Curriculum vitae (.pdf)
Dr. Erwin offers both introductory and graduate courses
in the English department. During Spring 2011 he will lead the graduate
Jane Austen and Visual Culture. Austen is among
the most accomplished of early British novelists. Each of her six
courtship novels from Northanger Abbey to Persuasion
knows exactly where it is going, even if none of her heroines could be
so certain of their direction in life, he says:
read the major novels in their order of composition largely but not
exclusively for their visual interest, and we’ll also to turn to
Austen’s letters and to Claire Tomalin’s recent biography
for information about her inner life. Some of the topics we’ll be
treating are: the landscape picturesque of Gilpin, Price, and Knight;
the visual conventions of portraiture, the most important form of
eighteenth-century painting in Britain; and the narrative play of the
gaze as discourse.
Prof. Erwin’s research centers in the relation of word and
image from the eighteenth century to postmodernism. Recent articles
describe an Enlightenment contest between continental formalism and
nativist perceptualism in the arts.
Ut Rhetorica Artes:
The Rhetorical Theory of the Sister Arts (2007) and
Immanent Image of History and Fiction (2006) describe the
cultural opposition of the discourse of design and the discourse of the
The Ecliptic of the Beautiful (2004) traces the
opposition through several major authors, while
Hogarth and the
Aesthetics of Nationalism (2003) shows how the artist separated
himself from the linear tradition of the Carracci. From 1995–1998, Dr.
Erwin served in the delegate assembly of the MLA. From 1996–2000 he
served as an editor of Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture.
He served as president of the Western Society for 18th Century Studies
in 2000, as president of the Samuel Johnson Society of Southern
California in 2004, and as program chair for the annual meeting of the
American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in 2005. Another recent
L'extraordinaire langage de Robert Pinsky (2005)
compares the discursive lyric of postmodernism to the dramatic monologue
of high modernism, and is found online at http://www.cercles.com/n14/erwin.pdf.