An expert in the “long” eighteenth-century (1660-1800), Nicholas Hudson specializes in the relationship between literature and cultural, economic and political developments during this pivotal era in the creation of modernity. His three books on Samuel Johnson have focused on this wide-ranging author’s connections with the ideological and political transformations that surrounded him. He is also known for his work on linguistic thought in the eighteenth century and on the invention of “racial” science. His current work concerns relationships between literature – including drama, poetry and the novel – and the emergent social hierarchy of eighteenth-century Britain, particularly the role of literary production in the ascendance of a “middle-class” cultural, economic and political hegemony. He is at work on a monograph on the emergence of the category of “literature” during the eighteenth-century and the rise of English studies. Hudson has an additional background in Enlightenment philosophy and the interconnections between British, French and German philosophical thought during the eighteenth century.
Nicholas Hudson’s teaching is reflective of his interdisciplinary expertise as a scholar. His English 357 focuses on eighteenth-century British texts that illuminate the rise of commercial or early capitalist culture. His version of English 358 studies eighteenth-century travel literature, both fictional and non-fictional, in relation to the rise of the British empire and evolving perceptions of the non-European “Other.” His graduate seminars in past years have concerned issues of race, colonialism, and historical concepts of the “Enlightenment.” He has also offered honors courses on satire from the eighteenth century to the present, and on the representation of the writer or artist in literature.
- Samuel Johnson and Eighteenth Century Thought (Oxford: Clarendon; New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 272 pp. Reissued in paperback, 1990.
- Writing and European Thought, 1600-1830 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). xiii + 222 pp. Reissued in paperback, 2005.
- Samuel Johnson and the Making of Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 290pp. Reissued in paperback, 2007.
- A Political Biography of Samuel Johnson (London: Pickering & Chatto Press, 2013), 243 pp.
- Swift’s Travels: Eighteenth-century Satire and its Legacy, ed with Aaron Santesso (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 304pp.
- The History of Pompey the Little; or, the Adventures of a Lap-Dog (1752), by Francis Coventry (Peterborough and Buffalo: Broadview Press, 2008) Edited with an introduction by Nicholas Hudson. 272pp.
- The Cultural History of Race during the Reformation and Enlightenment. Edited with an introduction by Nicholas Hudson. (London: Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming).
- “From Othello to Abolitionism: Race, Sex, and the Literary Tradition,” in The Cultural History of Race during the Reformation and Enlightenment. Forthcoming.
- “From ‘Nation’ to ‘Race’: The Origin of Racial Classification in Eighteenth-Century Thought,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 29 (1996): 247-64.
- “‘Britons Never Will be Slaves”: National Myth, Conservatism and the Beginnings of British Anti-Slavery,” Eighteenth-Century Studies. 34 (2001): 559-76.
- “‘Hottentots’ and the Evolution of European Racism,” Journal of European Studies 34 (2004): 308-32
- “Literature and Social Class in the Eighteenth Century,” The Oxford Online Handbook in Literature (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935338.013.007.
- “’Literature’ and Social Utility: The Genesis of a Modern Idea, 1780-1800,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 53.2 (2020): 191-210.
- “Prose, Poetry and the Frontiers of British Discourse, 1660-1800.” Forthcoming in Modern Philology.
- “Johnson, Race, and Slavery,” in Greg Clingham (ed.), The New Cambridge Companion to Samuel Johnson (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.)