Through the generosity of the Brown Foundation, the Armstrong Browning Library is pleased to house an academic chair at Baylor University for a scholar-in-residence in Browning studies or Victorian literature and culture. The current holder of The Margarett Root Brown Chair in Robert Browning and Victorian Studies is Dr. Joshua King, Associate Professor of English at Baylor University. As Chair, Dr. King serves as a scholar-in-residence for the Armstrong Browning Library, researching and publishing on materials related to the Library’s holdings and attending and designing scholarly and outreach events to promote the Library’s standing as a world center for Victorian studies. Dr. King began his three-year term as Chair in summer 2014 and will be eligible for additional terms thereafter.
Dr. King specializes in Romantic and Victorian literature, focusing on British poetic form, religion, and print culture, which is a term for the social interaction and meaning-making enabled by the production, circulation, and reception of printed media. Within these primary research areas, he has actively published in three subfields: (1) nineteenth-century British print culture and religion; (2) Romantic poetic form and theory, focusing on connections between meter, ethics, and social norms; and (3) Victorian poetic form and theory, emphasizing theological views of poetic form. He has drawn on the holdings of the Armstrong Browning Library throughout much of his scholarship, including Imagined Spiritual Communities in Britain’s Age of Print, published (2015) in Ohio State University Press’ series on Literature, Religion, and Postsecular Studies. The book demonstrates that nineteenth-century creative authors, journalists, educators, and clergy treated the circulating printed page as a medium for imagining and participating in conflicting versions of a virtual Christian community spanning the British nation. Dr. King has also incorporated research at the ABL into articles for the Coleridge Bulletin and Victorian Literature and Culture, as well as a forthcoming entry on Matthew Arnold for The Routledge Companion to Literature and Religion. He is already looking into relevant materials on Victorian print culture for a contribution to The Oxford Handbook of John Henry Newman, slated for publication in 2017. Additional scholarship by Dr. King has appeared, among other venues, in The Hopkins Quarterly, Christianity and Literature, Nineteenth-Century Prose, The CEA Critic, The Wordsworth Circle, Victorian Poetry, European Romantic Review, Essays in Romanticism, Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net, and Victorian Studies.
Other Activities as Chair
As a teacher in Baylor’s English department, Dr. King has been bringing classes to the ABL for years. For the last several years, his class on Victorian poetry has met in the ABL’s seminar room. In his first semester teaching on campus as chair, he has held all meetings of his course on Romantic poetry in the Elizabeth Barrett Browning Salon, with many interactive sessions with rare materials. Since 2010, Dr. King has coordinated Baylor’s 19th Century Research Seminar (19CRS), an interdisciplinary forum for faculty and students from within and outside Baylor University to present and hear original research in all areas of nineteenth-century studies. Through the 19CRS, Dr. King has been instrumental in building bridges between the ABL, the English department, and other departments throughout the university. His first academic year as chair began with the inaugural 19CRS and ABL Open House event, which gave students and faculty from a variety of disciplines an introduction to the ABL’s collections and digital resources and the chance to examine some of the library’s rarest treasures up close. Since Dr. King’s appointment, the 19CRS’s schedule has featured an unprecedented number of speakers. Major new initiatives are underway, as well. Dr. King is working with officials at Baylor University and beyond to develop an international nineteenth-century studies program, which will provide the opportunity for graduate and highly motivated, upper-level undergraduate students to study abroad at a network of research sites affiliated with the ABL, including the Wordsworth Trust at Grasmere and the Historic Collections Center of Balliol College, Oxford. Dr. King has also begun to plan an international conference on new approaches to religion and literature in the nineteenth century.