Matthew Garrett’s writing and teaching concern the relationship between literary form and social history. He is the author of Episodic Poetics: Politics and Literary Form after the Constitution (Oxford University Press, 2014), which puts forward a dialectical theory of the literary episode and examines how episodic forms gave variegated shape to the social, political, and economic conflicts that defined the moment of U.S. national formation.
He is writing a new book, entitled In Place of Reading, on the history and ethics of reading since the sixteenth century; a portion of that project will appear in Critical Inquiry in 2015. Other essays have been published in American Quarterly, ELH, the Journal of Cultural Economy, Radical History Review, and other journals. He teaches courses on American literature and literary theory, including courses on the literature of revolution, transatlantic poetry and poetics, the novel, and narrative theory.
Garrett has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the American Antiquarian Society, and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2008 he has taught at Wesleyan, where he is Associate Professor of English, core faculty member in American Studies, and Director of the Certificate in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory.