I came to Marquette as a Victorianist and reader-response critic. My early research and publication was on Victorian periodical literature and the intersection of Victorian science, literature and values. My interest in Robert Louis Stevenson and Gothic literature in the late nineteenth century yielded Rituals of Dis-Integration (1993) as well as articles in Victorian Studies and elsewhere.
I have taught all the British survey courses as well as individual author courses on John Henry Newman, Hopkins and Hardy, and Denise Levertov. My work on Newman culminated in a speakers' program and a collection of critical essays (1992) derived from it. From reader-response I moved to Gadamerian hermeneutical criticism and then the theo-dramatic theory of the late Swiss humanist and theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar.
In the department I have taught the graduate history of criticism as well as the undergraduate course in literary criticism. While working on Balthasar, my research and teaching interests shifted to drama. Since 2008 I have returned to a first love; lyric poetry. I have now been teaching the Introduction to Poetry and the Creative Writing (Poetry) courses for two years. I have also co-taught a course on the Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz and Cistercian monk, Thomas Merton, whose friendship and correspondence provide a window on mid-twentieth century culture.
In the early 90s I contributed to and guest-edited issues of Renascence: Essays on Values and Literature, the scholarly journal that has been published at Marquette for over sixty years. For Renascence I interviewed novelist Larry Woiwode and contributed essays on Hans-Georg Gadamer and G. K. Chesterton. Since 1995 I have edited the journal. That has made me, perforce, a generalist in my tastes, and increasingly committed to the relation of literature to spirituality, religion, and belief. Under my editorship Renascence has done special issues on Denise Levertov (whom I interviewed), Balthasar, Rene Girard, Graham Greene, Gabriel Marcel, and – most recently – Owen Barfield.
“'A Ransom of Cholers': Catastrophe, Consolation, and Consolation in Jon Hassler’s Staggerford, North of Hope, and “The Life and Death of Nancy Clancy’s Nephew,” a chapter in Between Human and Divine: The Catholic Vision in Contemporary Literature, ed. Mary Reichardt (Catholic U A P, 2010).
“Poetry, Attentiveness, and Prayer”. New Blackfriars, 2008.