I have just finished working with 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 was Lear's relationship with Alfred and Emily Tennyson and their children, Hallam and Lionel. I curated and designed an online exhibition on this topic, here: www.learicaltennysons.co.uk, and am now working on a scholarly edition of the correspondence between Lear and the family, which hopes to tell the story of their fascinating and wonderful friendship. Among other things, I also part-wrote and published a series of Oxford iTunes U video podcasts on 'Edward Lear's Feelings', soon to be showcased on the website I designed for the project here: www.knowingedwardlear.com (launched in late March).
I am interested in the energetic body 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 medical contexts. My doctoral thesis focuses on poetic ailment and affect in the compositions of Edward Lear, T. S. Eliot, and Stevie Smith, alongside their contemporaries, looking closely at formed and performed embodiments of emotions and sensibilities as sketched, penned, and uttered, in print and in manuscript. I hope to publish this as a monograph on 'Poetic Ailments in the Long Nineteenth Century'.
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 disorderly modernist verse styles.
I supervise subjects and authors across the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries: Paper 1B, Paper 3 and Paper 4.
My specialisms are in material texts and the medical humanities; poetic tone and lyric; the comic; nonsense; and intersections between the visual and verbal. 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 (at Cambridge).
Undergraduate first years: Paper 1 (Introduction to English Language and Literature); 3 (Nineteenth-Century Literature, 1830-1910); Paper 4 (Modern Literature, 1910 to the present day). Third years: special options and dissertations. I have supervised coursework and dissertations on special topics including:
- Edward Lear and Victorian alphabets
- Edward Lear's landscape art
- Lewis Carroll and photography
- Robert Louis Stevenson and the mapping of character
- Victorian nonsense and visual culture
- A. E. Housman and light verse
- T. S. Eliot and jazz music
PhD (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)