UNC English & Comparative Literature


  • 2013, MA English, Murray State University
  • 2011, BA English, Murray State University


Rachael Isom is a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She studies the intersections of religious and poetic identity in nineteenth-century British women’s writing, with particular interest in Romantic-era discourses of enthusiasm, reflection, and feminine restraint. Her dissertation project, “Enthusiastic Poetics and the Woman Writer, 1806-1856,” traces the development of the female enthusiast from Mary Shelley to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Isom’s work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Essays in RomanticismThe Journal of Commonwealth LiteratureStudies in Romanticism, and the Keats-Shelley Review. Currently, she serves as Managing Editor of the Keats-Shelley Journal and works as a Project Assistant for the William Blake Archive.


  • “Prophetic Poetics and Enthusiasm in Mary Shelley’s Valperga,” Studies in Romanticism, forthcoming.
  • “John Watson Dalby’s Poetic Reception of Mary Shelley’s Valperga,” Keats-Shelley Review, forthcoming.
  • “‘With Faithful Pencil’: Pastoral and Picturesque Composition in Beachy Head,” in Placing Charlotte Smith, ed. Jacqueline M. Labbe and Elizabeth A. Dolan (Lehigh University Press, forthcoming).
  • “‘Do you think I can’t read between the lines?’: Discourse of the Unsaid in J. M. Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year,” The Journal of Commonwealth Literature 53.1 (2018): 7-20.
  • “‘Habituat[ing] to Reflection’: Hannah More’s Romantic Novel,” Essays in Romanticism 23.1 (2016): 95-112.
  • “Caroline Fry’s Death, and Other Poems in Conversation with the Night Thoughts of Edward Young,” New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century 2.1 (2014): 63-74.

Teaching Awards

  • Doris Betts Award for Excellence in Teaching First-Year Composition, 2015


  • W. M. Keck Foundation Short-Term Research Fellowship, The Huntington Library, 2018-2019
  • Dean’s Graduate Fellowship, College of Arts & Sciences, University of North Carolina, 2018-2019
  • Evan Frankel Dissertation Fellowship, Department of English and Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina, 2017
  • NAVSA Travel Grant, North American Victorian Studies Association, 2017
  • DHSI Tuition Scholarship, “XML: Applications for Historical and Literary Research,” Digital Humanities Summer Institute, University of Victoria, 2017
  • Frank Porter Graham Graduate and Professional Student Honor Society, University of North Carolina, 2016
  • Graduate Innovation Assistantship, Committee for Institutional Studies and Research, Office of the Provost, Murray State University, 2012-2013

Curriculum Vitae / Resume