- Ph.D., Brown University, 1999
- M.A., Brown University, 1994
- B.A., Yale University, 1991
Associate Professor, English
Associate Professor, English
My main research interests focus on the British novel over the long nineteenth century and on the literature and culture of Victorian Britain more generally. I also have research and teaching interests relating to print culture, media studies, contemporary fiction and popular culture (I’ve published on pop music in places like the Village Voice and the Nation), literary theory, and animal studies. My book, Voice and the Victorian Storyteller (2005), aimed to complicate our thinking about Victorian literature’s relationship to and representation of speech and orality by, for example, considering literary texts in relation to shorthand manuals, phonographs, and oral storytellers. Lately I’ve been working on the links between domestic fiction and domestic animals in Britain, considering animals as objects of sympathy and enmity, as companions and co-habitants, as subjects of experiment, as minor or vulnerable characters, and as figures of radical alterity. This project involves attention to historical topics, such as the rise of the animal welfare or anti-cruelty movement in Britain in the early Victorian period, and of the anti-vivisection movement in later decades; it also asks theoretical and philosophical questions regarding the relationship of animals to personhood, subjectivity, and ethics. I have also published recently in Public Books, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere on such contemporary novelists as Jennifer Egan, Michael Chabon, Elena Ferrante, William Gass, Chris Ware, and Kazuo Ishiguro.
I teach a range of courses on topics mostly (but not only – I like getting the chance to teach the likes of Ovid, Philip K. Dick, or Werner Herzog) relating to nineteenth-century British literature. I am also co-editor of the interdisciplinary journal Victorian Studies.
“Clever Man Outs Female Author: a Drama in 3 Acts.” Public Books, October 11, 2016.
“The Female Bachelor,” The Point, June 23, 2016.
"The 1850s." A Companion to the English Novel. (Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture.) 2015.
“Prince’s Erotic Democracy.” Public Books, April 25, 2016.
“The Female Body of Punk.” Public Books, December 15, 2015.
“Can Fiction Show Us How Animals Think?” The New Yorker, Page-Turner, April 21, 2015.
"Against Against [X]." The New Yorker, August 27, 2014.
“Maximal Anxiety.” On Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? : A Memoir. Los Angeles Review of Books, June 27, 2014.
“Without Parents or Pedigree: Neo-Victorian Adaptation as Disavowal or Critique.” Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net (63). April 2014.
"The Emotional Extravagance of Victorian Pet-Keeping." Victorian Review: an Interdisciplinary Journal of Victorian Studies. (special issue: "Victorian Families."). 39.2 (Fall 2014).
“A Rage That Had No End: the Novels of Elena Ferrante.” Los Angeles Review of Books, August 27, 2013.
“Churches of Vinyl: Archive and Authenticity in the Pop Music Novel.” Public Books. December, 2012.
"The Ass Got a Verdict: Martin's Act and the Founding of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1822." BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net. Web. 2012.
"Pitying the Sheep in Far From the Madding Crowd.” Novel: a Forum on Fiction, 42 1/2,Fall 2009. "Theories of the Novel Now" special issue.
"Dying Like a Dog in Great Expectations." In Animal Dreams: Representations of Animals in Victorian Literature and Culture. Ed. Deborah Morse and Martin Danahay. Ashgate, 2007.
"'One More Picture:' Robert Browning's Optical Unconscious." ELH 73 (2), Summer 2006.
"Petted Things: Wuthering Heights and the Animal." Yale Journal of Criticism, 18(1), April 2005.