B. Ashton Nichols



As Author:

Beyond Romantic Ecocriticism: Toward Urbanatural Roosting (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), part of the Nineteenth-Century Major Lives and Letters series. Series Editor, Marilyn Gaull. Nominated for the John Burroughs Medal and the American Publishers Prose Prize (a style award). Issued in paperback, August 2012.

The Revolutionary “I”: Wordsworth and the Politics of Self-Presentation (London: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin’s, 1998), part of the “Romanticism in Perspective” series, ed. Marilyn Gaull and Stephen Prickett.

The Poetics of Epiphany: Nineteenth-Century Origins of the Modern Literary Moment (Tuscaloosa & London: U of Alabama P, 1987) 256 pp. Chapters from this book have been reprinted in The Critical Perspective, ed. Harold Bloom (New York: Chelsea House, 1989), pp. 5234-38, 5447-54.

As Editor:

Walden, or Life in the Woods:, An Ecocritical Edition, by Henry David Thoreau. (Beckleysville: G. W. Zouck, 2017), part of the Voice for an Optimistic America series.

Romantic Natural Histories: William Wordsworth, Charles Darwinand Others, New Riverside Editions (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004).


A Romantic Natural History1750-1859: A hypertext project designed to survey the relationship between literature and natural history in the century before Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. The site has been recognized for excellence by the BBC (“Education Web”), Romantic Circles (University of Maryland) and The New York Times (“Circuits”). See: http://www.dickinson.edu/~nicholsa/Romnat/romnat1.htm

“After the Hawk,” “That Hum and Buzz,” “Fantastic Beauty in the Front Yard,” “Raptors and Riparians,” “Songbirds at Creekside,” “Death from Above–Life Everywhere,” “Crazy Cardinal,” “Snow Baths,” “Urbanature–The Roost and Urbanatural Roosting.” The Roost: Thoreau Farm Blog. Invited blog-posts at Thoreau Farm Birthplace, Concord, Massachusetts. February, 2014-present: http://thoreaufarm.org/?s=Ashton+Nichols


“‘Over the Sea to Skye’: Dr. Johnson and Wordsworth on Dun Cann,” Session series, Walking the Walk: Romantic Writing on the Trail, The Wordsworth Circle (TWC), XLIX 2018: forthcoming

“Henry David Builds His Hut,” in What Would Henry Do? Essays for the 21st Century–Feature Essay by President Jimmy Carter. Ed. Thoreau Farm Trust. Concord: Thoreau Farm Trust, Inc., 2017: 105-09.

“Ecocriticism and Environmental Approaches,” chapter in Teaching Victorian Literature in the 21st Century: A Guide to Pedagogy. Ed. Jen Cadwallader and Laurence Mazzeno. New York & London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017: 315-329.

“Home to Roost: Generations Enjoy a Mountaintop Cabin,” Cabin Living (June 2017): 19

“‘Humanist Joy’: Urbanature in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney,” Festschrift for Robert Langbaum, Ed. Michael Pickard. The Wordsworth Circle (TWC) XLVII:2, 2016: 100-04.

“Celebration and Longing: Robert Browning and the Nonhuman World,” Victorian Writers and the Environment: Ecocritical Perspectives. Larry Mazzeno and Ronald D. Morrison, eds. London: Ashgate Press, 2016: 47-63.

“Fostered by Fear: Affect and Environment in Romantic Nature Writing.” Wordsworth and the Green Romantics: Affect and Ecology in the Nineteenth Century. Ed. Lisa Ottum and Seth Reno, eds. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England, 2016: 146-64.

“Assateague Island Memories,” Vocabula Review. Winner of 3rd-place in the Vocabula Well-Written Writing Contest 14:9 (September 2012: online only).

“Wordsworth as Environmental ‘Nature’ Writer,” Critical Insights: Nature and the Environment.  Ed. Scott Slovic. Ipswich, MA: Salem Press (EBSCO Publishing, 2012): 100-121.

“Dialogical Theology as Politics in Mongo Beti, Wewere Liking, and Chinua Achebe,” Postcolonial Text 5.1 (2009): 1-16.

“Thoreau and Urbanature: From Walden to Ecocriticism,” Neohelicon 36.2 (December 2009): 1-9.

“American Nature Writing” [in Chinese]. Ecological Literature. Beijing: Peoples’s Publishing House: 2009: 170-203.

“Overview of American Ecocriticism” [in Chinese]. Ecological Literature. Beijing: Peoples’s Publishing House: 2009: 203-235.

“Thoreau for our Time.” Introduction to Walden, or Life in the Woods. Voice for an Optimistic America. Brook Farm Revival Series. Beckleysville, MD.: G. W. Zouck Publishing, 2008.

“Wilding and Roosting,” “Romantic Natural History,” “Emerson and Infinity,” “Urbanature.” Romantic Circles Blog Posts (Ecocriticism). Invited Contributions. [http://www.rc.umd.edu/blog_rc/]: October-December, 2008.

“Emerson for a New Era .” Introduction to Essays of the Young Emerson: Voice for an Optimistic America. Brook Farm Revival Series. Beckleysville, MD.: G. W. Zouck Publishing, 2008.

“La metaphore du passage de la frontiere dans les oeuvres de J. M. Coetzee, Salman Rushdie et Derek Walcott.” D’une Frontiere a L’autre: Migrations, Passages, Imaginaires. Ed. Jean-Francois Berdah, Anny Bloch-Raymond et Colette Zytnicki. Collection << Meridiennes >>. Universite de Toulouse-Le Mirail: CNRS, 2007.

“Face to Face with Wild Dolphins,” Sea Stories: An International Journal of Art and Writing, Blue Ocean Institute, Hibernal 2006/07: http://www.seastories.org/

“An Empire of Exotic Nature: William Blake’s Botanic and Zoomorphic Imagery,” The Reception of Blake in the Orient. Ed. Steve Clark and Masashi Suzuki (London: Continuum Press, 2006): 121-134.

“Roaring Alligators and Burning Tygers: Poetry and Science from William Bartram to Charles Darwin,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 149:3 (September 2005): 304-15.

“The Hypertext Monograph: An Alternative Model for Scholarly Publishing,”  International Journal of the Book (Melbourne, Australia: Commonground, 2005): 53-55.

“Humanities Scholarship and Teaching in Hyperspace: A Current Appraqisal” International Journal of the Humanities 2.1 (Melbourne, Australia: Commonground, 2005): 325-30.

“Nature as Narrative: Bartram, Darwin, Dillard, Matthiessen,” Festschrift for Helio Osvaldo Alves (Minho, Portugal: Centro de Estudos Humanísticos, 2005):  221-31.

“Copperheads in Carlisle: A Hometown Natural History,” Nature Study: A Journal of Environmental Education and Interpretation, 51.1/2 (2003): 30-36.

“Killing a Rattlesnake?” ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, 8.2 (Summer 2001): 233-37.

“The Love/s of Plants and Animals: Romantic Science and the Pleasures of Nature,” Romantic Praxis: Romantic Circles Web-Site, “Romanticism and Ecology,” ed. James McKusick: http://www.rc.umd.edu/praxis/, (2001).

“Cognitive and Pragmatic Linguistic Moments: Literary Epiphany in Thomas Pynchon and Seamus Heaney,” in Moments of Moment: Aspects of the Literary Epiphany, ed. Wim Tigges (Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi, 1999): 467-80. Portions of this essay are reprinted in Thomas Pynchon: Bloom’s Major Novelists, ed. Harold Bloom (Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2003): 133-38.

“The Anxiety of Species: Toward a Romantic Natural History,” The Wordsworth Circle, special issue on “Romantic Ecology,” 28.3 (1997): 130-36.

“Electronic Resources for Nineteenth-Century Studies: A Provisional Appraisal,”  Nineteenth-Century Studies, 11 (1997): 203-214 [http://www.fandm.edu/Departments/English/Ohara/19thCStudies.html]

“Mumbo Jumbo: Mungo Park and the Rhetoric of Romantic Africa,” in Romanticism, Race, and Imperial Culture, 1780-1834, ed. Alan Richardson and Sonia Hofkosh (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996), pp. 93-113.

“‘If there is one god, fine, there will be others’: Dialogical Theology in Achebe,” in Religion and Literature in Postcolonial Cultures, ed. J. Scott (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1996), pp. 159-170.

“Ecology, Gender, and Revolution in News from Nowhere,” William Morris: A Celebration of World Citizenship, Instituto de Letras e Ciencas Humanas, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal, Actas do Coloquio (Braga, 1996), pp. 15-30.

“Nonviolent Protest and Liberationist Sexuality: The Legacy of Blake and Shelley in News From Nowhere,” William Morris Society Journal (London) 10.4 (Spring 1994): 20-28.

“Monologue,” “Dialogue,” Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, ed. Premiger et al, (Princeton University Press, 1993); 290-92, 798-800. These entries have also been selected for inclusion in The New Princeton Handbook of Poetic Terms, ed. T. V. F. Brogan (Princeton University Press, 1994); 52-53, 193-94.

“Colonizing Consciousness: Culture and Identity in Walcott’s Another Life and Wordsworth’s Prelude,” Imagination, Emblems and Expressions: Essays on Latin American, Caribbean, and Continental Culture and Identity, ed. Helen Ryan (Bowling Green: BGSU Press, 1993), 173-191.

“The Revolutionary ‘I’: Wordsworth and the Politics of Self-Presentation,” Bucknell Review: Wordsworth in Context 36:1, 1992, 66-84.

“Fragment,” “Primitivism,” “The Real Language of Men,” Encyclopedia of Romanticism: Culture in Britain, 1780s-1830s, ed. Laura Dabundo (New York: Garland, 1992), 202-03, 469-70, 484-85.

“‘Look Who’s Talking’: Dialogic Learning in the Undergraduate Classroom,” [co-author Margaret Garrett], ADE Bulletin (MLA), 99 (Fall 1991): 34-38.

“The Politics of Point of View in Teaching Things Fall Apart,” Approaches to Teaching Things Fall Apart, ed. Bernth Lindfors (New York: MLA, 1991): 52-57.

“Dialogism in the Dramatic Monologue: The Example of Browning,” Victorians Institute Journal 17 (1990): 29-51.

“Silencing the Other: The Discourse of Domination in Nineteenth-Century Exploration Narratives,” Nineteenth-Century Studies 3 (1989): 1-22.

“Cambridge University,” “Positivism,” “Yeats, W. B.,” Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia, ed. Sally Mitchell (New York: Garland Press, 1988): 245-46, 1240, 1784.

“The Epiphanic Trance Poem: Why Tennyson is Not a Mystic,” Victorian Poetry 24 (1986): 131-148.

“Joycezseasidegirls: Gretta, Bertha, Molly, and Nora–All from Gibralway?” Biography 8.4 (1985): 336-352.

“Browning’s Modernism: The Infinite Moment as Epiphany,” Browning Institute Studies 11 (1983): 81-99.

“‘Will Sprawl’ in the ‘Ugly Actual’: The Positive Grotesque in Browning,” Victorian Poetry 21 (1983): 157-171.

“Towards ‘Spots of Time’: Visionary Dreariness in ‘An Evening Walk’,” The Wordsworth Circle 14 (1983): 233-37.


(JBS) Journal of British Studies, North American Conference on British Studies, Cambridge, 2017-): Alan Bewell, Natures in Translation: Romanticism and Colonial Natural History (2017)

RES (The Review of English Studies, Oxford, 2015-): Chase Pielak, Memorializing Animals During the Romantic Period (2015)

(NCL) Nineteenth-Century Literature (2013-): François Specq, Laura Dassow Walls, and Michael Granger, eds., Thoreauvian Modernities: Transatlantic Conversations on an American Icon (2014)

(ERR) European Romantic Review (2013-): Anahid Nersessian, Utopia Limited: Romanticism and Adjustment & Heidi C. M. Scott, Chaos and Cosmos: Literary Roots of Modern Ecology in the British Nineteenth Century (2016); Theresa M. Kelley, Clandestine Marriages: Botany & Romantic Culture; Janelle A. Schwartz, Worm Work: Recasting Romanticism (2013)

Review 19 NBOL: New Books on English and American Literature of the Nineteenth Century)(2012-): Katey Castellano, The Ecology of British Romantic Conservatism: 1790-1837 (2015); Evan Gottlieb and Juliet Shields, eds., Representing Place in British Literature and Culture, 1660-1830 (2012); Scott Hess, William Wordsworth and the Ecology of Authorship: The Roots of Environmentalism in Nineteenth-Century Culture (2012); Gillen D’Arcy Wood, Tambora: The Eruption that Changed the World (2015)

Nineteenth-Century Contexts (2005-): Noah Heringman, Romantic Rocks: Aesthetic Geology.
Metascience [Kluwer, Netherlands] (2005-): C. M. Smith and Robert Arnott, The Genius of Erasmus Darwin.

Sciences & Theology News (2005-): Keith Thomson, Before Darwin: Reconciling God with Nature (published in England as The Watch on the Heath: Science and Religion Before Darwin)

(TWC) The Wordsworth Circle (2000-): Dewey W. Hall, Romantic Naturalists, Early Environmentalists: An Ecocritical Study, 1789-1912 (2015); Noah Heringman, ed., Romantic Science: The Literary Forms of Natural History; Louise Henson et al, eds., Culture and Science in the Nineteenth-Century Media; Eric Wilson, Emerson’s Sublime Science; Richard Yeo, Encyclopedic Visions; Marina Frasca-Spada and Nick Jardine, eds., Books and the Sciences in History; Alan Richardson, British Romanticism and the Science of  the Mind; Judith Hawley, Richard Hamblyn, Charlotte Grant, eds., Literature and Science, 1660-1834Earthly Powers and Flora (2 vols.); Judith Hawley, ed., Literature and Science, 1660-1834, Part 2: Fauna, Astronomy, Natural Philosophy, and Chemistry (4 vols.); Nancy Easterlin, A Biocultural Approach to Literary Theory and Interpretation; Dewey W. Hall, Romantic Naturalists, Early Environmentalists: An Ecocritical Study: 1789-1912

The Pater Newsletter (1999-): Martin Bidney, Patterns of Epiphany: From Wordsworth to Tolstoy, Pater, and Barrett Browning

(SHR) Southern Humanities Review (1985-): Carol T. Christ, Victorian and Modern Poetics; Jerome H. Buckley, The Turning Key; Paul John Eakin, Fictions in Autobiography; John McGowan, Representation and Revelation; J. M. Coetzee, Foe; Christopher Ricks, ed., Oxford Book of Victorian Verse; Anne Mellor, ed., Romanticism and Feminism; Salman Rushdie, East, West; Peter Ackroyd, Blake; Richard Holmes,Coleridge: Darker Reflections, 1804-1834; Yopie Prins, Victorian Sappho; John Worthen, Coleridge, the Hutchinsons & the Wordsworths in 1802; Bongasu Tanla Kishani, A Basket of Kola Nuts (Poems)


“‘Over the Sea to Skye’: Dr. Johnson and Wordsworth on Dun Cann,” Session Walking the Walk: Romantic Writing on the Trail, Modern Language Association (MLA) Meeting, New York, NY, January 2018 (read by a colleague), also Session Presider

Invitation to be an “Organizing Committee Member for the Pollution Control 2016 conference.” Promoting Global Health through Pollution Control & Sustainable Environment, April 25-26, 2016 at Dubai, UAE. (unable to attend because of conflicting activities).

“From Civilized Skylarks to Socialized Nightingales: Urbanature in Shelley and Keats,” panel Romantic Ecocriticism: Thinking Forward, MLA Annual Meeting, Austin, TX. January 2016.

“Writer-in-Residence.” The Hill School. Pottstown, PA. 7-10 January 2015.

“American Transcendentalism and the Natural World.” Brandywine River Museum of Art. Charles Burchfield Exhibit Lecture. October 29, 2014

Urbanatural Roosting: Reading and Book Signing.” Chatham University. MFA in Creative Writing Program; Pittsburgh, PA, January 2014

“Luce Asia Faculty  Colloquium with Fa-Ti Fan,” East Asian Studies Program, Dickinson, Carlisle, PA, November 2013

“Author Meets Critics Panel: with Downing Cless, Tufts University, and Jan Hagens, Yale University.” Comparative Drama Conference. Pier V. Baltimore, MD, April 2013

“Bridging the Divide: Nature in Our Cities and Our Minds,” Virginia Festival of the Book. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, March 2013

“Urbanatural Roosting: A New Nature for Our Time,” Brown College Views Lecture Series (w/Winona LaDuke and Paul Sutter), Ivy Creek Nature Preserve, Ivy, VA, March 2013

“Beyond Romantic Ecocriticism: Sustainability Authors.” From the Outside In: Sustainable Futures for Global Cities and Suburbs, Hofstra University, March 2013 (invited presentation; unable to attend because of rescheduled job candidate interview)

“From Wild Badgers to Human Beasts: John Clare and the Question of Nonhuman Nature,” John Clare: Nature and the Self, The John Clare Society of North America, Modern Language Association (MLA), Boston, MA, January 2013

“The Sublime Romantic Sciences: Animals, Plants, and Beyond,” in “Romantic Sciences: Crises and Resolutions.” Catastrophes: The 2012 International Conference on Romanticism, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, November 2012 (invited, unable to attend because of Hurricane Sandy; paper contents delivered by a colleague from Boston College)

“Romantic Natural History: A New View of Poetry and Science,” 35th Annual Croll Lecture, Gettysburg College. Gettysburg, PA, October 2012

“Transcendentalism: Sources and Influences,” “Ralph Waldo Emerson: Philosophy and Society in a New Nation,” “Henry David Thoreau: Poet and Prophet of Walden Pond,” “The Impact of Transcendentalism from the 19th to the 21st Centuries,” Smithsonian Institution, Associates Program lecture series, Washington, DC, July 2012

“James Joyce’s Cognitive Epiphanies: A 21st-Century Perspective,” International James Joyce Symposium, Retrospective session on “Epiphanic Joyce”: Morris Beja, respondent. Dublin, Ireland, June 2012

“Romantic Natural History: Literature and Science in the Century Before Darwin’s Origin (1859),” Life and Literature Conference. Field Museum. Poster Session. Chicago, IL, November 2011

“Beyond Romantic Open Spaces: Social Justice and the American Idea of Wilderness,” Society for Ecofeminism, Environmental Justice, and Social Ecology (SEEJSE) with the International Association for Environmental Philosophy (IAEP). Philadelphia, PA, October 2011 (invited, essay read by a colleague)

“A Sustainable Course on Sustainability,” Curriculum and Co-Curricular Education, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (ASSHE), Pittsburgh, PA, October 2011

“Beyond Romantic Ecocriticism: Toward Urbanatural Roosting,” English Department and Miller Worley Center for the Environment; co-hosted by Weissman Center and Dean of Faculty,  Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA, October 2010

“Transcendentalism and American Literature,” Invited Lecture for British and Amercian Studies Faculty Members at Japanese Universities: Nanzan, Kyoto, Kinjo Gakuin. Nagoya, Japan, March 2010

“Emerson, Thoreau, and American Transcendentalism,” Invited Lecture for M.A. and B.A. Students at Nanzan University. Nagoya, Japan, March 2010

“Thoreau and Urbanature: From Walden to Ecocriticism,” Beyond Thoreau: American and International Responses to Nature. Fulbright Commission and Tsinghua University. Beijing, China, October 2008

“Encomium for Alan Richardson.” Distinguished Scholar Award of the Keats-Shelley Association of America. Modern Language Association Meeting, San Francisco, December 2008

“The Artist as Ornithologist: John James Audubon and Romantic Natural History,” Romanticism and Naturalism Symposium (keynote address). Jule Collins Smith Museum, Auburn University, November 2007

“Henry David Thoreau” and “Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson,” Nanzan University Study of the U.S. Carlisle, Pennsylvania, August 2007, August 2008

“The Third Partner: Creating Hypertext Connections in Humanities Classrooms,” Technology, Knowledge and Society, New Hall, Cambridge, England, January 2007

“Dialogical Theology as Politics in Mongo Beti, Were Were Liking and Chinua Achebe,” Conference on Religion and Political Power, Djunega Palace, Yaounde, Cameroon, West Africa, January 2006

“Technological Tools in the Classroom: Listening to Student Users,” Second International Conference on Technology, Knowledge and Society,  Hyderabad, India, December 2005

“The Hypertext Monograph: An Alternative Model for Scholarly Publishing,” International Conference on the Future of the Book: Challenges and Opportunities in the Digital Era, Beijing, China, August 2004

“Humanities Scholarship and Teaching in Hyperspace: A Current Appraisal,” New Directions in the Humanities,” Future/Human, Monash University Centre in Prato (Tuscany), Italy, July 2004

“Crossing the Line: The Border as Metaphor in J. M. Coetzee, Salman Rushdie, and Derek Walcott,” Passer/Depasser Les Frontieres (To Cross and Transcend Boundaries),  L’Équipe Diasporas, Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail, Toulouse, France, May 2004

“Roaring Alligators and Burning Tygers: Poetry and Science from William Bartram to Charles Darwin,” Science, Art and Knowledge: Practicing Natural History from the Enlightenment to the 21st Century, American Philosophical Society AGM, Philadelphia, April 2004

“Thoreau’s Walden and American Transcendentalism,” The Teaching Company, Chantilly, Virginia, January 2004

“An Empire of Exotic Nature: Blake’s Botanic and Zoomorphic Imagery,” International William Blake Conference, “Blake in the Orient,” Kyodai Kaikan, Kyoto University, Japan, December 2003

“The Natural Historian as Traveler: Nature as Narrative from Bartram to Matthiessen,” Travel Narratives Conference, CEA–Caribbean Chapter, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, February 2003

“Poison Trees and Burning Tygers: Romantic Orientalism and the Discourse of Natural History,” Romantic Orientalism Conference, University of Wales (Aberystwyth), Gregynog, July 2002

“Swamp Dweller and Other Poems,” Lyrics and Land, (ASLE) Association of the Study of Literature and Environment Symposium, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS, October 2001

“The Last Sturgeon: A Postmodern ‘Fable’,” 8th International Congress of the Beast Fable Society (BFS), Marrakesh, Morocco, July 2001

“A Romantic Natural History from 1750-1859: Scholarship and Teaching in Hyperspace,” Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE), U of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, June 2001

“Narrative, Story-Telling, and Trial Advocacy,” Dickinson School of Law–Penn State University, Third-Year Advocacy II Class, March 2001

“Electronic Romantic Natural Histories: From Erasmus Darwin to Charles Darwin,” Associazione Italo-Britannica, Bologna, Italy, March 2000

“The Loves of Plants and Animals: Romantic Science and the Pleasures of Nature,” American Conference on Romanticism (ACR), Indiana University, Bloomington, November 1999

“Romantic Rhinos and Victorian Vipers: The Zoo as Nineteenth-Century Spectacle,” Nineteenth-Century Spectacles, Nineteenth-Century Studies Association (NCSA), Rutgers University/Philadelphia, March 1999

“Hyping the Hypertext: Scholarship and the Limits of Technology,” NASSR (North American Society for the Study of Romanticism), UMass/Boston College, November 1996. Available on WWW at http://www.luc.edu/publications/keats-shelley/nichols.htm

“Ecology, Gender, and Revolution in News from Nowhere,” William Morris: A Celebration of World Citizenship, Instituto de Letras e Ciencas Humanas, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal, Keynote Speech, April 1996. Published under the same title in Actas do Coloquio (Braga, 1996), pp. 15-30

“(Re)Designing the Nineteenth-Century: Technology and Teaching–CD-Rom Resources,” Nineteenth-Century Design, Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, Miami, April 1996

“William Morris’s Materialist Romanticism,” William Morris Society, London, April 1995

“Teaching the New Romanticisms,” Norwich City College, Norwich, England, February 1995

“The Legacy of Blake and Shelley in News from Nowhere,” William Morris Conference, Ruskin Hall, Oxford, England, July 1990

“Wordsworth as ‘Wordsworth!’ in ‘There was a boy’,” Wordsworth Summer Conference, Grasmere, Cumbria, August 1990

“The Revolutionary ‘I’: Wordsworth and the Politics of Self-Presentation,” Revolutionary Romanticism Conference, Bucknell University, April 1990

“Porphyria’s Dubious Lover and the Dying Bishop’s Tomb: Browning’s Dialogical Imagination,” Modern Language Association, Washington, D.C., December 1989

“The Politics of Point-of-View: Things Fall Apart in the Undergraduate Classroom,” MLA, Washington, D.C., December 1989

“Dialogism in the Dramatic Monologue: Suppressed Voices in Browning,” NEMLA,  University of Delaware, March 1989

“Silencing the Other: Discourses of Domination in Victorian Exploration Narratives,” SENCSA, Georgetown University, April 1988

“The Epiphanic Mode: Wordsworth, Pater, Joyce,” Session Organizer, MLA Convention, San Francisco, December 1987

“Phenomenology or Theology? The Tension Between Perception and Faith in the Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins,” The Victorians Institute, William and Mary College, October 1986

“The Poet as Modernist Magus in The Ring and the Book,” Browning Conference, Southwestern College, April 1986

“Voices in Dialogue: The Value of Post-Colonial Literature,” Honors Lyceum, Auburn University, March 1986

“Autobiographical Epiphanies: Yeats as Artificer of the Great Moment,” W. B. Yeats Symposium, West Chester University, October 1985

“‘Why Should My Reflections Perpetually Centre on Myself’: Godwinian Autobiography in Caleb Williams,” Wake Forest University, March 1985

“Towards ‘Spots of Time’: Visionary Dreariness in ‘An Evening Walk’,” Wordsworth Summer Conference, Grasmere, Cumbria, July 1983


Dickinson College: Journal of Ecosystems and Wildlife Management, Editorial Board Member, Gavin Publishers, Lisle, IL 2018-; Presidential Commission on Environmental Sustainability (PCES), 2016-; Baird Fellows, Selection Committee, 2014-; Rose-Walters Environmental Activism Prize Selection Committee, 2010-; Department Chair, Environmental Studies and Environmental Science, 2012-13; Living in A World of Limits, Faculty Seminar (Clarke Forum and CSE), 2012-13; Resource Group on the Future of Faculty and Academic Program, 2012-; Climate Change Curriculum Task Force (NASA Grant: “Cooling the Liberal Arts Curriculum”), 2010-2012; Center for Sustainability (CSE) Steering Committee, 2011-2016; The Wordsworth Circle, Editorial Review Board, 2012-; Faculty Personnel Committee (FPC), 2006-2009, (Chair of FPC, 2008-09); Editorial Review Board: Literature and Language: (Scientific Journals International), 2007-; Book proposal reviewer, University of Minnesota Press, 2009-, University of Chicago Press, 2006-; Evaluator for 3rd edition of Frankenstein, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006-; Manuscript Reviewer, Journal of the History of Ideas (U Penn), 2005-; Editorial Reviewer, Broadview Press, 2005-; Associate Editor, International Journal of the Humanities, 2004-; Manuscript reviewer for Papers on Language and Literature, 2004-; Chair, Department of English, 2001-03; Presidential Commission on Diversity at Dickinson; 2003-05; Co-Founder and Director, Dickinson in the Galapagos, 2001-03; Reader for Cornell University Press, 2003-; Reviewer for “Under the Sign of Nature” series, University Press of Virginia, 2002-; Advisory Board Member, Environs Environmental Institute, Baltimore, Maryland, 2002-; Contributor, BBC (London) Natural History Radio Program “Blithe Spirits”(5): Mammals, Lower Creatures, Pets, Monsters, 2001; All-College Committee on Enrollment Management (2001-03); Bologna Advisory Group, 2000-04; British Isles Group, 2000-03; Associate Dean of the College, 1998-99; Editorial reviewer for St. Martin’s Press, 1999-; Board of Governors of the  Dickinsonian, 1998-99; Chair, Department of English, 1997-8; Admissions Coordinator (Humanities), 1997-8; Marketing Task Force, 1997-98; Research and Development Committee, 1996-9; Nominations Committee, 1997-8; Editorial referee for Style, 1998-; Electronic Resources Review Editor, Nineteenth-Century Studies, 1996-98; Manuscript Reader, Bucknell U Press, 1996, 1994; External Evaluator (tenure), U of New Orleans, 1995; Dickinson Humanities Program in England, On-Campus Advisor 1992-4, Director of Dickinson Programs in England (Humanities and Science), 1994-5; General Education Committee, 1989-92; General Education Subcommittee on Writing, 1989-92, Chair 1991-92, 1996; Science Advisory Committee, 1998-99, 1990-91; Phi Beta Kappa, Historian, 1991-94, Nominations, 1989; External Evaluator (promotion), U of Alaska, 1989; Trout Gallery Exhibitions Committee, 1993-94; Departmental Library Liaison, 1988-90; Educational Testing Service–AP Evaluator 1988, 1991; CPC Teaching Workshop, Discussion Leader, 1990-91; Arts Award Committee, 1991-1994; Director, “Loan of a Lover,” Friends of the Library, May 1993

Auburn University: Assistant Director, Freshman English, 1986-1988; Pre-College Counselor, 1986-1988; Curriculum Committee, 1985-1988, Sophomore Literature Committee, 1986-1988; Hiring Committee, 1985-1986, 1987-1988; Co-Chair, Theory Discussion Group, 1986-1988; Panel Leader, SHC; Secretary, Phi Beta Kappa in Auburn, 1986-1988

University of Virginia (graduate school): Committee for the Study of  the Individual and Society, Institute for Advanced Study, 1983-1984; Selection Committee, NEH Summer Institute: The Fictions of Romanticism, 1983; Graduate Representative, Tenure Committee, 1984

Tandem School: Acting Headmaster, 1983; Assistant Headmaster, 1981-1983; Director of Admissions, 1979-1981


Digital Humanities Summer Student-Faculty Summer Research Grant, 2015; Smithsonian Institution, Associates Program, 2012-; Summer Study Group on Digital Humanities, 2012; Luce Faculty Study Seminar on Sustainability in Asia (LIASE), 2011-15; NASA Partnership Agreement for Climate Change Education–“Cooling the Liberal Arts Curriculum”–organizer and presenter (“Teaching Climate Change Across Disciplines” & “Language and Climate Change”), 2010; CESE Environmental Education Fund Grant, Summer 2009; Willoughby Fellowship (Technology in the Classroom), 2008-09; The Valley and Ridge Workshop: Sustainability in the Classroom, Summer 2008; Humanities Collective and First-Year Seminar Project, 2008-09; Environmental Sustainability Summer Study Group, 2007; Renaissance Weekend (guest speaker and panelist), 2006-; “Emerson, Thoreau, and American Transcendentalism”: 24 lectures for the “Great Courses” program of the Teaching Company for audio, VHS, and DVD release, 2005-6; Dickinson College: Sabbatical Research Grant, 2005-06; Dickinson Sabbatical Supplement Grant, 2005-06; The John J. Curley ’60 and Ann Conser Curley ’63 Faculty Professor of English Language and Literature, 2003-; Charles A. Dana Professor of English, 2002-03; Research Reassigned Time (R&D Committee), Spring 2001; Who’s Who in the World, 2002-2000; Who’s Who in America, 2002-2000; Dickinson Summer Scholar Grant, 2000; Sabbatical Research Grant, 1999-2000; Who’s Who in the East, 2000-1998; Classics Department Summer Immersion, Greece, 1998; Mellon Student-Faculty Research Grant, Summer, 1997; Mellon Grant for Reassigned-Time–CPC Technology Project, Fall 1996; Ganoe Award for Inspirational Teaching, 1994; Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, 1993; FIPSE Grant for Library-Classroom Links, 1993-94; Mellon Faculty-Student Research Grant, 1992; Africa Summer Study Group, 1992; Board of Advisor’s Summer Research Grant, 1990; Curriculum Revision Summer Study-Group Stipend, 1990; NEH Summer Seminar, “The Romantic Literary Career,” Johns Hopkins University, 1989; R&D support for travel to conferences, 1988-98

Auburn University: Honors Faculty, 1985-88; Mellon Travel Grant for Faculty Development Seminar, Vanderbilt University, 1988; Research Grant-in-Aid, 1986, 1987; Humanities Fund, Travel Grant, 1985; NEH Summer Institute: “Postcolonial Literature,” Indiana University, 1985

University of Virginia (graduate school): Visiting Scholar, Cambridge University,  Summer 1983; DuPont Fellowship, 1983-84; Governor’s Fellow, 1978-80;  NEH Institute: 1980; Visiting Researcher, William Morris Centre, 1978; Phi Beta Kappa, 1975; DuPont Fellow, 1971-75

Journalism: APEX Writing Award, 1993; Associated Press Reporting Award, 1976; Virginia Press Association Feature Writing Award, 1976


“Home to Roost: Generations Enjoy a Mountaintop Cabin,” Cabin Living (June 2017): 19

“Brancacci Chapel Junkie,” The Florentine: News & Views Around Florence (Italy), December 2005, 20

“Words and Deeds: A Reflection on Language and Terror,” Dickinson Magazine, January 2002, 24-25

Deja Vu All Over Again,” University of Virginia Alumni Magazine, Spring 1997, 80

“Artistic Creativity in a Millennial Age,” in The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts: Fellowship Recipients 1996, catalogue essay, 4

“We Are All Disciples of Nonviolence,” Dickinson Magazine, January 1993: 18-20 [winner of APEX ‘93 Writing Award for Publication Excellence]

“Romantic Ideology and Postmodern Pedagogy: Collapsing the Difference Between Cultural Categories,” PMC-TALK, North Carolina State University, 1993

“Jefferson’s Poplar Forest,” Country Magazine (March 1981), 49-51

“Teaching at Tandem,” Albemarle Monthly, 3:2 (1981), 24

“Restoring a Neo-1930 Virginia Vernacular,” Preservation News, February 1980, 5

“Home Among the Secrets of the Blue Ridge,” Country Magazine, July 1981, 4

“Sheila Waters and Under Milk Wood,” Fine Print, 5:2 (April 1979), 33-39

“The Fish is Fresh, the Heritage is Alive,” Historic Preservation, 31:3 (July/August 1979), 14-20

“Sheila Waters: Modern Medieval Artist,” Maryland Magazine (1978), 36

“Humane Letters: A Sense of Doing Something Well,” Washingtonian 13:6 (1978), 120-1

Book reviews in Historic PreservationPreservation NewsFine Print and The Journal of the Society for Architectural Historians, 1976-81


“Henry David Builds His Hut,” What Would Henry Do? Bicentennial Volume, Concord: Thoreau Farm Historical Site, 2017 (forthcoming)

“Happy Together?” Viva la Focus (Dutch Mobile Film Festival), Video: World Wide Poem, featuring, Marco Fazzini (Vicenza, Italy), Alsaddiq Alraddi (Khartoum, Egypt), Alice ter Meulen (Geneva, Switzerland), Michael Augustin (Bremen, Germany), Ashton Nichols (Pennsylvania, USA) and others, (2010)

“Swamp Dweller,” “A Message to the Muse,” “There is no Noonday,” “Fisherman,” “”The Flowers Are as Dead,” “The Tree House,” “Bobcat,” Atenea: A Bilingual Journal for the Humanities and Social Sciences, special issue on “Humans and the Environment” 26:1 (2006): 167-73

“A Living Calendar: A Twelve Poem Cycle,” PAN: Philosophy, Activism, Nature (3:2005): 61-65

“In the field there is an animal,” “Open Season,” and “Animate Nature,” in “Regarding the Rural” issue of Terrain: A Journal of the Natural and Built Environments (10: Fall 2001). Included in “Best of Terrain 1-10″ 11 (2002)

“Song for a Singer,” “Birchbark: Mutability Revisited,” “Written After Swimming Across the Thames,” Dickinson Review (2001)

“Bonfire,” and “At the Cider Press” in The Adirondack Review (3, Fall 2000)

“A Cabin Burns” in Southern Humanities Review (34:2, 2000)

“Britons Carrying Their Treasures” in “Crossing Cultures” issue of Mattoid (Australia, 1998)

“Shad at the Rappahannock Fall Line” in Country Magazine 3:4 (April 1982)

“November” in Resurgence (UK, May-June 1981)

“Threadneedle Lament” in Old World Anthology (1977)

“Epiphany” in Arts Journal (honorable mention, National Poetry Prize, 1977)

London Lyrics, a chapbook published by the William Morris Centre (London: Kelmscott House Press, 1978)


“The Last Sturgeon,” Bestia (8: 2001/02): 81-89

“The Pepsi Generation,” Dickinson Review (15: Spring 2001): 105-116

“Maryland is for Crabs,” The Maryland Review (12: Winter/Spring 2000): 8-14


Ph.D. University of Virginia, 1984: English–Dissertation: “The Poetics of Epiphany:   Nineteenth-Century Origins of the Modern Literary Moment
–Visiting Scholar, Cambridge University, Summer 1983

M.A. University of Virginia, 1979: English–Thesis: “Blessed Moods and Flights of Fire:   Transformations of Self-Consciousness in Wordsworth and Shelley”

B.A. University of Virginia, 1975: Philosophy, High Honors
–Full-Course Student, Philosophy, University College London, 1973-74


Dickinson College:

–Walter E. Beach ’56 Distinguished Chair in Sustainability Studies (joint appointment in Environmental Studies & Sciences and English Departments), 2010-current                                                                                                                                                         –John J. Curley ’60 and Ann Conser Curley ’63 Faculty Professor of the Liberal Arts                                                                           –Charles A. Dana Professor of English, 2002-03
–Professor, English, 1998-2002 (Department Chair, English, 2001-03)
–Associate Dean of the College, 1998-99
–Associate Professor, English, 1992-1998
–Chair, Department of English, 1997-98
–Director, Dickinson Programs in England:
–University of East Anglia, Norwich, Visiting Lecturer, 1994-95
–Assistant Professor, English, 1988-1992
Auburn University: Assistant Professor, English, 1984-1988
The Tandem School: Acting Headmaster, 1983; Assistant Headmaster, 1981-83
–Director of Admissions, 1979-81
–English Department, 1979-83
The National Trust for Historic Preservation: Editor, 1977-78
The Free Lance-Star: Staff Reporter, 1976


Thoreau and American Nature Writing (ENGL 403/04), Postnational Fiction (403/404), Frankenstein and Other Romantic Monsters (403/404), Romantic Women? Victorian Men? (403/404), The Myth of Frankenstein (403/404), Revolutionary Romanticism (403/404), Wordsworth (403), Shelley and His Circle (407), Wordsworth, Browning, Yeats (407), Wordsworth and Hardy in Hyperspace (399), Modern Poetry (393), Thoreau, Wilderness, and American Writing (379), Romantic Transcendentalism (370), Romanticism (360), Romantic Postmodernism (379 & 322), Nineteenth-Century Literature (360 & 204), Humanities 309/310 (London and the University of East Anglia), Critical Approaches and Literary Methods (220), Expository Writing (211), Writing About Natural History: Natural History Mosaic with Marcus Key and Gene Wingert (212), Writing About the Galapagos (212), Writing About Nature (212), American Nature Writing: Environment, Culture, and Values (ENST 111 / ENGL 101), Literature and Science (101), Literature and the Environment (101), African and American Novels (101), South African Literature (101), Romantic Natural History (101), Literary Lives (121), Literature of Protest (121); Colonizing Consciousness (121),  London as a Text: A City and a World (Humanities 109); Thoreau and American Nature Writing, The Myth of Frankenstein, The “Web” of Nature Writing; Nature in the Text;  Nature, Self and Society  (First-Year Seminars).


Modern Language Association (MLA), Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE), Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Humanities Education (AASHE), North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR), International Association of Environmental Philosophy (IAEP), The William Morris Society, Nineteenth-Century Studies Association (NCSA), American Conference on Romanticism (ACR), Society for Ecofeminism, Environmental Justice, and Social Ecology (SEEJSE), Beast Fable Society (BFS)


My next book project, Humanature: Challenges for Homo sapiens in a World of Plants and Animals, will explore the complex tensions between and among human being and the living things around us. It will also explore our need for new relationships with the creatures–and the green life–that surrounds our world.

“Urbanatural Roosting,” the concept first explored in my 2011/2012 (paper) book–Beyond Romantic Ecocriticsm: Toward Urbanatural Roosting (Palgrave Macmillan)–remains a secondary subject of my research work and interests. As a result of requests from readers and reviewers, I am expanding that work into a web-portal:


In addition, my first web-portal, A Romantic Natural History: 1750-1859 continues its survey of writings about the natural world in the century before Darwin in order to understand interactions between literary and scientific writing in the period. The goal is to trace our current environmental concerns to their sources in late Enlightenment ideas about the relation between human life and the natural world. The project can still be found at:


Finally, I am still committed to working with scholars and students of digital humanities and media (as well as all of the tools of information technology) to create new ways to engage scholars and artists in the expanding knowledge-work and creative work that is resulting from our ongoing digital revolution.


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5 Responses to B. Ashton Nichols

  1. Christopher Guidette says:

    Dear Professor Nichols,
    I’ve listened to 16 lecture series of the Great Courses offerings and yours on
    Emerson, Thoreau,and the Transcendentalist Movement — which I completed today on my drive from Concord, MA to my home in Otis, MA — was the most inspiring and insightful. What a shame that so important an influence on our American culture gets less than a passing mention in most junior or senior high school English classes. Your lectures have led me to read Walden and Little Women and I’ll soon start Emerson’s essays. I have one question: You credit Romanticism of Germany and England with having a major role in inspiring the Transcendentalist Movement (quite correctly, I think) but you do not mention Voltaire and The Enlightenment, which I believe to be the foundation of modern thought predicated on questioning know absolutes — especially religion — social order and aristocracy. I might be excessive in this view but I’d love to know your response. Thanks again for a great course.

    • romnat says:

      Christopher: You are surely right that the Enlightenment and Voltaire lie in the deep background as a foundation for a great deal of intellectual activity from the 17th century forward. It is not so much that your point is “excessive,” as you say, but that Enlightenment thinking was taken in with the air and water of all philosophical thinking during these centuries in Europe, and later in America, in a way that made it almost naturalized–that is to say, taken for granted or accepted–as the standard against which all other thinking was judged. So, the church, especially The Church at Rome, was considered an infallible guide by those countless thousands of people who still chose not to question religious dogma, while Voltaire, the French philosophes, the encyclopedists, and other freethinkers, set forth a way of thinking that was not so much a school of thought, or a named philosophy, as it was a method that emphasized the scientific method, a rigorous rationalism, and a commitment to logic and “reason”–as in “The Age of Reason”–to the exclusion of all other possibilities. The reason I do not emphasize this as a “source” for American Transcendentalism is that Emerson and his followers were actually questioning these ideas–and challenging them–with an emphasis on intuition (a non-rational idea if there ever was one), what we might now call emotional intelligence (another unmeasurable quality), and a truth that might prove true always and forever for all religions, all philosophies, and all ways of seeking to understand and appreciate the ground of our being, the basis of all thought (not just Enlightenment thinking), all judgement, and all philosophy. Whether they succeeded is still open to debate. Hope this helps to clarify my own thinking on this important issue. Glad you enjoyed the lectures.

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