I joined Keele in 2009, having studied at the Universities of East Anglia, Leeds, and Nottingham. I teach courses across the English Literature programme. My research interests are in Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, particularly the intersections between literature and history, religion, politics and philosophy, as well as the relationships between historicism, formalism and book history.
Since April 2020, I have been the Head of the School of Humanities.
Research and scholarship
My research interests are in English Literature from 1660 to 1830. The first is Daniel Defoe, and I have published widely on Defoe in recent years. I am editing Defoe's letters for Cambridge University Press, and was awarded an AHRC fellowship for this project in 2017. I am the co-editor with J. A. Downie (Goldsmiths, University of London) of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Daniel Defoe. With Marc Mierowsky (University of Melbourne) I am also co-editing Defoe’s final novel Roxana, The Fortunate Mistress (1724) for Oxford World’s Classics.
My research is more broadly concerned with the development of the novel in the eighteenth century, and in the later critical reception and creative appropriation of this period’s fiction. In 2012, my guide to literary criticism on the eighteenth-century British novel was published by Palgrave Macmillan; this book historicises the developing notion of ‘the rise of the novel’ from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century understandings of the genre’s provenance through to its treatment in critical schools like historicism, formalism, feminism, and postcolonialism. I co-edited with Daniel Cook (University of Dundee) a collection of essays entitled The Afterlives of Eighteenth-Century Fiction (Cambridge University Press, 2015) which comprises essays on adaptations and appropriations of the novel, from Haywood, Defoe and Swift to Shelley, Scott and Austen. In 2020-21 I hold the Fredson Bowers Fellowship from the Bibliographical Society to conduct research on the publication history of Defoe’s Moll Flanders (1722).
In 2016, I completed an edition of a biography by Samuel Johnson, called An Account of the Life of Mr. Richard Savage (1744). This was published by Broadview Press and is co-edited with Lance Wilcox (Elmhurst College, Illinois). I am currently co-editing The Cambridge Companion to Gulliver’s Travels with Daniel Cook.
I am an elected at-large member of the Daniel Defoe Society. With Hannah Hudson (Suffolk University, Boston, USA), I co-edit the eighteenth-century section of the journal Literature Compass, and I am a senior editor of The Literary Encyclopedia. I am a member of the AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council) Peer Review College. I am a member of the advisory board of the Stoke Newington Edition of Daniel Defoe's Works and a general editor of Elizabeth Montagu Correspondence Online (EMCO).
I would be very happy to hear from prospective postgraduates interested in researching literature of the period from 1660-1830.
In 2022-23, I am teaching ENG-10029 Playing Parts: Studying Drama and Poetry in semester 2.
I am external examiner for BA and MA English at Bath Spa University (2020-24) and BA English at the University of Bristol (2021-25), and I was external examiner for BA English at Northampton (2016-20).
In 2020-21, I taught ENG-30061 Sex, Scandal and Society: Eighteenth-Century Writing (level 6) in semester 2.
In 2016-17 I ran with Dr Ben Anderson in History a teaching innovation project designed to help students use Turnitin originality reports.
In 2013 I received a Keele Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching.
I supervise research students on the MA English Literatures, the MRes Humanities. If you are interested in postgraduate work in literature at Keele, please get in touch.
The PhD students I have supervised to completion are:
Dr Elizabeth Pritchett (English), ‘Vital Texts: Democratic Intertextuality in Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage’ (2017). Second supervisor; Prof. Scott McCracken was lead supervisor.
Dr George Stringer (English), ‘Tilly Kettle’s Portraiture and the Art of Identity in Eighteenth-Century Britain and India’ (2018).
Dr Hannah Scragg (English), ‘Beyond the Five Towns: A Re-evaluation of Arnold Bennett’ (2019).
Pilar Botiás (English; University of Córdoba, Spain), ‘“Pleasant Modern Novels”: Congreve’s Incognita in the Making of the English Novel’. Co-supervised with Juan de Dios Torralbo-Caballero (Córdoba). (2022)
My current PhD students are:
Amy Blaney (English), ‘Forming the Arthurian Idyll, 1688-1820’.
Edward Hardiman (History), ‘Codebreaking the Diary of a Georgian Gentleman: The Private Papers of Andrew Hudleston’.
Tracey Jones (English), 'The Emotional History of the Gothic Novel, 1790-1810.'
Emma Stanbridge (English), 'Samuel Johnson, Literary Life Writing, and Lichfield Literary Culture, 1775-1835.'
Andrew Bramwell, 'Mental Health and the Nineteenth-Century Novel' (co-supervised with David Amigoni).
Joanna Yates, 'Inheriting Erasmus Darwin’s The Temple of Nature: Family History, Evolutionary Thought, and Public Debate' (co-supervised with David Amigoni).
School of Humanities
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 733109