Ph.D., Princeton University (2014)
M.A., Brown University (2008)
B.A., University of Cambridge, UK (2006)
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" and "Solitude and the Self in British Romanticism," and "The Wordsworths." The connections between British literature written in the Romantic period and literature of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is central to both my research and my teaching. This is in evidence in my classes "Early Women Writers" and "Making Literary Histories II." I also teach the history of poetry more broadly. In “Reading Poetry,” and Amherst Poets," I focus on the tools and methods needed to engage with anglophone poetry from various periods.
My current book project, Loneliness and the Poet, from Romance to Romanticism, charts the development of the concept of loneliness, a new term in the seventeenth century, from the Renaissance to Romantic period in Britain. Loneliness is distinct from solitude, because it describes an experience that can take place amidst other people, as well as apart from them. The invention of the concept therefore signals a revolution in developing notions of selfhood, individuality, and interiority.
Since loneliness is central to the project of masculine poetic self-fashioning in the early-nineteenth century, this history has revisionary force for how we understand the poet's common gesture of withdrawal in the period. By uncovering loneliness' origins in Renaissance romance, as well as in the work of Shakespeare and Milton, I reveal the hidden gender dynamics involved in what it means to be a lonely poet. Though loneliness today is primarily associated with sadness and a longing for sociability, the words "lonely" and "loneliness" were first used to describe people--and espeically female characters--in dangerous or physcially vulnerable situations. This early emphasis on the sexualised vulnerability of loneliness, I argue, came to shape discourses of aesthetic receptivity later on, in ways that have become hidden to us over time. In readings of the works of John Dryden, Aphra Behn, Anne Finch, Alexander Pope, Thomas Gray, William Cowper, Mary Robinson, S. T. Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Charlotte Smith, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and Mary Shelley, I chart the story of how loneliness moved from describing a state of body to a state of mind, which poets were increasingly apt to align with an aesthetic sensibility.
“Ophelia’s Loneliness,” ELH, 82.2 (Spring 2015).
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).