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Sarah Allison

Assistant Professor

Sarah Allison
Sarah Allison

Sarah Allison received her PhD from Stanford University in 2012.  She specializes in Romantic and Victorian literature, with a particular focus on debates about the purpose of art--what writers in the period thought literature should teach, and how.  Her book project, Reading for the Moral in Victorian Fiction, looks at texts that aim to shape readers into better people without saying it in so many words. Through close analysis of patterns in sentence structure across texts by George Eliot, Charles Dickens, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Reading for the Moral demonstrates that nineteenth-century fiction teaches us not only through the examples of conduct offered by its characters or the wise words delivered by its narrators, but in the structures of judgment encoded in its syntax. Her research combines close reading at the level of the sentence with digital searches that trace patterns across large bodies of work.  She has co-authored two pamphlets on quantitative studies of literary style with the Stanford Literary Lab, reprinted in n+1; her article, “George Eliot’s Discerning Syntax” has been published in ELH.


Ph.D., Stanford University, 2012

Classes Taught

Areas of Expertise

Victorian Literature, Romanticism, Poetry, Literary Theory, Digital Humanities Methods