Position: Associate Professor; Tutorial Fellow, Mansfield College
Period/Subject: Late 19th & Early 20th Century British and American Literature
Email address: email@example.com
I teach English and American literature from 1830 to the present day to undergraduates and graduates. I also supervise DPhil students. Since 2014, I have co-convened the M.St. in English Language and Literature (1830–1914).
I am Acting Deputy Director of the Rothermere American Institute. I joined the RAI's Academic Committee in 2013. With Elleke Boehmer, Laura Marcus and Lloyd Pratt, I co-organised the Alain Locke in the 21st Century Symposium. In 2012-2014, I co-convened the American Literature Research Seminar. In 2011-2013, I was Victorian Period Convenor.
My research interests and career have been transatlantic. I was born and grew up bilingual in Montréal, Canada. I completed a joint degree in English Literature and Liberal Arts at Concordia University. After that, I studied German and American literature at the University of Heidelberg as a Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst Fellow. In 1999, I won a scholarship to Cambridge University where I completed my M.Phil. (First) and Ph.D. at King's College. In 2001, I went to Harvard University as a Fulbright Scholar and Departmental Associate in English. Before joining Oxford’s English Faculty in 2009, I taught at Edinburgh University, Boston University, Harvard, Cambridge, and Heidelberg.
I have written for The New York Times and The Guardian, and have been interviewed in The Scotsman and on CBC radio. I am on the editorial board of English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920 and the Canadian Review of American Studies. I review for journals, and advise on book proposals for Oxford University Press and Ashgate.
My research ranges from the late 19th century to the present day, and covers both sides of the Atlantic. My work has won several awards including a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship, Donald C. Gallup Fellowship in American literature (Yale), Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Visiting Research Fellowship (Utah), Research Fellowship in African American History and Culture (Emory University), and an Eccles Centre American Studies Visiting Fellowship.
I have several books in progress. The first is a biography of the young Oscar Wilde. I am also working on two co-edited books: Oxford 21st Century Approaches to Literature: Late Victorian into Modern (Oxford University Press, 2016) and Alan Hollinghurst: Writing Under the Influence (Manchester University Press, 2016).
My first book was Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Aesthetic Culture (Edinburgh University Press, 2007). It was reissued in paperback in 2014. This book asked why being "aesthetic" mattered so much to Victorians on both sides of the Atlantic. It explained how Aestheticism (the literary and artistic movement that flourished between the 1860s and early 1900s) responded to British and American anxieties about culture, nationality, sexuality and originality. The book begins by reconfiguring Aestheticism as a transatlantic dialogue, and making Henry James and Oscar Wilde the critical figures in this conversation. It then shows that the lifelong rivalry between these two preeminent authors actually reflected a creative dynamic that dominated aesthetic culture on both sides of the sea. This dynamic is traced through James's and Wilde's works, as well as through their relationships with the Impressionist painter James McNeill Whistler, and the novelist and Punch cartoonist George Du Maurier. The book argues that this dynamic is a bridge over culturally troubled waters. Using queer theory alongside historically-grounded close readings, the book reveals that James's and Wilde's relationship was symptomatic of vital and transformative cultural exchanges that shaped Anglo-American Modernism.
Selected articles and chapters
"Reading Cosmopolitanism, Aestheticism and Decadence" Oxford Twenty-First Century Approaches to Literature: Late Victorian into Modern. Eds. Laura Marcus, Michèle Mendelssohn and Kirsten Shepherd-Barr (Oxford UP, 2016).
"Poetry, Parody, Porn and Prose" Alan Hollinghurst: Writing Under the Influence. Eds. Denis Flannery and Michèle Mendelssohn (Manchester UP, 2016).
- "Rewriting the Genealogy of Minstrelsy for Modernity: 'Cry and Sing, Walk and Rage, Scream and Dance'" African American Review 48.1-2 (Spring/ Summer 2015).
- “Oscar Wilde, Henry James and the Fate of Aestheticism.” Oscar Wilde in Context. Eds. Kerry Powell and Peter Raby (Cambridge UP, 2014).
- "Beautiful Souls Mixed up with Hooked Noses: Art, Degeneration and Anti-Semitism in Trilby and The Master." Victorian Literature and Culture 40.1 (March 2012): 179-197.
- “Notes on Oscar Wilde's Transatlantic Gender Politics.” Journal of American Studies 46.1 (February 2012):1-15.
- “Aestheticism and Decadence.” Henry James in Context. Ed. David McWhirter (Cambridge UP, 2010): 93-104.
- “The Tragic Muse.” Critical Companion to Henry James: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work. Eds. Eric Haralson and Kendall Johnson (Clearmark, 2009)
- “‘I’m not a bit expensive’: Henry James and the Sexualization of the Victorian Girl.” Nineteenth-Century Childhood and the Rise of Consumer Culture. Ed. Dennis Denisoff (Ashgate, 2008): 81-93.
- “Introduction: A Twenty Year Old.” Revaluing and Re-Evaluating Richard Ellmann's Oscar Wilde. Ed. Michèle Mendelssohn. The Oscholars (2007).
- “Oscar Wilde”, Men and Masculinities: A Social, Cultural and Historical Encyclopedia. Eds. Michael Kimmel and Amy Aronson (ABC-Clio, 2004)
- “Ticket to Rye: a Visit to Henry James's House”, The New Compass: a Critical Review (Dec 2004)
- “Homosociality and the Aesthetic in James’s Roderick Hudson”. Nineteenth-Century Literature (March 2003): 512-541.
- “Reconsidering Race, Language, and Identity in The Emperor Jones”. The Eugene O’Neill Review (Spring/ Fall 1999): 19-29.
- “Henry James.” The 1890s Online. Eds. Dennis Denisoff and Loraine Janzen Kooistra.
- Public Lecture, British Library, 17 April 2015.
- Public Lecture, Concordia University, Montreal, 19 March 2015.
- Invited Talk, De Montfort University, 7 May 2015.
- Keynote, Cosmopolitanism, Aestheticism, and Decadence, 1860-1920, Oxford, 17-18 June 2014.
- Invited Talk, Yale University, April 2014.
- Invited Talk, Cambridge University, January 2014.
- Invited Talk, Inaugural Symposium of the British Association of Nineteenth-Century Americanists (BrANCA), Sussex, 1-2 November 2013.
- Panel chair, Art Across the Black Diaspora: Visualizing Slavery in America, 29-30 May 2013. CLICK HERE FOR CONFERENCE PODCAST
- Research paper, Alternative Modernisms: An International, Interdisciplinary Conference, Cardiff, 15-18 May 2013.
- Invited talk, Victorian Studies Centre, University of Leicester, 8 May 2013.
- Panel chair, Modernist Magazines in the Americas: Points of Departure Conference, 12 Dec 2012.
- Conference co-organiser, Alain Locke in the 21st Century, 12-13 October 2012.
- Research paper, Race, Nation and Empire on the Victorian Stage, Lancaster, 11-14 July 2012.
- Panel chair, Placing Henry James, Henry James Society Conference, London, June 29-July 1 2012.
- Research paper, A Stray Savage in Oxford: A Henry James Centenary Symposium, 25 June 2012.
- Invited talk, Department of English, Emory University, 15 April 2012.
- Invited talk, Tanner Humanities Center, University of Utah, 2 March 2010.
- Invited talk, Glasscock Center for Humanities Research, Texas A&M University, 26 January 2010.