Professor of English
I'm interested in the "long nineteenth century" (c. 1780-1900) because the period faced so many of the same challenges we do today with such optimism and energy. That's one reason its writers, like Austen, Dickens, or Lewis Carroll remain popular. We're also prone to some of the long nineteenth century's vices—materialism, imperialism, sexism—and so can learn from the period's social critics, like Wollstonecraft, Gaskell, Hardy, and Wilde. Finally, nineteenth-century writers were the first mass-entertainers, providing generations of readers with Dr. Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes, Count Dracula, Black Beauty, and Alice in Wonderland.
In my various courses in Victorian Literature, Women and Literature, or Literature and Law, I want students to explore how and why a culture so close to our own turned to literature not only for entertainment, but social change as well. The questions that I find the most engaging, like this one, call for interdisciplinary responses. I have published on topics concerning gender, religion, law, and history in British culture, including The Reader's Repentance: Women Preachers, Women Writers and Nineteenth-Century Social Discourse (Chicago, 1992) Reading for the Law: Gender Advocacy and British Literary History (Virginia, 2010) and Functions of Victorian Culture at the Present Time (Ohio, 2002). My current book projects are "Making History: a Life of Mary Anne Everett Green" and “Likely Stories: Probabilistic Reasoning in Victorian Narrative.”
I am past director of the University Core of Common Studies, past president of the scholarly organization Interdisciplinary Nineteenth Century Studies, and recipient of the inaugural Way-Klingler Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching.
- Victorian Literature
- Literature and Law
- Women and Literature
- Victorian Literature
- Literature and Law
- “Queer Heroism in A Tale of Two Cities,” Nineteenth Century Gender Studies 8.2 (summer 2012): Web.
- Reading for the Law: Gender Advocacy and British Literary History. University of Virginia Press, 2010.
- The Encyclopedia of British Writers: Nineteenth Century. New York: Facts on File, Inc., 2003. (Editor)
- Functions of Victorian Culture at the Present Time. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2002. (Editor)
- The Reader's Repentance: Women Preachers, Women Writers, and Nineteenth-Century Social Discourse. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.
- “The Cost of Everything in George Eliot’s Middlemarch.” Published Lecture. Los Angeles: UCLA, 2007.
- “Mary Anne Everett Green and the Calendars of State Papers as a Genre of History Writing.” Clio: a Journal of Literature, History and the Philosophy of History 36 (Fall 2006): 1-22.
- “Why She Lived at the PRO: Mary Anne Everett Green and the Profession of History.” The Journal of British Studies. 42 (January 2003): 65-90.
- “Victorian Narrative Jurisprudence." Law and Literature: Current Legal Issues. Ed. Michael Freeman and Andrew D. E. Lewis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, vol. 2:437-461.
Honors and Awards
- Awarded the competitive year-long sabbatical fellowship for Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters.
- Elected chair, University Academic Senate (2010-2011).
- Star Teaching Award, National Residence Hall Honorary Society (2003)
- Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education Grant for “Who Counts? Math Across the Curriculum for Global Mission,” U.S. Department of Education, $600,000 (2007-10)
- Forward Thinking Research Grant, with Colleen Willenbring and Kaye Wierzbicki, for “Collaboration and Mentoring: Undergraduate, Graduate and Professional Research in Literature and Law,” Marquette University Graduate School, $1,000 (2006)
- Shared Futures: Global Learning and Social Responsibility, co-authored proposal with Margaret Bloom, Association of American Colleges and Universities, $3,000 (2005-09)
- Way-Klingler Interdisciplinary Teaching Award, with Prof. Shirley Wiegand, for “Literature and Law in the Law School and Undergraduate Curriculum” $20,000 (2005)
- Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, $5000 (2005)
- National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, Huntington Library, $40,000 (1999-2000)
- TuTh 11:30-12:15 and by appointment
- 4997/101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Olin Engineering 160
- Capstone: Reading Minds: Cognitive Literary Studies