- Ph.D., Brown University, 1999
- M.A., Brown University, 1994
- B.A., Yale University, 1991
Director of Graduate Studies, English
Director of Graduate Studies, English
My main research interests focus on the literature and culture of Victorian Britain, as well as on modern American and British prose fiction more broadly. I also have research and teaching interests relating to print culture, media studies, contemporary fiction, pop/rock/punk music, literary theory, and animal studies. My first book, Voice and the Victorian Storyteller (Cambridge UP, 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. My second monograph, Minor Creatures: Persons, Animals, and the Victorian Novel (Chicago UP, 2018) asks what it means to consider animals as members of a household or as characters in a novel. It considers animals as objects of sympathy and enmity, as companions and co-habitants, as subjects of experiment, as minor characters. My most recent book, A Visit From the Goon Squad Reread, one of the inaugural titles in Columbia University Press's new Rereadings book series, shows how Jennifer Egan's novel, and her work more broadly, blend a concern with the status of the novel in the twenty-first century with an elegiac meditation on how we experience the passage of time.
I also have published widely on contemporary fiction, film, and pop music in Public Books, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The New Yorker online, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New Republic, and elsewhere.
I am also longtime co-editor of the interdisciplinary journal Victorian Studies, and a founding member of the North American Victorian Studies Association. (I was in the room at the organization's establishment in Bloomington, Indiana on July 5, 2002.)
"Sylvia Townsend Warner's Lolly Willowes." In B-Side Books: Essays on Forgotten Favorites, ed. John Plotz, Columbia University Press, 2021.
"Letter of Recommendation: How Caring for Backyard Chickens Stretched My Emotional Muscles." The New York Times Magazine, November 25, 2020."
"Going Off" in Fat Victorian Novels." Journal of Victorian Culture Online, September 17, 2020.
"Petted Things: Wuthering Heights and the Animal," reprinted in Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Norton Critical edition, ed Alexandra Lewis, 5th edition (October 2018)
"Clever Man Outs Female Author: a Drama in 3 Acts." Public Books, October 11, 2016.
"The Female Bachelor," The Point, June 23, 2016.
"Prince's Erotic Democracy." Public Books, April 25, 2016.
"The 1850s" in A Companion to the English Novel. (Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture), Eds Stephen Arata, Madigan Haley, J. Paul Hunter, and Jennifer Wicke, 2015, pp. 34-48.
"The Female Body of Punk." Public Books, December 15, 2015.
"Against Against [X]." The New Yorker, August 27, 2014.
"Maximal Anxiety." 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.
"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.
"'One More Picture:' Robert Browning's Optical Unconscious." ELH 73 (2), Summer 2006.
In an earlier life, more or less 1989-2003, before, during, and after my PhD, I worked as a freelance arts journalist, publishing on pop music, books, and other topics in The Village Voice, Spin, Lingua Franca, Boston Phoenix, Too Fun Too Huge, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Minneapolis City Pages, Rolling Stone, Boston Review, The Nation, Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and some other places. Long live/ RIP arts weeklies.