David Carroll Simon
David Carroll Simon works in the field of comparative literature, with a focus on the early modern period. In addition to questions of literary form and genre, he is interested in the history of science and philosophy; the history of the passions, including the history of sexuality; Critical Theory and other political-philosophical responses to capitalism; feminism, including early modern traditions; and social and economic history.
Simon is the author of Light without Heat: The Observational Mood from Bacon to Milton (Cornell University Press, 2018), which argues for the importance of careless inattention and open-ended receptivity to the literary and philosophical experiments of England's scientific revolution. He has published essays on nonchalance (in English Literary History), schadenfreude (in Critical Inquiry), practical jokes (in Studies in Philology), and panoramic vision (in Criticism). He is now at work on a study of comedy, gender subordination, sexuality, and the question of disenchantment.
Recently, Simon has taught courses on Shakespeare, Milton, methods in the discipline of English, the literature and philosophy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, science and fiction, ethico-political dimensions of comedy, and recent developments in feminist theory and LGBTQ Studies.
“Vicious Pranks: Comedy and Cruelty in Rabelais and Shakespeare”
This essay juxtaposes vicious pranks in François Rabelais’s Pantagruel (1532) and William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (1601) in order to describe a form of comic violence that functions as a knowledge claim about its target.
“Milton’s Panorama: Paradise Regained in the Age of Critique”
This essay begins with a discussion of recent debates about the value of “critique” and other forms of adversarial reading, arguing that influential proposals for “post-critical” alternatives have privileged the role of fixed psychic states in the practic
Light without Heat: The Observational Mood from Bacon to Milton
In Light without Heat, David Carroll Simon argues for the importance of carelessness to the literary and scientific experiments of the seventeenth century.
“The Anatomy of Schadenfreude; or, Montaigne’s Laughter"
Philosophers have often condemned schadenfreude, the pleasure someone takes in someone else’s suffering, as proof of moral failure
“Andrew Marvell and the Epistemology of Carelessness”
This essay considers the “wildly digressive voice” and “careless receptivity” (558) in Andrew Marvell’s Upon Appleton House (1651).