J.W. Johnson's research interests include Restoration biography, the relationships of the Earl of Rochester with the leading playwrights in London from 1660 to 1680, and his influence on later writers such as Swift and Pope. He is also interested in the works of such contemporary writers as Ionesco and Arrabal and the depiction of female and male models of conduct in motion pictures from 1920 to 1970.
Taught at Vanderbilt University. Author of A Profane Wit: The Life of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester; The Formation of English Neo-Classical Thought; Logic and Rhetoric; Prose and Practice; articles on Katherine Anne Porter, Walpole, Swift, Bronte, Johnson, Gibbon, Conrad, Dryden, the Earl of Rochester, and Northanger Abbey (cassette lecture). Editor of Utopian Literature, Concepts of Literature, and The Plays of John Dennis. ACLS Fellow, Folger Library Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow. Courses in Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, literary criticism, history of ideas, the English novel, women's fiction, Faulkner, modern drama, utopias, women in film, and American male images. Associate of the Susan B. Anthony Center.