Alex Creighton


I specialize in eighteenth-century British literature and culture, and in my research I bring together formal and historicist methods to examine music, novels, and visual satire. I am currently an ACLS Emerging Voices Postdoctoral Fellow at U.C. Berkeley, and I have previously taught courses in English, creative writing, expository writing, and women’s and gender studies at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University.

In my current book project, Fiction’s Metronomes, I write about how time shapes the way that we live, as well as about how media that take time to unfold—in particular novels and music—can teach us about historical notions of progress and development. I build on a line of thinking, first explored by 18th-century novelists, readers, and scholars of music, that framed music and novels as forms uniquely attuned to the role of habit in a world increasingly governed by precision timekeeping. Thinking of the novel as a musical technology—prose that loops back to ever more familiar motifs and themes—I argue that a text’s relationship to time depends as much on its improbable yet conspicuous returns as it does on plot.

At Berkeley, I am affiliated with the Art of Writing Program and the Townsend Humanities Center. In addition to teaching, I am offering workshops, editing an undergraduate anthology, and serving as a member of the Townsend Fellows faculty and staff writing workshop. I believe that writing is all about practice: trying new things, making mistakes, revising, trying again. With practice—as well as guidance and encouragement—student writers can exceed the boundaries of what they thought themselves capable.

I received my Ph.D. from the Department of English at Harvard University, with a secondary field in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, in 2021.

Research interests: 

Eighteenth-century British Literature
The novel
Time and temporality
Music and literature
Narrative theory
Visual satire
Theories of gender and sexuality