I studied English Literature at the University of York (BA) and the University of Oxford (MPhil and DPhil). I have spent several years working as an editor, developing and producing distance-learning materials for OU Arts modules, and teaching as an Associate Lecturer. I joined the English Department as a lecturer in 2014.
My main area of research is eighteenth-century literature. Broadly speaking, I am interested in the print culture of the mid-eighteenth century and in attempts to understand this as part of a history of writing and mediation. In particular, I am focusing on the work of Tobias Smollett (1721–1771), as a critic, translator and historian. One project is to explore the aims and influence of the Critical Review (a review journal that Smollett helped to found in 1756); another is to explore Smollett’s contribution to historical writing in the period. What unites these projects is an interest in the kind of knowledge that is created through publishing works in instalments.
My current work develops previous research into Smollett as a writer of the Scottish Enlightenment. My book, Tobias Smollett in the Enlightenment: Travels through France, Italy and Scotland (2011), was published by Bucknell University Press as part of the series Transits: Literature, Thought & Culture 1650–1850. In this book, I seek to recover Smollett’s identity as a Scottish historian and critic by reading one of his works, Travels through France and Italy (1766), in various literary contexts (notably, Scottish writings on medicine, art, theatre and history). This research led to an interest in the shared literary ambitions of Smollett and the philosopher David Hume (1711–76) – an interest which also finds a place in my current work.
Alongside research into eighteenth-century culture, I am interested in literary theory and in philosophy as literature (or perhaps vice versa). This sometimes finds form in my blog, Antiphysis.
‘Continued continuations of complete histories: Tobias Smollett and the work of history', Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies (forthcoming, 2018); doi: 10.1111/1754-0208.12525
'The eighteenth-century review journal as allegory: Smollett’s Critical Review and the work of criticism', The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation (forthcoming, 2019)
'Tobias Smollett writes the history of England’ (ASECS Annual Conference, Minneapolis, 2017)
‘Tobias Smollett and David Hume’ (OU/IES Book History Research Group Seminar Series, London, 2016)
‘The advantages of translating Don Quixote: Smollett, Hume and eighteenth-century critical practice’ (BSECS Annual Conference, Oxford, 2016)
I have spent many years teaching the first-level, introductory module to the Arts, AA100 The arts past and present. What appeals to me about this teaching is the opportunity it presents to explore different subject areas and to ask what it means to study the Arts and Humanities today. I am currently chairing the production of a new first-level module, A111 Discovering the arts and humanities, which will present for the first time in 2019. I am also a member of the module team for A105, Voices, texts and material culture.
In addition to my work at Level 1, I am a member of the module team for the second-level English module, A230 Reading and studying literature. I have also contributed study materials on Molière’s Tartuffe and Rousseau’s Confessions to the third-level English module, A334 English literature from Shakespeare to Austen.
I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.