Patricia Meyer Spacks

Patricia Ann Meyer Spacks (born 1929) is an American literary scholar. She is the Edgar F. Shannon Professor Emerita at the University of Virginia and former President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Modern Language Association.[1] She specializes in eighteenth century English Literature and also writes cultural criticism on varied subjects such as boredom, gossip, and feminism.

Spacks was born to Norman and Lillian Talcott Meyer in San Francisco, California. She received a B.A. from Rollins College in 1949, an M.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the University of California in 1955. From 1955 to 1978 she was married to poet Barry Spacks.[2]

She has chaired English departments at Wellesley College, Yale University, and the University of Virginia. She was the first Humanities Scholar-in-Residence at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences before becoming the Academy's President from 2001 to 2006.[3] Spacks has earned the Guggenheim Fellowship, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and an Honorary Doctorate from Rollins College.[2] She has been the chair of the board of directors of the American Council of Learned Societies and a trustee of the National Humanities Center.[4]

Selected works

  • Imagining a Self: Autobiography and Novel in Eighteenth-Centry England (1976)
  • The Adolescent Idea: Myths of Youth and the Adult Imagination (1981)
  • Gossip (1985)
  • Desire and Truth: Functions of Plot in Eighteenth-Century English Novels (1990)
  • Boredom: The Literary History of a State of Mind (1995)
  • Privacy: Concealing the Eighteenth-Century Self" (2003)
  • Novel Beginnings: Experiments in Eighteenth-Centry English Fiction" (2006)
  • On Rereading (2011)


  1. ^ "Department of English - Patricia Meyer Spacks". english.as.virginia.edu. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Spacks, Patricia (Ann) Meyer". encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  3. ^ Spacks, Patricia Meyer; Lauterbach, Elise (2008). Imagining Selves: Essays in Honor of Patricia Meyer Spacks. University of Delaware Press. ISBN 9780874130126. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  4. ^ "American Academy President Patricia Meyer Spacks Addresses Joint Meeting of the Academy and the Boston Athenaeum Press Release". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. 2003. Retrieved 30 June 2019.

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