Books

Literary Coteries and the Making of Modern Print Culture, 1740-1790. Cambridge UP, 2016.

Literary Coteries and the Making of Modern Print Culture offers the first study of manuscript-producing coteries as an integral element of eighteenth-century Britain's literary culture. As a corrective to literary histories assuming that the dominance of print meant the demise of a vital scribal culture, the book profiles four interrelated and influential coteries, focusing on each group's deployment of traditional scribal practices, on key individuals who served as bridges between networks, and on the aesthetic and cultural work performed by the group. The book also explores points of intersection between coteries and the print trade, whether in the form of individuals who straddled the two cultures; publishing events in which the two media regimes collaborated or came into conflict; literary conventions adapted from manuscript practice to serve the ends of print; or simply poetry hand-copied from magazines. Together, these instances demonstrate how scribal modes shaped modern literary production.

The Professionalization of Women Writers in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Cambridge UP, 2005. 

This book studies a group of women who, though they have often been dismissed as mere conservative, didactic, and imitative novelists, were actively and ambitiously engaged in a range of innovative publications at the height of the eighteenth century. Individual chapters examine key episodes or patterns in the careers of Frances Sheridan, Frances Brooke, Sarah Scott, Charlotte Lennox and Sarah Fielding, Edward Kimber and the Minifie sisters, and the early Frances Burney. Using personal correspondence, records of contemporary reception, research into contemporary print culture, and sociological models of professionalization, I demonstrate that these women were active and accepted participants in the literary and even political public spheres of the day. I conclude with a speculative examination of their gradual disappearance from literary history with the turn of the century.

Part Two: Reflections on the Sequel.Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1998. Co-edited with Paul Budra.

Thirteen original essays on the phenomenon of narrative continuation from Homer to The Terminator. The co-authored introduction interprets the sequel as a site where the historically particular and interdependent conditions of creation, production, dissemination, and response are made legible. My essay in this volume examines a number of eighteenth-century sequels by women, suggesting links between their use of the form and their place in the developing market for print.

 

Correspondence Primarily on Sir Charles Grandison (1750-1754). Cambridge UP, 2015.

Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) was a highly regarded printer and influential novelist when he produced his final work of fictions, The History of Sir Charles Grandison (1753). Like his other novels, it was written in epistolary form, reflecting his lifelong interest in letter writing and the letter as a genre. Covering the period 1750-1754, many of the fully annotated letters in this edition are published from manuscript for the first time, or have been restored to their original form. Recording Richardson’s relationships with leading cultural figures including Samuel Johnson, Colley Cibber and Elizabeth Carter, the volume reveals his support for other authors while struggling to complete his own “story of a Good Man.” This publishing saga also incorporates Richardson’s responses to the Irish piracy of his novel, and his exchanges with anonymous fans, including those who attacked the novel’s tolerance for Catholicism and those who pleaded for a sequel.


Reconsidering the Bluestockings. A special number of The Huntington Library Quarterly 65 (2003), also published as a separate book and now reprinted by University of California Press (2005). Co-edited with Nicole Pohl. 

This is a collection of ten original essays, with an account of the Montague Collection at the Huntington Library, a Bluestocking bibliography, and brief biographical accounts of key Bluestocking women. The co-authored introduction, entitled "A Bluestocking Historiography," examines the varying evaluations of the Bluestockings' literary, cultural, and political significance in their time and in subsequent historical accounts.


The Conversational Circle: Rereading the English Novel, 1740-1775. Lexington, KY: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1996. 

This study brings eighteenth-century theories of sociability and conversation to bear on novels which employ structures and tropes of circularity to model a socially conservative ideal of cohesion and consensus. The novels examined include Sarah Fielding's David Simple (the original Adventures and Volume the Last), Samuel Richardson's continuation of Pamela, his final novel Sir Charles Grandison, Henry Fielding's Amelia, Sarah Scott's Millenium Hall, and Tobias Smollett's Humphry Clinker.