Photo of Dr Margaret Yoon

Dr Margaret Yoon

Research interests

I am fascinated by the history of ideas. For my PhD research, my initial interest in the history of medicine led me to explore how medical advances and practices permeated literature to create an intriguing blend of ideas that ultimately led to modern conceptions of the self. In eighteenth-century England, this particular blending of ideas converged with the development of the novel, resulting in new ways to express interiority. The particular strand of ideas that I researched for my PhD was that of the passions and emotions, and the culture of sensibility in the eighteenth century, which included satire and sentimental fiction. While this research is ongoing, I also have begun research on the ways the passions and sensibility were engaged with the economic philosophies that emerged from the mid- to late-eighteenth century, alongside the boom in the British economy with all of its attendant effects. The early findings of this research formed the critical introduction I wrote for a scholarly edition of an eighteenth-century novel, The Citizen (1790), which I also edited. This novel developed a particular strand of sensibility—a philanthropic sympathy—that was rooted in the economic philosophies of David Hume and Adam Smith. The material researched for The Citizen is just the start of a new project on economics, particularly the role of merchants, and the potentially intriguing role of dissenting religions, specifically the Quakers, in the philanthropic movements of late eighteenth-century Britain.