Tongue-tied and Contorting: The Comic Body in A. E. Housman
I am currently working with Dr. Matthew Bevis (Keble College) on an AHRC Leadership project called 'Knowing Edward Lear', 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 involves collaborations with the BBC, the Ashmolean Museum, the Natural History Museum, Harvard University, and The Tennyson Society / Lincolnshire County Heritage Service. My special focus is Lear's relationship with Alfred and Emily Tennyson and their children, Hallam and Lionel. I recently curated and designed an online exhibition on this topic, here: www.learicaltennysons.co.uk.
I am interested in the energies of verse (especially Victorian) and how it behaves. This broader research includes long 19th century and modern lyric poetry and poetics, focusing on compositional methods and contexts. My doctoral thesis explores the lines (in manuscript and publication) of three 19th and 20th century poets: Edward Lear, T. S. Eliot, and Stevie Smith, alongside their contemporaries - looking closely at formed and performed embodiments of specific emotional and creaturely energies as sketched, penned, and uttered.
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 disordered (and disorderly) modernist verse styles.
I supervise subjects and authors across the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. My specialisms are in poetic tone and lyric; the comic; sound; sense vs. nonsense, intersections between the visual and verbal; Victorian correspondence; and manuscript drafts and composition.
My final year dissertation students have all been awarded firsts (including in the 75-80+ bracket) and often been awarded prizes for their theses, including the Bloomsbury Prize in English, and the Ruth and Mike Smith Words and Music Prize.
Undergraduate: Paper 1 (Introduction to English Language and Literature); Nineteenth-Century Literature (1830-1910); Modern Literature (1910 to the present day). I have supervised coursework and dissertations on special topics including:
- Edward Lear and Victorian alphabets
- Lewis Carroll and photography
- Robert Louis Stevenson and mappings of character
- Victorian nonsense and visual culture
- A. E. Housman and light verse
- T. S. Eliot and Jazz music
- Stevie Smith and the childlike
PhD Candidate (Cantab), MSt (Oxon), MA, BA (Cantab)
- AHRC Doctoral Scholarship, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge (2014)
- Wolfson Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Cambridge (2014)
- Judith E. Wilson Award, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge (2016)