Contact Information


Laura Engel specializes in eighteenth-century British literature with a focus on drama, gender studies, performance theory, material culture, and theater history. She is the author of Women, Performance, and the Material of Memory: The Archival Tourist (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), Austen, Actresses, and Accessories (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), Fashioning Celebrity: Eighteenth-Century British Actresses and Strategies for Image Making (Ohio State University Press, 2011) and co-editor of Stage Mothers: Women, Work, and the Theater 1660-1830 (Bucknell University Press, 2015). She recently co-curated an exhibition entitled "Artful Nature: Fashion and Theatricality" at the Lewis Walpole Library at Yale University and is working on a new digital book project, The Art of the Actress in the Eighteenth Century. She is the editor of the book series “Performing Celebrity” for the University of Delaware Press. 


Ph.D., English, Columbia University, 2001
M. Phil., English, Columbia University, 1995
M.A., English, Columbia University, 1992
B.A., English, Bryn Mawr College, 1990

Recent Courses Taught


  • ENG 450W-01 Restoration Women Writers
  • ENG 418W-01 Eighteenth-Century Women Playwrights
  • ENG 418W-01 Jane Austen
  • ENG 450W-02 The Libertine
  • ENG 300W-01 Critical Issues in Literary Studies
  • ENG IHP 104 Freshman Honors Seminar
  • ENG 201-01 Introduction to Drama


  • ENG 561-29 Engendering the Self: Eighteenth-Century Diaries and Letters
  • ENG 561-29 Sensation Literature
  • ENG 561-29 Staging Gender in the Eighteenth-Century Theater
  • ENG 561-29 Gothic Bodies
  • ENG 568-29 Contemporary American and British Drama

Recent Publications

Actresses, Accessories, and Austen: Much Ado About Muffs. (Palgrave Pivot Series, 2014).

Laura Engel and Elaine McGirr eds. Stage Mothers: Women, Work, and the Theater. (Bucknell UP, 2014)

"The Secret Life of Archives: Sally Siddons, Sir Thomas Lawrence, and The Material of Memory," ABO: Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts, 1640-1830: Vol. 4: Iss. 1, Article 2.

Fashioning Celebrity: Eighteenth-Century British Actresses and Strategies for Image Making(Columbus, Ohio State University Press, May 2011). 

Editor, The Public's Open to Us All: Essays on Women and Performance in Eighteenth-Century England. (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).

"Representations of Women in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Drama" for The Encyclopedia of British Literature 1660-1789 edited by Gary Day and Jack Lynch (Wiley Blackwell, 2015).

"Close Encounters: Frances Burney, Actresses, and Models for Female Celebrity" in The Burney Journal, Volume 12, 2014, 7-27.

"The Muff Affair: Fashioning Celebrity in the Portraits of Late Eighteenth-Century Actresses" in Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture. Volume 13, Issue 3, September, 2009, 278-298. 

"The Personating of Queens: Lady Macbeth, Sarah Siddons, and the Creation of Female Celebrity in the Late Eighteenth Century" in Macbeth: New Critical Studies, Nicholas Moschovakis ed. (New York: Routledge Press, 2008) 240-249.

"Notorious Celebrity: Mary Wells, Madness and Theatricality" in Eighteenth-Century Women, Volume V, 2008 181-205. Reprint in The English Malady: Enabling and Disabling Fictions, Glen Colburn ed. (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008) 305-325. 

The Archival Tourist: Women, Performance, and the Material of Memory 1780- 1915 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).

“Fashioning the Female Artist: Allegory and Celebrity in Lady Diana Beauclerk’s Watercolors of The Faerie QueeneThe Edinburgh Companion to Romanticism and the Arts. Maureen McCue and Sophie Thomas eds. (Edinburgh University Press, 2023)374-390.  

“Shadow Jane” in Jane Austen Sex, Romance and Representation edited by Nora Nachumi and Steff Oppenhiem (Rochester University Press, 2022) 216-226.

“All About my Mother: Archives, Art, and Memory,” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, Vol. 40, No. 2, Fall 2021, 209-214.

Co-author with Emily Rutter “Introduction to Women and Archive Special Issue,” Tulsa Studies In Women’s Literature, Vol. 40, No. 1, Spring 2020, 5-14.

“The Archival Tourist Take Two: Looking at Legacies of Eighteenth-Century Portraiture through the work of Elizabeth Colomba and Fabiola Jean-Louis,” Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Volume 3, No. 34, Summer 2020, 557-576.

“The Lady Vanishes: Madame Tussaud’s Self Portrait and Material Legacies” A Nation of Makers: Material Literacies in Eighteenth-Century Britain, 1660-1830. Chloe Wigtson Smith and Serena Dyer Eds. (Bloomsbury Press, 2020) 239-256.

“Eighteenth Century Actresses and Material Culture” The Palgrave Handbook of the History of Women on Stage. Jan Sewell and Clare Smout eds. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) 229-246.

“Magazine Miniatures: Portraits of Actresses, Princesses, and Queens in Late Eighteenth-Century Periodicals” Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain 1660-1840. Jennie Batchelor and Manushang Powell Eds. (Edinburgh University Press, 2018) 458-473.

“Epilogue: Body Double-Katharine Hepburn at Madame Tussauds” Public Interiors: Intimacy and Celebrity in Eighteenth-Century Literary Culture. Victoria Joule and Emrys Jones Eds. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) 293-298.

“Stage Beauties: Actresses and Celebrity Culture,” Literature Compass, Vol. 13, Iss.12, December 2016, 749-761.


Women, Work, and Clothes in the Eighteenth-Century Novel by Chloe Wigston Smith (Cambridge UP, 2013) in Women's Writing, Volume 21, Issue 2, May 2014.

Sarah Siddons Audio Files: Romanticism and the Lost Voice, by Judith Pascoe (University of Michigan Press, 2011) Women's Writing, Vol. 20, Number 2, 283-285, May 2013.

Bettymania and the Birth of Celebrity Culture, by Jeffrey Kahan (Lehigh University Press, 2010) (forthcoming in 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, And Inquiries in the Early Modern Era) 

Rival Queens: Actresses, Performance, and The Eighteenth-Century British Theatre, by Felicity Nussbaum (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010) in Women's Writing Vol. 18, No. 4 November 2011, pp. 568-571