Ph.D., Princeton University (2014)
M.A., Brown University (2008)
B.A., University of Cambridge, UK (2006)
Lonely Poets and their Publics (current book project)
Romantic loneliness is usually taken to be a sign of withdrawal from the crowd. However, the fundamental paradox of the Romantic turn toward loneliness is that it was a shared, and social, project. In their poems, letters, portraits of themselves, and in the evolving genre of the autobiographical poetic preface, Mary Robinson, Charlotte Smith, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth and Robert Southey not only echoed the same literary traditions of solitude in their poetry, but also imitated each other’s descriptions of isolation. They made a joint project of imagining not just how to be alone, but lonely, together. This shared focus on loneliness means that supposedly singular voices often become multivalent in the poetry of loneliness. In an argument informed by contemporary affect theory, as well as by current debates about lyric, I distinguish the newer, more abstract concept of loneliness from mere solitude, in order to show how loneliness emerges as a strategy by which Romantic writers create community, both with each other and with their reading public. Far from merely representing isolation, Romantic loneliness is a pose that allows nineteenth-century poets to better connect with publics of various kinds, in a moment when changing modes of print and publication had destabilized the assumed relationship between poets and their audience.
I specialize in literature written in Britain from 1660-1830, with a particular emphasis on poetry. At Amherst, I teach several classes on British Romantic literature, such as "Nature and Imagination in the Romantic Era," "Solitude and the Self in British Romanticism," "The Wordsworths" and "Frankenstein: The Making of a Monster." I also enjoy teaching the history of poetry more broadly. In “Reading Poetry,” "Early Women Writers," "Making Literary Histories II," and “Amherst Poets,” I teach the tools and methods needed to engage with anglophone poetry from the seventeenth century to today.
“'Strange Shells' of Poetry: Charlotte Smith’s Echoic Poetics,” Forthcoming in Placing Charlotte Smith, Eds. Jacqueline Labbe and Elizabeth Dolan, Lehigh University Press.
“Ophelia’s Loneliness,” ELH, 82.2 (Spring 2015).
“Being alone with Dr. Winnicott,” Passions: Synapsis ed. Simona Corso. Peter Lang, 2017. 19pp.
“‘Draw me a Picture’: A New Approach to Teaching Poetry,” Co-written with Prof. William Gleason, The Princeton Guide to Teaching Literature. Eds. Diana Fuss and William Gleason. Princeton University Press, 2015. pp.287-290.
Awards and Honors
Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni Teaching Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching (2013).
Quin Morton Teaching Fellowship, Princeton University (2012-2014).
Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (2011-12).