Originally from Sun Valley, ID, Shane Herron grew up in Albuquerque, NM. He received his BA at New York University and his PhD from SUNY Buffalo. An early interest in philosophical and psychoanalytic theories of humor, Dr. Herron edited an issue of the Lacanian journal Umbr(a) while at Buffalo led him to the satire-rich literature of the eighteenth-century, and to a position teaching that subject here at Furman. His current book project, a portion of which recently appeared in Studies in English Literature, continues to draw inspiration from psychoanalysis. The work in progress follows Freud in arguing that while satire may appear to attack or denigrate, the unconscious desire behind satire is actually to overcome critical resistance to play, pleasure, and experimentation to eliminate the guilt from guilty pleasures. Using this framework, Dr. Herron argues that many early novels employ this pleasure-creating aspect of satiric irony, and thus that the seemingly conservative practice actually helped power this apparently most progressive-minded of early modern forms. Buried in there somewhere is another idea about the progressive nature of eighteenth-century conservatism, which may or may not serve as a future project (if you think you can spot it in there, please let him know where). Finally, Dr. Herron is perpetually at work on some iteration of a plan for implementing workable socialism. If you give him the opportunity, he may just tell you about it.

Name Title Description


Texts and Meaning

An introduction to the study of the structures and methods by which texts create and convey meaning. Texts and approaches will be determined by individual instructors, but all emphasize reflective, critical reading, as well as text-centered discussions and written assignments.


Interpretive Strategies

Addressing issues and questions specific to literary and cultural analysis and in the process exploring various interpretive strategies through which ideas of the literary and of literary study are engaged. The content and perspective of this course will vary according to instructor. Students will read primary theoretical texts, and will write about how theories of literature might inform ways of reading prose, poetry, drama, and/or film. By the end of the term, students should have a sense of how over the years critical debate has shaped the many practices of reading literature.


Writing with Writers

Supervised by a prominent writer, students will work on their own creative projects. The genre (prose fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry) will change from year to year.


Restoration & 18th Cnt Eng Lit

Survey of English literature and culture from the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 to the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. Covers a range of literary genres, such as drama, satiric poetry, travel narratives, periodical essays, and novels. Students will examine the historical, social, political, and intellectual backgrounds for these texts, including the declining influence of court culture, the construction of a colonial market economy, discourses of slavery and abolition, and considerations of gender and marriage. Authors studied include: Rochester, Behn, Pope, Equiano, and others.


Eighteenth Century Novel

Novels are so familiar that it is hard to believe that there was ever at time when they did not exist. However, in Shakespeare's day, there was not yet a novel in the modern sense, while a bit over a century later the novel was the most widely-read of non-religious literary forms. In this course we will explore the changes--in literacy, class structure, international relations, gender norms, print culture, language, and religion--that this new genre reflected. Authors covered may include Behn, Manley, Defoe, Haywood, Swift, Lennox, Fielding, Richardson, Collier, Burney, Goldsmith, Radcliffe, and Austen.


Revolution and Reaction

Rather than defining the term, this course focuses on appreciating the diversity of thought collected under conservatism." Starting with a challenge to the notion that conservatism is simply the uncritical acceptance of tradition. Consideration of Edmund Burke and the diversity



Readings in satirical literature of all genres and many periods, with an emphasis on satire of the early eighteenth and the late twentieth centuries. Some attention to satire in forms other than literature. Focus on function, method, characteristics, and problems of the satirical mode.


Senior Seminar in English

Course topic changes with each offering.


Blog w Adam Smith & Karl Marx

Introduces students to the major ethical debates underpinning the early social scientific thought of writers like Hobbes, Mandeville, Hutcheson, Hume, Smith, Ricardo, Mill, and Marx. Writing assignments will explore how this ethical heritage continues to influence contemporary discussions of social policy.


Why Are You Laughing?

Explore the elusive questions of what is comedy and what is funny, in contexts of subversive social and political critique. Focus on understanding comedy's shifting role in art, literature, politics, and culture, as well as its often fraught relationship with questions of race, class, and gender. Develop a sophisticated palate for comedy, studying works ranging from Aristophanes to Archer.


History of Ideas in Context II

Texts and ideas from a variety of disciplines and genres (including the humanities, fine arts, and political philosophy) in both Western and non-Western cultural contexts. Topics will vary.

SUNY Buffalo
New York University

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