Alumnus to give Holloway Lecture
McLaughlin is a distinguished professor of English and Comparative Literature, a scholar and a writer who has penned two books, including “Paperwork: Fiction and Mass Mediacy in the Paper Age” (U. of Pennsylvania Press, 2005) that challenges traditional approaches to print culture and the mass media in the nineteenth century. In this book, he argues for a literary-critical approach to the impact of the mass media on literature through a series of detailed interpretations of fiction by Poe, Stevenson, Melville, Dickens, and Hardy.
He also is co-translator with Howard Eiland of German-Jewish literary critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin, whose final, unfinished work known as the “Arcades Project” (Translation with notes and introduction, Harvard University Press, 1999), was an enormous collection of writings on the city life of 19th-century Paris, especially concerned with the iron-and-glass outdoor arcades which created the city’s distinctive street life and culture. Many claim this grand narrative is a forerunner to postmodernism.
A member of the Brown University faculty since 1996, McLaughlin also has taught at St. John’s University and as a lecturer at Harvard. He is on academic leave 2008-09. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel) in 1981 and both his master’s and doctoral degrees from New York University.
McLaughlin has been the recipient of research grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Program and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst. He teaches courses on 19th-century Anglo-American and European literature: The Novel from Goethe to Proust: The Victorian Novel; Fiction from Dickens to James; Literature and Money in the Age of Paper. He also teaches a course on the philosophical and critical writings of Walter Benjamin.
Currently, he is working on two book projects: a comparative study of the links between poetry and politics in the work of Charles Baudelaire and Matthew Arnold by way of Walter Benjamin's critical and theoretical writings on lyric poetry; and a collection of essays approaching leading topics in Walter Benjamin's late study of Paris as manifestations of a theory about the virtual quality of experience.