Margaret Koehler

Margaret Koehler



Towers Hall 229

Department of English

Margaret Koehler grew up in rural upstate New York; earned her B.A. in English at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT; and earned her Ph.D at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She specializes in 18th-century British literature. Her first book, Poetry of Attention in the 18th Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), considers attention as both a thematic preoccupation and a readerly skill cultivated by 18th-century poems. Her current research project explores connections between poetry and medicine in this period. She teaches courses on 18th and 19th-century British literature, poetry and poetics, linguistics, the rise of the novel, and the history of colonialism. Her Integrative Studies courses frequently engage with issues of race, class, and the psychology of attachment and childhood trauma. Most recently, she has team-taught a new INST course, “Of Protons and Poetry,” with a colleague in Chemistry. She helped to propose Otterbein’s Race and Ethnic Studies program and is committed to racial justice work on campus and in the community. She is also the mother of two boys and understands the challenges of balancing family life and career.


  • Ph.D., Emory University, 2003. English Literature
  • B.A., Wesleyan University, 1995. English Literature

Research, Creative, & Professional Work

  • 18th-century British literature
  • Literature and medicine
  • Literature and science
  • Poetry and poetics
  • History, truth, and reconciliation around issues of race


  • Poetry of Attention in the Eighteenth Century (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
  • “The Filter of Attention and Indissoluble Attractors in Eighteenth-Century Mock-Heroic Poetry”; Modern Philology, 108: 1 (August 2010): 65-88.
  • “Odes of Absorption in the Restoration and Early Eighteenth Century”; Studies in English Literature (SEL), 47: 3 (Summer 2007): 659-678.
  • “The Ode,” in Christine Gerrard, ed., A Companion to Eighteenth-Century Poetry. (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006), 386-402

Affiliations & Awards

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Peace and Justice Award, Otterbein University (2008, 2018)
  • American Society for 18th-Century Studies