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MA, PhD, PCTHE, FHEA, FEA
Department of English and Modern Languages
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 483587
Tonge Building, Gipsy Lane Campus, Headington
I joined the English Department at Brookes in 2001, having previously studied and/or taught at the universities of Glasgow, Dundee, Nottingham Trent and North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA). My PhD was entitled Sexuality, Agency and Intertextuality in the Later Poetry of John Clare (Nottingham Trent, 1999).
Across my experience at the universities listed above - and just like my colleagues no doubt - I have taught and lectured on a range of literature from Chaucer to Mills and Boon Romances. I specialise in Romantic-period literary culture, working-class literature from 1800 to the present, contemporary Scottish literature, and the relationship between literature and the natural world.
I am a Fellow of the English Association, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, an Honorary Lifetime Member of the British Association for Romantic Studies and am Vice Chair and a Trustee of the registered charity the John Clare Society.
I am External Examiner on the BA English at Aberystwyth University and on the MLitt (English) at the University of Dundee.
I teach and research Romantic-period literature and culture, ecology and literature, working-class literature (1800 to the present), textual criticism and critical theory (especially ecocriticism), and contemporary Scottish literature.
The highlights of my research include a study of contemporary Scottish novelist James Kelman, a campaign to challenge the private copyright to John Clare’s work in two collections of his poetry and associated publications, and my ongoing editorship of the John Clare Society Journal. I appeared recently in Andrew Kötting's feature film By Our Selves (2015), talking about Clare. In 2014 I organised the 150th anniversary conference on John Clare. The collection of original essays on John Clare I co-edited with Scott McEathron of Southern Illinois University, was published by Cambridge University Press in July 2015, and is now out in paperback. My monograph John Clare: Nature, Criticism and History, was published in September 2017 by Palgrave. I discuss it here.
With Professor Bridget Keegan of Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, I am co-writing a book on labouring-class poetry, 1700-1900, for Palgrave, for publication around 2020. A longer-term project I am working towards is a book on British literature and poverty, 1800-2000.
John Clare (1793–1864) has long been recognized as one of England's foremost poets of nature, landscape and rural life. Scholars and general readers alike regard his tremendous creative output as a testament to a probing and powerful intellect. Clare was that rare amalgam ‒ a poet who wrote from a working-class, impoverished background, who was steeped in folk and ballad culture, and who yet, against all social expectations and prejudices, read and wrote himself into a grand literary tradition. All the while he maintained a determined sense of his own commitments to the poor, to natural history and to the local. Through the diverse approaches of ten scholars, this collection shows how Clare's many angles of critical vision illuminate current understandings of environmental ethics, aesthetics, Romantic and Victorian literary history, and the nature of work.
No abstract available
Recent Conference Papers and Talks
Museum of English Rural Life, Reading; Edge Hill University; Magdalene College, Oxford (Romantic Realignments Seminar); University of Sheffield; University of Reading; Hertford College, Oxford (Romantic Realignments Seminar); Lancaster University; Keele University; University of Glasgow; University College London; University of the West of England; University of Greenwich.
I have also reviewed for: European Journal of English Studies; Romanticism; Journeys: The International Journal of Travel Writing; John Clare Society Journal; TLS; Bulletin & Review of the British Association for Romantic Studies.