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English Department

Allen Reddick

Allen Reddick, Prof. Dr.

  • Em. Professor für Englische Literatur/Full Professor of English Literature


Allen Reddick received his B.A. from Sewanee: the University of the South, his M.A. from Cambridge University, and Ph.D. from Columbia University in New York. From there, he became Assistant, then Associate Professor of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University from 1985 until 1993. During three of these years he also served as director ("Head Tutor") of the Undergraduate Program of English at Harvard. In 1993, he came to the University of Zurich as Full Professor of English Literature. He has held grants or fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the British Academy, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), the Howard Foundation, Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities, the Bibliographical Society of America, the Josephine de Karman Foundation, the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, the American Society for 18th-Century Studies, and the Elsevier Fellowship of the Scaliger Institute, Leiden University (2013-14). He was elected Fellow of the Linnean Society of London in 2011.

His teaching involves a wide range of topics and writers pertaining but not confined to the period from the late 16th- to the early 19th centuries. He also teaches courses on topics and writers from the 20th century.

Prof. Reddick’s research interests include a study of wit (involving language, epistemology, gender, rhetoric, humor, sociality, and politics) from Shakespeare to Blake; satire; book history and circulation of ideas: the distribution of republican books in England and North America, and the creation of public space in which their ideas could be absorbed; the Enlightenment encyclopedia and dictionary; painting; and the works of Samuel Johnson. At present, he is compiling a multi-volume description and analysis of republican and/or radical books, donated by the republican Thomas Hollis to institutions throughout England, Continental Europe, and the American Colonies. This is the largest gift of books by an individual in history before the twentieth century.



Samuel Johnson's Unpublished Revisions to the Dictionary of the English Language: A Facsimile Edition (Cambridge University Press, 2005)

The Making of Johnson's Dictionary, 1746-1773 (Cambridge University Press, 1990; 2nd revised edition, 1996); finalist for the Louis Gottschalk Prize of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies for the year's outstanding book published in the field of 18th-century studies


"Introduction" to "From the Great Desire of Promoting Learning": Thomas Hollis's Gifts to the Harvard College Library (Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 2009), pp. 1-31

Johnson's Dictionary: the Sneyd-Gimbel Copy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1991)

In progress:

Thomas Hollis's Dragon's Teeth: Republican English Books given anonymously by Thomas Hollis to the City of Bern. A descriptive bibliography and analysis (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Library Bulletin)

Thomas Hollis's Dragon's Teeth (II): Anti-Jesuit and Republican Books given anonymously by Thomas Hollis to the City of Zurich and other European Cities. A descriptive bibliography and analysis (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Library Bulletin)

Thomas Hollis's Republican Books and the European Network: Anonymous Gifts on the Continent, 1750-1774 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Library Bulletin and Harvard University Press)

Strange Poetics: Wit from Shakespeare to Blake


Senior contributing author of Johnson's Dictionary Website, maintained by the University of Birmingham, UK

Selected articles and chapters:

"So What's Wrong with 'Buxom'? Samuel Johnson, Poetical Language, and Semantics," Selected Proceedings of the 2012 Symposium on New Approaches in English Historical Lexis (HEL-LEX 3), ed. R. W. McConchie, Teo Juvonen, Mark Kaunisto, Minna Nevala, and Jukka Tyrkkö (Somerville, MA: Cascadilla, 2013), 159-165

"Vindicating Milton: Poetic Misprision in Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language,Johnson After Three Centuries: New Light on Texts and Contexts, ed. Thomas Horrocks and Howard Weinbrot (Harvard Library Bulletin, Harvard University Press, 2011)

"Thomas Hollis's Gifts to Linnaeus," PuLSe: The Linnean Society of London (Issue 10), June 2011

"Past and Present in Johnson's Dictionary," in Perspectives on 17th- and 18th-Century European Lexicography, special issue International Journal of Lexicography, 23: 2 (June 2010), 207-222

"O Britannia, hail! James Boswell and Thomas Hollis at Liberty in Geneva and Switzerland," Genéve, lieu d'Angleterre 1725-1814/Geneva, an English Enclave 1725-1814, ed. Valerie Cossy, Béla Kapossy, and Richard Whatmore (Geneva: Editions Slatkins, 2009), 241-268

"Living Lives: The Return of Johnson's Lives of the English Poets," Huntington Library Quarterly 71: 3 (September 2008), 539-552

"Johnson and Richardson," The Oxford History of English Lexicography, ed. A. P. Cowie (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)

"Les dictionnaires anglais du XVIIIe siècle," Les Dictionnaires en Europe au XVIIIe siècle, special number, Revue Dix-huitième siècle, 2006

"Revision and the Limits of Collaboration: Hands and Texts in Johnson's Dictionary," New Perspectives on Johnson's Dictionary, ed. Jack Lynch and Anne McDermott (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005)

"Recent Studies in the Restoration and Eighteenth Century," SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, 43 (Summer 2003)

"Dictionaries," in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, gen. ed. Alan Kors (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)

"Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language and its Texts: Quotation, Context, Anti-Thematics," Yearbook of English Studies 28, (1998)

"Avoiding Swift: Influence and the Body." Aileen Douglas, Patrick Kelly and Ian Campbell Ross, eds. Locating Swift: Essays from Dublin on the 250th Anniversary of the Death of Jonathan Swift, 1667 1745. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1998

'Johnson Beyond Jacobitism: Signs of Polemic in the Dictionary and the Life of Milton' in ELH: English Literary History, 64 (1997)

"G.B. Tiepolo Tricentennial Year: Exhibitions and Reconsiderations," Eighteenth-Century Studies 30 (1997)

"Swift's Knife; or, the Way Inward," in Symbolik von Weg und Reise, ed. Paul Michel (Bern/Frankfurt, 1992)

Editorial Board:

SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900; Age of Johnson: A Scholarly Annual, SEAA: Société d'études anglo-américaines des XViie et XVIIIe siécles (journal)