I am currently working on a project entitled 'Comic Relief in Victorian Poetry', looking at a number of male and female nineteenth-century poets including as Christina Rossetti, Rudyard Kipling, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Alfred Tennyson, Thomas Hood, May Probyn, Edward Lear, and A. E. Housman.
My previous book, Affective Rhythms, grew out of my doctoral thesis, and explores the role of affect in the poetic composition of four major nineteenth- and twentieth-century poets: Edward Lear, A. E. Housman, T. S. Eliot, and Stevie Smith. It investigates what each poet's dramatisations of affect (in form and as form) can tell us about the varied role of rhythm in expression and articulation. Bringing together the perspectives of life-writing and the medical humanities, it describes how rhythm is employed in poetic manuscripts and verse forms to perform complex affects associated with specific physical and mental disorders suffered by the poets at the time of their writing. It additionally looks closely at intersections between visual and verbal rhythmic expression.
In the final year of my doctoral thesis, I was elected as Postdoctoral Research Assistant to an AHRC Leadership project, 'Knowing Edward Lear', where I worked with Professor Matthew Bevis (Keble College) examining Lear’s nonsense poetry alongside his natural-history drawings, landscape paintings, travel writings, correspondence, and diaries. Situating Lear’s achievement within a range of emerging medical, aesthetic, socio-political and cultural debates, and central presences in his life and art, the project involved collaborations with the Ashmolean Museum, the Natural History Museum, Harvard University, and The Tennyson Society / Lincolnshire County Heritage Service.
My special focus was Lear's relationship with Alfred and Emily Tennyson and their children, Hallam and Lionel. I curated and designed an online exhibition on this topic, here: 'Learical Tennysons'. I am currently co-editing with Professor Peter Swaab a scholarly edition of the full correspondence between Lear and the Tennyson family for Oxford University Press. This edition tells the story of a fascinating and little acknoweldged friendship. I also co-wrote and published a series of Oxford iTunes U video podcasts on 'Edward Lear's Feelings'. I recently published an article in Apollo International Art Magazine on Lear's "painting=sympathisations" of Tennyson's landscape lines, here: 'Lear's Moving Lines'.
In addition to these particular interests, I am broadly interested in nineteenth- and twentieth-century poetry, women's writing, feminist, queer, and postcolonial approaches to poetry, and in nineteenth- and twentieth-century cultural history, especially concerning the intersections between visual and verbal art.
I have published articles concerning the overlooked medical contexts of Romantic poetry; lyric poetry in relation to light verse and nonsense; nostalgia in Victorian writing for children; and modernist verse styles.
I supervise subjects and authors across the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. I teach Prelims Papers 3 (Victorian), 4 (Modern and Contemporary), and 1B (Introduction to Literature and Theory), and have supervised special options and dissertations on a range of nineteenth- and twentieth-century topics.
My specialisms are in material texts and the medical humanities; lyric; the comic; nonsense; and intersections between the visual and verbal. My final year dissertation students at Cambridge were all awarded firsts (including in the 75-80+ bracket) and two were awarded prizes for their theses, including the Bloomsbury Prize in English, and the Ruth and Mike Smith Words and Music Prize. In my time as a Lecturer at Oxford, two of my students have won Gibbs Prizes.
I have supervised coursework and dissertations on special topics including:
- Edward Lear and Victorian alphabets
- Edward Lear's landscape art
- Lewis Carroll and photography
- Robert Louis Stevenson and the mapping of character
- Victorian nonsense and visual culture
- A. E. Housman and light verse
- T. S. Eliot and jazz music
PhD (Cantab), MSt (Oxon), MA, BA (Cantab)
- AHRC Doctoral Scholarship, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge (2014-2017) (not taken up)
- Wolfson Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Cambridge (2014-2017)
- Judith E. Wilson Award, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge (2016)