I hold a B.A. in English from Cedarville College (1996), an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro (1998), and a Ph.D in English from the University of California, Davis (2005). My specialization is in nineteenth-century British literature, and I mainly research Victorian novels, a genre that Henry James memorably referred to as “loose, baggy monsters.” My published work often explores how these complex novels absorbed, and retransmitted, forms of discourse and material culture that seem patently unliterary. For example, my essay “Articles of War: Subjects and Objects Aboard Nineteenth-Century Naval Novel” explains how 1830s adventure fiction creatively incorporated the densely technical language of seamanship. My essay “Bodies of Scholarship,” to take another example, explores how the influential book Robert Elsmere (1888) operates less like a novel and more like a scholarly library…in miniature. I’ve also written essays on sermons and the novel (“Scenes of Preaching”) and on H.G. Wells’s utopian fiction (“Utopia from the Rooftops”). In addition to such scholarship, I serve as an assistant editor for the journal Victorian Literature and Culture, helping other scholars get their work into print.
My deepest pleasure, however, comes from teaching — particularly when it involves students who are passionate, witty, and/or weird. Some memorable courses from the recent past include Great Experiments in Modern Fiction (ENGL 336), Fact, Fantasy, and Nonsense in Victorian Literature (ENGL 431), Twentieth-Century British Fiction and the Nightmare of History (ENGL 434), and Pastoral/Noir: The Country and the City in Later American Literature (ENGL 431). I also routinely teach literature program staples such as Introduction to Literary Studies (ENGL 201), Writing Interpretive Papers (ENGL 301), and Literature of Great Britain and the U.S. 1660-1865.