Ryan Heuser

I am a Ph.D. candidate in English at Stanford University, studying British literature and culture in the long eighteenth century. My dissertation proposes a taxonomy of “invisible agents” in the period, arguing that Smith’s “invisible hand” and “impartial spectator” participate within a broader culture of quasi-agential explanation and exchange—as seen, for instance, in the pervasive literary usage of personified abstractions, as well as in Hobbes’ displacement of sovereignty onto the invisible abstraction of the State. I also work more generally on the history of abstraction; historical prosody and contemporary metrics; the literary geography of London; and the theory and practice of the digital humanities. Most of my research makes use of computational and other quantitative approaches to literature. I am a member of the Stanford Literary Lab, and from 2011-2015 served as its Associate Research Director and principal coder. You can also find me on Twitter, on Github, and on Academia.edu. I update a blog here.

Portrait photo.