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PhD: Brown University, 1999
MA: Brown University, 1994
BA: Yale University, 1991
My main research interests focus on the British novel over the long nineteenth century and on the literature and culture of Victorian Britain more generally. I also have research and teaching interests relating to print culture, media studies, contemporary fiction and popular culture (I’ve published on pop music in places like the Village Voice and the Nation), literary theory, and animal studies. My book, Voice and the Victorian Storyteller (2005), aimed to complicate our thinking about Victorian literature’s relationship to and representation of speech and orality by, for example, considering literary texts in relation to shorthand manuals, phonographs, and oral storytellers. Lately I’ve been working on the links between domestic fiction and domestic animals in Britain, considering animals as objects of sympathy and enmity, as companions and co-habitants, as subjects of experiment, as minor or vulnerable characters, and as figures of radical alterity. This project involves attention to historical topics, such as the rise of the animal welfare or anti-cruelty movement in Britain in the early Victorian period, and of the anti-vivisection movement in later decades; it also asks theoretical and philosophical questions regarding the relationship of animals to personhood, subjectivity, and ethics. I have also published recently in Public Books, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere on such contemporary novelists as Jennifer Egan, Michael Chabon, Elena Ferrante, William Gass, Chris Ware, and Kazuo Ishiguro.
I teach a range of courses on topics mostly (but not only – I like getting the chance to teach the likes of Ovid, Philip K. Dick, or Werner Herzog) relating to nineteenth-century British literature. I am also co-editor of the interdisciplinary journal Victorian Studies.
E303: Nineteenth Century Literatures in English
L208: Topics in English and American Literature and Culture: the Literary Animal
L335: Victorian Literature and Sexuality
L348: Nineteenth Century British Literature: Mystery, Suspense, Detection
L369: Late Realism: English Fiction 1880-1910
L371: Critical Practices: the Ends of Interpretation
L743: Victorian Literature: Protagonists, Persons, and Non-Persons
L743: Victorian Literature/ Media/ Communications
L758: Life and the Living
V611: Introduction to Victorian Studies
Recent Publications (click images for more information)
Recent and Selected Articles:
"The 1850s." A Companion to the English Novel. (Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture.) 2015.
"The Cruel Exclusions of the Literary Establishment." The Chronicle of Higher Education Review, Dec. 29, 2014.
"Behind the Dungeon Master's Screen," Public Books, Dec 1, 2014.
"Prospective Literary Fitness Apps," The Chronicle of Higher Education Review, Nov. 21, 2014.
"Against Against [X]." The New Yorker, August 27, 2014.
“Maximal Anxiety.” On Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? : A Memoir. Los Angeles Review of Books, June 27, 2014.
“Harmony and Discord.” (On novels by Stacey D’Erasmo, Michael Cunningham, and Richard Powers.) Public Books. June 15, 2014.
“Without Parents or Pedigree: Neo-Victorian Adaptation as Disavowal or Critique.” Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net (63). April 2014.
"The Emotional Extravagance of Victorian Pet-Keeping." Victorian Review: an Interdisciplinary Journal of Victorian Studies. (special issue: "Victorian Families."). 39.2 (Fall 2014). pp. 71-74.
“A Rage That Had No End: the Novels of Elena Ferrante.” Los Angeles Review of Books, August 27, 2013.
“Characters of Concealment.” On William Gass’s Middle C. Public Books. August, 2013.
“Churches of Vinyl: Archive and Authenticity in the Pop Music Novel.” Public Books. December, 2012.
"The Ass Got a Verdict: Martin's Act and the Founding of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1822." BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net. Web. 2012.
"Novel Theory for Homo Sapiens." (Review essay.) Novel: a Forum on Fiction, 44(2), Summer 2011.
“Anthroprosthesis: or, Prosthetic Dogs.” Victorian Review: 35.2 (fall 2009)
“Pitying the Sheep in Far From the Madding Crowd.” Novel: a Forum on Fiction, 42 1/2,Fall 2009. "Theories of the Novel Now" special issue.
"Dying Like a Dog in Great Expectations." In Animal Dreams: Representations of Animals in Victorian Literature and Culture. Ed. Deborah Morse and Martin Danahay. Ashgate, 2007.
"'One More Picture:' Robert Browning's Optical Unconscious." ELH 73 (2), Summer 2006.
"Petted Things: Wuthering Heights and the Animal." Yale Journal of Criticism, 18(1), April 2005.
"Victorian Poetry's Modernity." Victorian Poetry 41 (4), Winter 2003.
"Fear of a Punk Planet." The Nation, Jan 13/20, 2003.
Selected Honors and Awards
Trustees Teaching Award, IU Department of English, 2013
Midwest Victorian Studies Association First Book Award, for a book published in 2005 or 2006, for Voice and the Victorian Storyteller, 2008
Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, I.U., 2005-6
Harrington Faculty Fellow, University of Texas, Austin, 2005-6
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellowship, 2003
Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, University of Chicago, 1999-2001
Co-editor of Victorian Studies, 2002-
Executive Board member, ex officio, North American Victorian Studies Association, 2002-