Faculty Biographies

Laura Runge

Laura Runge

Professor of English


Office: TBA
Phone: 813-974-9496
Email: runge@usf.edu



  • PhD, Emory University (English with certificate in Women’s Studies)


Newly published:  Quantitative Literary Analysis of the Works of Aphra Behn: Words of Passion (Anthem Press, 2023) with OA data hosted by the USF Scholar Commons: https://digitalcommons.usf.edu/qla_aphra_behn_data/

Aphra Behn (1640–1689), a prolific and popular playwright, poet, novelist, and translator, has an extensive corpus of literature that plays a key role in literary history as the work of a female author. Based upon word counts, Quantitative Literary Analysis of the Works of Aphra Behn chronicles Behn’s obsession with the mystery and power of love and early modern passions through her entire oeuvre. Love, for Behn, is an external power, sometimes figured as the boy god Cupid or an abstraction, that enters the body with pain and pleasure and leaves the victim searching for understanding. The book follows two threads of argument: one using quantitative measures to indicate passages for significant close reading of preferred language and the other focused upon her use of small words like thou, sir, or said. Situating her writings in the conflicts of early modern discourses on the passions, the book demonstrates that Behn’s language reveals generic patterns for representing love that include a warning about its potential to destroy the body and condemn the soul. Taken as a whole, Behn’s literary production is an extraordinary examination of the early modern concept of love at a moment of change in the language and meaning of the passions.

I specialize in Restoration and Eighteenth-century British Literature, Women Authors, Book History, Digital Humanities, and to a lesser degree pedagogy.  I have published eight books, as well as articles, book chapters, essays, digital projects, and reviews.  My intellectual home is the late seventeenth century, and my analytic focus is historical, intersectional, and feminist with a particular interest in form, nonfictional prose (such as letters and essays), criticism, and archival work.  My contemporary interests include mindfulness and digital publication and media transformation (manuscript to print and print to digital, adaptations of early modern literature).

My current research focuses on Aphra Behn and the music of the early Baroque period, methods of digital literary analysis and a brief biography of Aphra Behn as a denizen of Grub Street.  I am a founding editor and continuing editor-in-chief for the online open-access journal ABO: Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts 1640-1830.

I have directed nine dissertations to completion.  My students have written dissertations mostly, but not exclusively, on eighteenth-century subjects including ecocritical readings of women’s poetry, Behn’s The Rover in contemporary productions directed by women, food and women’s travel writing, the animal-human continuum, animal speech in eighteenth-century literature, and animals in Florida literature.  I have served on over thirty PhD committees and twenty-five masters degree committees.

Many of my publications are available on USF Digital Commons, search Digital Commons@ University of South Florida, or Academia.Edu http://usf.academia.edu/LauraRunge or Research Gate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Laura-Runge.


  • Circuit of Apollo: Eighteenth-century Women’s Tributes to Women, co-edited with Jessica L. Cook, University of Delaware Press, 2019
  • “Austen and Computation 2.0,” Texas Studies in Literature and Language, special issue: What’s Next for Jane Austen, ed. Janine Barchas and Devoney Looser, December 2019: 397-415.
  • “Constructing Place in Oroonoko.” Gender and Space in Britain, 1660-1820. Ed. Karen Gevirtz and Mona Narain. Farnham: Ashgate, 2014. 19-32. Winner of the 2015 Percy G. Adams prize from the Southeastern American Society for Eighteenth-century Studies.
  • “Tracing a Genealogy of OroonokoEssays and Studies, special volume “British Literature and Print Culture,” ed. Sandro Jung, for the English Association, vol. 66 (2013): 5-32
  • Gender and Language in British Literary Criticism, 1660-1790, Cambridge UP, Dec. 1997. Released in paperback (ISBN 13 978 0 521 02145 6) October 2005.