Document Actions

You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2020/21 Dr. Jacob Sider Jost

Dr. Jacob Sider Jost

Dickinson College Carlisle
English Literature
Junior Fellow
Marie S. Curie FCFP Fellow
September 2017 - August 2018


I received a B.A. in English and German from Goshen College (2002), studying at the Philipps University of Marburg during the 2000-2001 academic year.  I then read English at St. John’s College, Oxford as a Marshall Scholar (B.A. 2005, M.A. 2009), and received a Ph.D. in English from Harvard University (2011).  I was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows (2011-14) and have also been since 2011 an assistant professor of English at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA.

I study eighteenth-century British literature and culture.  My first book, Prose Immortality, 1711-1819, examines the ways that British authors from Addison to Keats imagine literary fame and the personal afterlife.  In addition to the articles listed below I have published on David Hume as a literary stylist, the ideology of Grand Tour travel writing, a possible allusion to Horace in Hamlet, and other topics at the intersection of criticism, philosophy, and intellectual history.

My second book, working title Interest in the Long Eighteenth Century, documents the shifting meanings of the word “interest” in Britain, focusing on the realms of partisan politics, government finance, economic thought, and aesthetics, and reading figures such as Shaftesbury, Defoe, Hervey, Johnson, Hume, Smith, and Equiano. 

Selected Publications


  • Prose Immortality, 1711-1819 (University of Virginia Press, 2015).  Winner of the Walker Cowen Prize for Eighteenth-Century Studies



  • “The Interest of Crusoe,” Essays in Criticism 66:3, 301-19 (July 2016)
  • “The Gentleman’s Magazine and the Symbolic Economy of Eighteenth-Century Poetry,” Review of English Studies66:277, 915-35 (November 2015)
  • “Bergotte's Other Patch of Yellow: A Fragment of Heraclitus in Proust's La Prisonnière,” Modern Philology 112:4, 713-20 (May 2015)
  • “David Hume, History Painter” ELH 81:1, 143-65 (Spring 2014)

FRIAS Project

Interest in the Long Eighteenth Century

From social science to aesthetics, “interest” is an axiomatic concept at the foundation of a wide range of modern disciplines. Economists assume that we are self-interested. Political scientists divide us into interest groups. Our financial system is based on the payment of interest. Poets, authors, and artists seek to create works that literary critics will find interesting. This study explains why "interest" ranges so widely, drawing on sources including Locke, Defoe, Smith, Kant, and Proust to argue that the term has served throughout the modern period as a conceptual link between discourses, connecting (for instance) interesting narratives to interestbearing loans, mental interests to political interest groups, and economic self-interest to imaginative interest in others.