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, and I discuss it here. I co-edited another collection of essays on Clare with Dr Erin Lafford (University of Derby), called Palgrave Advances in John Clare Studies, published in 2020.
Currently, I am co-editing a paperback edition of Pierce Egan’s 1821 smash hit Life in London for Oxford World's Classics. A longer-term project I am working towards is a study of British literature and poverty, 1800-2000.