Matthew Rigilano, Ph.D.

Matthew Rigilano, Ph.D.
Assistant Teaching Professor, English
Sutherland, 320B
Penn State Abington
119 Sutherland
Abington, PA 19001

I am a scholar and teacher with a wide range of interests, including 18th century British literature and culture, composition and rhetoric, the theory and history of the novel, psychoanalysis, continental philosophy, aesthetics and media. As a literary scholar, I’ve been drawn to a variety of strange representations of subjectivity that haunt early modern and Enlightenment texts, such as invisible characters, comatose characters, and speaking objects. As a cultural critic, I have recently written about the state of small talk in the age of hyperindustrial capitalism. I am currently researching for an essay on perversion as the logic of contemporary literary fiction. As a teacher, I encourage students in my writing courses to explore new media technologies and to consider their implications for what it means to be human in the 21st century. 

Courses Taught

  • English 015: Rhetoric and Composition
  • English 030H: Honors Rhetoric and Composition
  • English 163N: Defining the Animal
  • English 202A: Effective Writing in Social Sciences
  • English 202B: Effective Writing in Humanities
  • English 201: What is Literature
  • English 211: Introduction to Writing Studies
  • English 447: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century

Select Awards, Fellowships, and Honors

Ahmanson-Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA (2017–2018)

Presidential Fellowship, SUNY Buffalo (2008–2012)

Teaching Assistantship, SUNY Buffalo (2008–2013)

Teaching Assistantship, Syracuse University (2006–2008)

Peer Reviewed Articles  

“The Decline of Phatic Efficiency.” Postmodern Culture 32.2 (January 2022). 

“Waking the Living-Dead Man: The Biopolitics of Early Modern Sleep.” Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 17.4 (Fall 2017). 

“Embodying the Invisible: Materiality and Subjectivity in Cavendish, Manley, and Haywood.” The Eighteenth Century: Theory & Interpretation 57.1 (Spring 2016). 

“The Recess Does Not Exist: Absorption, Literality, and Feminine Subjectivity in Sophia Lee’s The Recess.” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 26.2 (Winter 2014). 

Other Publications 

“Novel Empiricisms.” Review of Empiricism and the Early Theory of the Novel: Fielding to Austin, by Roger Maioli and Fictional Matter: Empiricism, Corpuscles, and the Novel, by Helen Thompson. Eighteenth-Century Life 45.1 (January 2021). 

Review of Eliza Haywood’s The Unfortunate Founding (1740), ed. Carol Stewart, in Eighteenth-Century Fiction 33.1 (Fall 2020).  

“Inscribing the Infinite,” The Center & Clark Newsletter, UCLA Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies (Winter 2019).   

“Insensibly Led: Digression and/as Literature.” The Rambling 1.2 (Fall 2018). https://the-rambling.com/2018/10/18/insensibly-led/ 

“Pati Hill’s Impossible Objects.” Pati Hill: Photocopier (Exhibition Catalog). Arcadia University (Spring 2017).

Ph D, English (18th-century British literature), The State University of New York at Buffalo

MA, English, Syracuse University

BA, English, Pennsylvania State University

Recent Presentations 

“The Pervert’s Discourse and the Social Superego.” Lacan: Clinic & Culture. Pittsburgh, PA. October 2022. 

“‘Every Several Nothings’: Cavendish and the Not-All.” Panel on “The Philosophy of Gender.” The Online Olio Webinar Series. 17 October 2021.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnYm7i18GcA 

“Another World of Spirits: Cavendish and Swedenborg.” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. 2021 Convention. Online. April 2021.  

“‘Scrambling, mutilated, scanty, and irregular’: On Character.” Northeast American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. 2018 Convention. Rochester, NY. October 2018.  

“‘Where This ends, and where That begins’: Mediating Chit-Chat in the Eighteenth Century.” Center for the 17th- & 18th-Century Studies, UCLA. “Becoming Media.” Los Angeles, CA. October 2017.