Angus Fletcher


Angus Fletcher’s research is driven by the pragmatic hypothesis (articulated in the twentieth century by John Dewey and The Chicago School, but extending back through Renaissance and ancient rhetoric) that literary form can serve as a technology for promoting democratic behaviors.

Fletcher's recent book project, Comic Democracies from Ancient Athens to the American Republic (Johns Hopkins, 2016), traces a half-dozen innovations in comic form—from the bait-and-switch style of Machiavelli’s La Mandragola to the Quixotic narrator of Tom Jones—that have been deployed by populist works such as Tom Paine’s Common Sense, The Declaration of Independence, and Frederick Douglass’ abolitionist speeches, to promote pluralism, risk-taking, adaptive imitation, the pursuit of happiness, eccentric governance, and other physical behaviors that have been empirically shown by modern political scientists to promote democratic practice.

His articles have appeared in Critical Inquiry, The Journal of Narrative Theory, Tom Jones Cover Save Citation Full Access This search result is for a Journal Defending Pluralism: The Chicago School and the Case of Tom Jones" in New LiteraryHistory">New Literary History and over a dozen other academic journals. His first book, Evolving Hamlet, was published by Palgrave.

Because of his interest in the physical effects of literary form, Fletcher is collaborating on behavioral and cognitive studies with Professor John Monterosso and The Brain and Creativity Institute at The University of Southern California, and with Professor Kentaro Fujita and The Motivation and Cognitive Science Laboratory at The Ohio State University.

And because of his interest in engineering new works, Fletcher is working with filmmakers such as Michael Apted, Bob Shaye, Michael Lynne, and the Philip K. Dick Estate on original narrative projects. For his film work, he has received the Nicholl Fellowship from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.