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About Wilde(st) Dreams

Finding Inspiration in Every Turn

Wilde(st) Dreams offers developmental and line editing as well as basic proofreading. I'm ready to offer assistance every step of the way by helping you organize your thesis, book, or article from beginning to end: whether it's constructing an overall structure, building a strong argument, or crafting a sentence.  

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About Dr. Frances Chiu

I like to say that my first year of life defined my future. Born in Princeton, New Jersey, but raised in the Bronx, I'm a cultural amalgamation of Western, Eastern, and pretty much everything in between: with one foot planted in a classical past and another in a multilingual, multicultural world.  Growing up, I listened to Grimm's fairy tales in addition to Chinese folk tales. I read Jane Eyre while reading translations of the Chinese classic, Romance of Three Kingdoms. And I watched The Marriage of Figaro while learning about Chinese opera. 

 

Brought up in a family where English was a fourth and fifth language for Mom and Dad meant that I became quickly attuned to words, with all of their various meanings and connotations: it was a fourth language for my mother who spoke Taiwanese, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese, and a fifth for my father--who learned German before he could speak a word of English. No conversation at dinner was ever complete without some discussion of the different uses of words and expressions in their languages: for instance, how the verb "to wear" differed in Taiwanese when referring to clothes, headgear, and shoes. Not surprisingly then, I acquired an even greater sensitivity to language, especially when I came to learn French and German from middle school through college.  

Nor was it entirely surprising that I came to be fascinated by literature--even if my parents had every intention of steering me to the sciences. I joked that I would prefer to be a “doctor of words!” Eventually, after having read a good deal of Oscar Wilde, I decided to apply to the doctoral program in English literature at Oxford University: hoping that I would somehow manage to absorb a bit of his legendary wit and wisdom at "the dreaming spires" of his alma mater. Not to mention that I wanted to study with the world-renowned Romanticist, Marilyn Butler, whose extensive knowledge of literature, history, and politics, was articulated in such simple, unpretentious prose.  Indeed, my years at Oxford were an indeed a dream come true as I sat at the Bodleian library in the afternoons reading first editions of 18th-century political pamphlets, sometimes sauntering from one library to another before heading home to either write or engage in nightly conversations with a flatmate on the Gothic novel, William Blake, Jane Austen—and yes, Oscar Wilde.  

Today, I am a freelance academic editor, part-time associate professor, and former caregiver. My experience includes numerous peer-reviewed articles, curated book chapters, and book reviews  in Eighteenth-century Life, Gothic Studies, Notes and Queries, Romanticism on the Net, Gale Researcher Guides, and the Scribner’s British Writers series edited by Jay Parini. I’ve also produced the first modern scholarly editions of Ann Radcliffe’s posthumously published Gothic novel, Gaston de Blondeville, and J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Rose and the Key for Valancourt Books. In 2020, I published the first comprehensive study of Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man, The Routledge Guidebook to Paine’s Rights of Man. More recently, I’ve had chapters published in English Rebels and Revolutionaries (ed. Stephen Basdeo), Frankenstein Reanimated (ed. Marc Garrett and Yiannis Colakides) and Histories from Loss (ed. Daniel Woolf and Marnie Hughes-Warrington, forthcoming). I am currently completing a monograph on Matthew Lewis’ Monk for Manchester University Press. 

In addition, I have been writing for Medium since late May 2023, where I have been boosted for 21 articles, including:  "Lessons I learned from my Osteoarthritis," "Back to my Future," and "Racism in the Ivory Tower." (I've even been applauded by Medium CEO, Tony Stubblebine!) 

Over the past decade, I have performed peer reviews for French Studies (Oxford University Press) History of Political Thought (Imprint Academic), Le Fanu Studies (now defunct), and Mosaic: An Interdisciplinary journal (University of Manitoba). I am also on the advisory board of Anthem Press Gothic Studies. 

I am also currently a Revisions Editor at Manuscripts LLC. From  the beginning of 2023, I have coached novelists, memoirists, and nonfiction authors: helping them structure and organize their contents as well as polishing their writing. Three books I've edited have received awards: Lucy Chen's Build Resilience--which won three awards; Loren Rosario Maldonado's Becoming the Change; and Naomi Vladeck's Braving  Creativity.   

Last, but equally importantly, I've been teaching undergraduates since 2000, both onsite and online.  At Oxford University, I tutored students for their final year exams in English literature--and was thrilled to see many of them obtain firsts on the subjects in which I guided them. At the New School, where I'm currently a part-time associate professor, I've received highly positive course evaluations and faculty observation reports throughout the years as well as a nomination for a teaching award in 2011. 

Education

Ph.D. (English)
Oxford University

Doctoral dissertation: "Too Much of the Terrific": Polemical Politics in Gothic and Radical Fiction, 1780-1800; supervised by Marilyn Butler,  (late) Rector of Exeter College (1937-2014).

M.A.  (English)

Northwestern University

 "That blessed sphaere, which gazing soules hold deere": Petrarch, Castiglione, and the Strategies of Desire in Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania, supervised by Mary Beth Rose (Director of the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library).

A.B. (English major, music minor)
Smith College

Winner of the Best Essay in Music: Musical Expressionism in Arnold Schoenberg's Moses und Aron

My Publications

Top row: books I've authored and edited 

Bottom row: a selection of books where I've contributed chapters

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