Fred  Parker Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Fred Parker

Senior Lecturer
University of Cambridge

In On Declaring Love: Eighteenth-Century Literature and Jane Austen, Fred Parker thinks about why speaking love is risky and difficult, hazarding the integrity of the self. What is the relation between what you can tell and what you can feel? How is ‘speaking the heart’ to be reconciled with our social being? The book explores these questions across a range of eighteenth-century writing – by Blake, Hays, Richardson, Diderot, Chesterfield, Goldsmith, Boswell – before focusing on Austen.

Subjects: Literature


At Cambridge I teach English literature of the long eighteenth century, from Milton through to the Romantics; I’m also much involved with the final-year paper on Tragedy, from the Greeks to the present day. My interests tend to converge on connections between the literary and the ethical, broadly understood. Literary criticism which sounds highly professionalized or specialist makes me unhappy, and I try to write in a way that is as intelligent and scholarly but also as accessible as I can make it; Johnson’s idea of ‘the common reader … uncorrupted by literary prejudices’ is the reader I attempt to hold in mind. Before ‘On Declaring Love: Eighteenth-Century Literature and Jane Austen’, I published three books. ‘Johnson’s Shakespeare’ is a defence of Samuel Johnson’s unfamiliar way of engaging with the plays, despite the Romantic readings that have come between him and us. ‘Scepticism and Literature’ is written in praise of eighteenth-century writers who build creative achievement on philosophical uncertainty. And ‘The Devil as Muse’ explores the satanic affinities of creativity in Blake and Byron, as well as Goethe’s Mephistopheles and Mann’s ‘Doctor Faustus’.


Featured Title
 Featured Title - Declaring Love in Eighteenth-Century Literature - 1st Edition book cover