My research focuses on eighteenth-century British literature and culture, women’s studies, satire, and the history of the novel. My first book, The Converting Imagination: Linguistic Theory and Swift’s Satiric Prose, analyzes the linguistic play of famed satirist Jonathan Swift, in light of his education, his satires, his formal proposals concerning the English language, and his strategies as a reader. My second book, Monstrous Motherhood: 18th-Century Culture and the Ideology of Domesticity explores maternal demonization and erasure in Great Britain from 1660 to 1820. Currently I’m working on two major projects: the first explores the nexus of motherhood and authorship in the eighteenth century (focusing on Frances Burney, Frances Sheridan, Charlotte Smith and Mary Wollstonecraft), and the second analyzes Jane Austen in contemporary popular culture. I edit The Burney Journal, a periodical dedicated to the study of the novelist and memoirist Frances Burney, her family and her peers, and I am the chair of the International Visitor Program for the Jane Austen Society of North America.
I teach a variety of undergraduate courses, including British Literature to 1800 (ENGL 261); courses within the Eighteenth-Century Literature I (ENGL 366W) and Eighteenth-Century Literature II (ENGL 367W) sequence (including Crime and Criminals in the 18th Century, and Performance and Disguise); and courses in Topics in Women’s Literature (ENGL 387W), including Jane Austen and Popular Culture and Mamma Mia! Mothers and Monsters in Western Culture. My recent graduate courses include an eighteenth-century survey, a course in the origins of feminism, and a course in the history of the novel. I also founded the Rare Book Pedagogy Project, an online resource that helps faculty integrate archival research into their curricula.
- Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture
- Women's Studies
- History of the Novel
- Monstrous Motherhood: 18th-Century Culture and the Ideology of Domesticity (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012).
- The Converting Imagination: Linguistic Theory and Swift’s Satiric Prose (Southern Illinois University Press, 1994).
“Down with her, Burney!”: Johnson, Burney and the politics of literary celebrity,” in Community and Solitude: New Essays on Johnson’s Circle. Ed. Anthony W. Lee (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2018).
- “The lady vanishes: the rise of the spectral
mother,” in The Absent Mother in the
Cultural Imagination: Missing, Presumed Dead, ed. Berit Åström
(London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017): 25-42.
- “The Monstrous Mothers of Mansfield Park,” Persuasions Online, Vol. 35 No. 1 Winter 2014.
- “Rowe’s The Ambitious Stepmother: Motherhood and the Politics of the Blended Family," in Stage Mothers: Women, Work, and the Theater, 1660-1830, ed. Laura Engel and Elaine McGirr (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2014): 121-36.
- "'Where does discretion end, and avarice begin?’: The Mercenary and the Prudent in Austen,” Persuasions: The Journal of the Jane Austen Society of America, Vol. 34 (2013): 57-70.
- “Austen Therapy: Pride and Prejudice and Popular Culture,” Persuasions Online, Vol 30 No. 2 (Spring 2010).
- “Tis Better to Give: The Conduct Manual as Gift,” in The Culture of the Gift in Eighteenth-Century England, ed. Linda Zionkowski and Cynthia Klekar (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009): 79-106.
- “Stepmommy Dearest? The Burneys and the Construction of Stepmotherhood,” Eighteenth-Century Women, Volume 5 (2008): 133-169.
- “Erasing the Stepmother Story: Frances Burney and Elizabeth Allen,” in A Celebration of Frances Burney, ed. Lorna J. Clark (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007), pp. 57-73.
- “Calamity Jane? Austen and Owen Wister’s The Virginian,” Persuasions: The Journal of the Jane Austen Society of America, Vol. 27 (2005), pp. 219-33.
- "'A-Killing Their Children With Safety’: Maternal Identity and Transgression in Swift and Defoe,” in Lewd and Notorious: Female Transgression in the Eighteenth Century, ed. by Katharine Kittredge (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003), pp. 258-82.
- “Circulating Jane,” Persuasions: The Journal of the Jane Austen Society of America, Vol. 25 (2003), pp. 129-40. reprinted in Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 217 (Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2006), pp. 78-84.
"Elegant Extracts," Jane Austen in 41 Objects, the Jane Austen House Museum, Fall 2017.
- “Mothers/Mother Figures,” The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of British Literature 1660-1789 (2015).
- “Stepmothers/Stepfamilies,” The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of British Literature 1660-1789 (2015).
- “Introduction,” Disjointed Perspectives on Motherhood, edited by Catalina Florescu (Lexington Books, 2013).
- “Shaping a Legacy: Alicia Lefanu’s Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mrs. Frances Sheridan,” The Female Spectator (Winter 2013}: 6-7.
- “Jane Austen, Pound for Pound,” Persuasions Online, Volume 33 #1, Winter 2012.
- Book project on motherhood and authorship
- Book project on Jane Austen and popular culture
- Jane Austen Society of North America International Visitor Fellowship, Summer 2015
- American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies/McGill Fellowship, July 2012
- Chawton House Library Fellowship, May 2012