Park Hall 311

My research focuses on modern British and Irish literature, with particular attention to how literary texts interact with the social, political, and cultural contexts of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  At present I am working on a study of literary modernism's response to the decline and fall of the British aristocracy in the modern democratic age.  This project embraces figures from Wilde and James in the late nineteenth century to Yeats, Woolf, Lawrence, Huxley, and Bowen in the early twentieth century.

Earlier projects include book-length studies of impressionism and censorship.  In A Sense of Shock: The Impact of Impressionism on Modern British and Irish Writing (2011), I consider literary impressionism in relation to social and political upheavals of the modern age, especially the rise of anarchism, terrorism, and nationalism and the emergence of modern discourses of sexuality and gender.  This book includes detailed discussion of several Victorian writers (Pater, James, Wilde, and others) as well as various Moderns (Bowen, Conrad, Ford, Rhys, Wells, and Woolf).  My first book, Modernism and the Theater of Censorship (1996), situates the fiction of James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and Radclyffe Hall in the context of censorship controversies that shaped British writing in the modernist period.

My teaching focuses on British and Irish literature of the late nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries.  I regularly teach undergraduate courses in modern poetry and fiction, especially James Joyce, as well as surveys of British literature since 1700.  My most recent graduate seminars have studied "Ulysses and Company" and "Modernism and the Aristocracy."  In Fall 2017, I will offer a seminar on Forster, Lawrence, Huxley, and Bowen.

I would welcome working with graduate students who specialize in any aspect of modern British, Irish, and American literature; I am especially interested in projects that examine literary texts in relation to historical, critical, and theoretical contexts. The topics of doctoral dissertations I have supervised to completion in the last dozen years include modernist women writers and the periodical press; the impact of early film on James and Conrad; mid-twentieth-century fictions of West Indian immigration; and literary animism in Bowen, Joyce, and Woolf.  I have also supervised M.A. theses on Joyce, Conrad, and T.S. Eliot, among others.


Ph.D., University of Rochester, 1988-1993.

B.A., Cambridge University, 1985-1988.

Wolverhampton Grammar School, 1977-1984.

Selected Publications:


A Sense of Shock: The Impact of Impressionism on Modern British and Irish Writing (Oxford University Press, 2011).

Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day: A Reader's Guide (Continuum, 2001). 

Modernism and the Theater of Censorship (Oxford University Press, 1996).  Listed by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Book.

Some essays, articles, and reviews

“Elizabeth Bowen’s Mélisande,” Texas Studies in Literature and Language (forthcoming).

“Naturalism, Realism, and Impressionism,” in Late Victorian into Modern, 1880-1920, ed. Laura Marcus, Kristin Shepherd-Barr, and Michèle Mendelssohn (Oxford University Press, 2016).

“Varieties of Modernist Im/Personality,” Modern Fiction Studies (Fall 2013).

“Poetry,” in The Blackwell Companion to Modernist Literature and Culture, ed. David Bradshaw and Kevin J.H. Dettmar (Basil Blackwell, 2006). 

“Poet-Critic,” in The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism, ed. Michael Groden, Martin Kreiswirth, and Imre Szeman (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005).

“History, Bloodshed, and the Spectacle of American Identity in Blood Meridian,” in Cormac McCarthy: New Directions, ed. James Lilley (University of New Mexico Press, 2002).

“A Sense of Justice: Whistler, Ruskin, James, Impressionism,” Victorian Studies (Summer 1999/2000).

“Moore, Snow, and ‘The Dead,’” English Literature in Transition (Fall 1999).

“Ezra Pound: Poet as Censor,” Centennial Review (Spring 1999).

Recent presentations

“’A Small Caste of Experts’: Huxley’s Fictions of the Twenties and Thirties,” Sixth International Aldous Huxley Symposium, Almeria, Spain, April 2017 (

“Barren Tragedies: D.H. Lawrence and Elizabeth Bowen,” South Atlantic Modern Language Association, Jacksonville, FL, November 2016.

“Crossings and Crosses: Joyce, Yeats, Bowen,” International James Joyce Symposium, University of London, June 2016.

“Survival Instincts in Isherwood’s Berlin Stories,” Modernist Studies Assocation, Boston, Mass., November 2015.

Vicious Creatures and Ignorant Swans: St. Aubyn and Yeats.”  Symposium on the Status of Literature/Literature of Status, University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa, March 2015.

“Monsters of English Privilege,” MDRN Research Group Lecture, University of Leuven, Belgium, May 2014. 

My Research Areas and Approaches