Jonathan Sachs specializes in British literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with a particular focus on the uses of antiquity in forging literary and political modernity in Britain during this time. He has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Chicago and BA and MA degrees from the University of Cambridge.
Sachs is the author of Romantic Antiquity: Rome in the British Imagination, 1789-1832 (Oxford University Press, 2010). With the aid of a Standard Research Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, he is currently at work on a new book-length study of cultural decline which seeks to explain anxieties about decline in connection with three other major features of the late 18th century: the development of political economy, the rapid expansion of print media, and the emergent fascination with ruins. The book uses each of these categories to raise questions about how changing conceptions of progress and decline can help to index new Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment ways of understanding time and historical experience. Other research interests include eighteenth-century travel to antique lands, emergent understandings of orality, and the importance of place in literary interpretation.
Recently, Professor Sachs has been invited to present aspects of his current research at a number of venues including the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York (UK), Stanford University, Harvard University, the University of Bristol, the University of Glasgow, the California Institute of Technology, Oxford University, Cambridge University, the University of Essex, the University of Reading, and the University of Western Ontario. In addition to the SSHRC, Professor Sachs’s research has received support from the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art in London, the Huntington Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Fonds québécois de la recherché sur la société et la culture, the Keats-Shelley Association of America, and the Special Collections of the University of Chicago Library.
In March 2010, Sachs was the Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor at the University of Bristol, and in 2011 he held Visiting Fellowships at Clare Hall, Cambridge and Trinity Hall, Cambridge.