Wendy Raphael Roberts

Wendy Raphael Roberts

Associate Professor
Department of English


Humanities 341

PhD, Northwestern University

Wendy Roberts

Professor Roberts joined the faculty in 2013 after receiving her PhD in English from Northwestern University and her Master's in English from the University of Arizona. Her research and teaching interests include early American literature and culture, early evangelical culture, the intersections of religion and historical poetics, conceptions of the secular, manuscript cultures and the writer Phillis Wheatley (Peters).

Her first book, Awakening Verse: The Poetics of Early American Evangelicalism (Oxford UP, 2020), which received the Early American Literature 2022 Book Award, demonstrates how a vibrant and popular revival poetics exercised a substantial effect on the landscape of American religion, literature, and culture. Her current project focuses on the manuscript presence of Phillis Wheatley for which she has been awarded an NEH Fellowship.

Some of her essays can be accessed here, a current interview regarding her work on Wheatley can be found here, and you can read a story about Phillis Wheatley, featuring Professor Roberts, from the Boston Globe here.

Select Awards

NEH Fellowship, 2023-2024

Early American Literature 2022 Book Award for Awakening Verse

Beinecke Library Short-term Research Fellowship, Yale University, 2022

African American History Mellon Short-Term Fellowship, Library Company of Philadelphia, 2022

New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, 2018-2019

NEH Long Term Fellow at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 2015-2016

NEH Long Term Fellow at the American Antiquarian Society, 2015

Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, 2009-2010

E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Fellow in Early American Religious Studies, The McNeil Center for Early

American Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 2010

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship, The Huntington Library, Summer 2010

Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society, April 2009

Lipking-Newberry Fellowship, The Newberry Library, Fall 2008


Select Publications

Journal Articles

“On the Death of Love Rotch,” A New Poem Attributed to Phillis Wheatley (Peters); And a Second Speculative Attribution.” Early American Literature [Italicized]. 58.1 (2023): 155-184.

“Forum: Reimagining Early American Literature.” Resources for American Literary Study.

“Sarah Parsons Moorhead and Revival Poetry.” Resources for American Literary Study [Italicized]. 42.2 (2021): 215-224.

“The Calvinist Couplet: Ralph Erskine’s Gospel Sonnets and Espousal Poetics in Early Evangelicalism.” Special Issue on Poetics. Christianity and Literature. 78.3 (2019): 412-431.

‘“Slavery’ and ‘To Mrs. Eliot on the Death of her Child’: Two New Manuscript Poems Connected to Phillis Wheatley by the Bostonian Poet Ruth Barrell Andrews.” Early American Literature. 51.3 (2016): 665-681.

“Phillis Wheatley’s Sarah Moorhead: An Initial Inquiry.” Special Issue: Stoddard/Whitesell Symposium on Early American Poetry at the American Antiquarian Society. Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. 107.4 (2014). 345-354.

“Demand My Voice: Hearing God in Eighteenth-Century American Poetry.” Early American Literature. Special Issue: “Methods for the Study of Religion in Early American Literature.” 45.1 (2010). 119-44.

Book Chapters

“Poetry.” Oxford Handbook to Early Evangelicalism. Ed. Jonathan Yeager. Oxford, 2022. 464-478.

“‘To assume her Language as my own': The Revival Hymn and the Evangelical Poetess in the Early Republic.” Nineteenth-Century American Literature in Transition, Volume One, 1770-1828. Ed. William Huntting Howell. Cambridge, 2022. 112-126.

“Before Poetry: Revival Verse and Sermonic Address in Eighteenth-Century America.” Companion to American Poetry. Eds. Mary McAleer Balkun, Jeff Gray, and Paul Jaussen. Wiley-Blackwell, 2022. 18-28.

“Evangelical Print Culture.” The Blackwell Companion to American Literature, Volume 1: Origins to 1820. Eds. Susan Belasco, Theresa Strouth Gaul, Linck Johnson, Michael Soto. Wiley-Blackwell. May 2020.


Recent Talks & Lectures

A Newly Unearthed Poem by Phillis Wheatley (Peters) and the Future of the Wheatley Canon. Library Company of Philadelphia. January 26, 2023. You can watch A Newly Unearthed Poem by Phillis Wheatley (Peters) and the Future of the Wheatley Canon on YouTube.