edited by Richetti. The contributors to this volume take readers from the birth of the novel in the eighteenth century on through its development in the nineteenth century and eventual maturity in the twentieth century. "The list of contributors … is impressive," noted Michael Irwin, writing in the Review of English studies.

Richetti also served as coeditor with Paula R. Backscheider of Popular Fiction by Women, 1660-1730: An Anthology. Writing in the Review of English Studies, Sarah Prescott noted that the anthology "is evidence that a history of the eighteenth-century novel without reference to the work of women writers is no longer either advisable or plausible." Focusing on the shorter fiction and novellas of successful women writers of the time, the authors include writings that were crucial to the future development of the longer novel of manners and morals. The editors include a wide range of women writers, including Penelope Aubin, Eliza Hayood, Mary Davys, Elizabeth Singer Rowe, and Aphra Behn, author of the 1688 novella The History of the Nun and considered perhaps the first important English female professional writer. "Despite their variety, the texts reprinted in Popular Fiction by Women, 1660-1730 can be fruitfully read as a coherent collection, with similar themes being raised between different authors," noted Prescott. Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 contributors Donna Landry and Gerald MacLean wrote that "it is particularly useful to have handy Mary Davys's The Reformed Coquet, and few readers will have ever before encountered Elizabeth Singer Rowe's Friendship in Death."

Richetti provides a new look at eighteenth-century Great Britain via the era's novels in his book The English Novel in History, 1700-1780. Looking at both the writings of noted and lesser-known writers, the author examines the social and moral environment of the time through writings such as amatory fictions, criminal narratives, realistic writings, novels fostering a new ideal of domestic life, and novels by women. Writing in CLIO, George E. Haggerty noted that the author "does provide a rich range of perceptive readings of eighteenth-century novels which together constitute a kind of cultural analysis that many readers will find useful." Modern Language Quarterly contributor Bradford Mudge commented: "The English Novel in History, 1700-1780 is every bit what we would expect from a well-known scholar with more than thirty years in the field: richly detailed, broadly conceived, and consistently rewarding."

In The Life of Daniel Defoe, Richetti focuses on the writings of Defoe and places them within the context of the historical record of Defoe's life and opinions. In his detailed commentaries on Defoe's journalism and fiction, the author emphasizes Defoe's distinctive style and rhetoric. The author begins by writing about Defoe's early life as a political dissenter, merchant, and speculator before turning to writing poems and political journalism. Richetti examines the moral, social, and economic writings of Defoe and then provides a detailed analysis of Defoe's most famous novel, Robinson Crusoe. Other topics include Defoe's travel, adventure, and crime writing, including his novel Roxana, which focuses on crime and punishment.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Richetti, John, Popular Fiction before Richardson: Narrative Patterns, 1700-1739, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1969.

PERIODICALS

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, November, 1994, L.J. Clipper, review of The Columbia History of the British Novel, p. 451; April, 1997, review of The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, p. 1333; October, 1997, P. Cullen, review of Popular Fiction by Women, 1660-1730: An Anthology, p. 300; September, 1999, M.H. Kealey, review of The English Novel in History, 1700-1780, p. 147; November, 2005, J.T. Lyneth, review of The Cambridge History of English Literature, 1600-1780, p. 482; May, 2006, H. Benoist, review of The History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy, p. 1598; June, 2006, A.T. Vaver, review of The Life of Daniel Defoe, p. 1828.

CLIO, fall, 1999, George E. Haggerty, review of The English Novel in History, 1700-1780.

Eighteenth-Century Fiction, October, 1995, Jerry C. Beasley, "The History of the Novel Writ Large—and New," p. 73.

Eighteenth Century Life, fall, 2000, Mona Scheuermann, review of Popular Fiction by Women, 1660-1730.

English Studies, February, 2007, Wendy Jones Nakanishi, review of The Cambridge History of English Literature, 1660-1780, p. 115.

History Today, April, 1994, review of The Columbia History of the British Novel, p. 53.

Library Journal, June 15, 1994, Peter Dollard, review of The Columbia History of the British Novel, p. 66; August, 2003, review of The Columbia History of the British Novel, p. 50.

London Review of Books, July 20, 2006, John Mullan, "Restless Daniel," review of The Life of Daniel Defoe, p. 26.

MLN, December, 1999, D.N. Deluna, review of The English Novel in History, 1700-1780, p. 1130.

Modern Language Quarterly, December, 2001, Bradford Mudge, review of The English Novel in History, 1700-1780, p. 461.

Notes and Queries, March, 2000, Sarah Prescott, review of The English Novel in History, 1700-1780, p. 129; March, 2007, Charlotte Livingstone, review of The Life of Daniel Defoe, p. 110.

Reference & Research Book News, June, 1994, review of The Columbia History of the British Novel, p. 47; August, 1999, review of The English Novel in History, 1700-1780, p. 159; May, 2006, review of The Life of Daniel Defoe.

Review of English Studies, August, 1996, Michael Irwin, review of The Columbia History of the British Novel, p. 454; August, 1998, Sarah Prescott, review of Popular Fiction by Women, 1660-1730, p. 331.

School Library Journal, February, 1995, Susan H. Woodcock, review of The Columbia History of the British Novel, p. 137.

Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, summer, 1997, Robert Markley, review of The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, p. 637; summer, 1998, Donna Landry and Gerald MacLean, review of Popular Fiction by Women, 1660-1730, p. 553.

Times Literary Supplement, March 21, 1997, Ros Ballaster, review of Popular Fiction by Women, 1660-1730, p. 8; March 10, 2006, Claude Rawson, "Dots, Crosses and Gaps in a Literary History from Many Hands," review of The Cambridge History of English Literature, 1660-1780, p. 3; September 25, 1969, review of Popular Fiction before Richardson, p. 1105; May 20, 1988, David Trotter, review of Daniel Defoe, p. 551.

ONLINE

University of Pennsylvania Department of English,http://www.english.upenn.edu/ (November 19, 2007), faculty profile of author.

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