My primary research interests are in eighteenth-century print and manuscript cultures, the eighteenth-century British novel, authorship, women in the literary marketplace, and travel writing. I am a founding member of the Department of English's print culture group.
Works in Progress
My two most recent books – an edition of Samuel Richardson’s 1750-54 Correspondence related to the publication of his final novel (Cambridge, 2015) and a book titled Literary Coteries and the Making of Modern Print Culture, 1740-1790 (Cambridge, 2016) – have given rise to new projects. With Peter Sabor of McGill University, I have edited Samuel Richardson in Context, a collection of 37 essays situating Richardson’s work in its social, intellectual and material contexts. I’m especially pleased with how this volume explores Richardson’s placement at the crossroads of the media cultures of his day, through his involvement in the London print trade and his innovations in the novel genre, but also through his design, editing, and marketing of books and his development of the identity of the modern author. This collection is scheduled to be published in late 2017.
My work on literary coteries has opened up new avenues of research on manuscript poetry compilations. I am investigating what these collections can tell us about how obscure readers gained access to, selected, and circulated poetry. Why do certain poets turn up so frequently in these collections when they are not part of our “canon” of eighteenth-century poetry? What was the role of magazines in determining the poetry that readers in small towns and country houses would come across and collect? How does the meaning of a poem change according to the selection principles governing a particular compilation? I’m also interested in exploring further the bridging roles of figures like Thomas Birch, a brilliant networker who straddled the worlds of manuscript and print, and did a lot to bring women writers to public attention