• BA, Wellesley College, 1997
  • PhD, Princeton University, 2005


My research and teaching interests center on eighteenth-century British literature and include history of science, eighteenth-century British art, and book history. I also regularly offer courses on eighteenth-century British satire and its cultural heritage.

My interest in book history and eighteenth-century art has grown as a result of developing teaching strategies aimed at both broadening the appeal of eighteenth-century literary works and giving students a more vivid sense of historical context. In my course on the eighteenth-century British novel, I hold "lab sessions" in library Special Collections. These labs explore aspects of the eighteenth-century book rarely studied in a literature course: how it was made, published, sold, and read. I do something similar in my eighteenth-century survey course, "Wits, Rakes, Madmen and Jane." The class meets in the Allen Art Museum roughly six times in the semester to study eighteenth-century paintings and prints with a view to exploring the relationship between visual and literary cultures in this period.    

I am currently writing a book about how empirical, philosophical, and religious concepts of empty space and nothingness animate a tradition of eighteenth-century English literary experimentation with the printed book.

Selected Publications

  • "An Air of History: Joseph Wright and Robert Boyle's Air Pump Narratives," Eighteenth-Century Studies (forthcoming 2012/13).
  • "'Nothing Really in It': Gothic Interiors and the Externals of the Courtship Plot in Northanger Abbey," Eighteenth-Century Fiction. Special issue: "Form and Formalism in the British Eighteenth-Century Novel," edited by John Richetti (forthcoming January 2012).
  • "What Not to Avoid in Swift's 'The Lady’s Dressing Room,'" Studies in English Literature (Summer 2009).
  • "A Voyage of Undiscovery: Deciphering Horace Walpole's Hieroglyphic Tales," 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era. Special topic: "Walpole Beyond Otranto," edited by Peter Sabor (2009).
  • "Case Study: Building a Book Studies Program at a Liberal Arts College," in collaboration with Wendy Hyman. To appear in ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) volume Past is Portal: Teaching Undergraduates Using Special Collections and Archives (date TBA).