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 "Austen, Actresses, and Accessories: Much Ado About Muffs" (Palgrave Pivot Series, 2014), "Fashioning Celebrity: Eighteenth-Century British Actresses and Strategies for Image Making" (Ohio State UP, 2011), and co-editor with Elaine McGirr of "Stage Mothers: Women, Work, and the Theater 1660-1830 "(Bucknell UP, 2014). Currently, she is working on a new book entitled "Women, Performance, and the Material of Memory 1780-1915."


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

Courses and Publications

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. 


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