Sarah Tindal Kareem

Sarah Kareem is Associate Professor in the Department of English at UCLA where she specializes in literature from the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth century. Her research interests include the history and theory of the novel; fictionality; Enlightenment philosophy; literature and science; realism and the marvelous; and affect theory. Her recent courses include “The Rise of the Novel,“ “The History of Modern Thought,” and “The Wake of Critique.”

Kareem's first book reconsiders the much-discussed “rise of the novel” in eighteenth-century Britain. Eighteenth-Century Fiction and the Reinvention of Wonder (Oxford University Press, 2014) offers a new account of the novel’s development that challenges the perception of the Enlightenment as hostile to marvel. Scholars usually think of eighteenth-century novels as being distinctive for their realism and imagine realism to be antithetical to the literary marvelous. Eighteenth-Century Fiction and the Reinvention of Wonder overturns this view, arguing instead for the centrality of the marvelous and of wonder in the experience eighteenth-century fiction offered its readers. It argues that the effect of eighteenth-century skepticism was not to evacuate wonder from art but to diffuse it within literary realism. Kareem is currently researching and writing her second book, Suspended Worldswhich concerns how figures of suspension and aerial transport, from castles in the air to flying carpets, are used to represent the experience of reading fiction in the long eighteenth century. This project has been supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship.