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Primarily a specialist in British and Irish modernism, I also have long-standing interests in late Victorian literature, American modernism, and contemporary fiction.  My research pursues various historical, theoretical, and interdisciplinary approaches to these bodies of writing in order to explore the large question of how modernist texts interact with their contexts.  

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.  In A Sense of Shock: The Impact of Impressionism on Modern British and Irish Writing (2011), I consider literary impressionism in relation to the social and political upheavals of modernity, as well as aesthetic debates about literature and its connections with other arts.  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 current book-length project is a study of literary modernism's response to the decline and fall of the aristocracy in the modern democratic age.  Organized around affects and attitudes (stupidity, benevolence, and cruelty) that modernists attributed to the aristocracy, this project embraces figures from Wilde and James in the late nineteenth to Yeats, Woolf, Lawrence, Huxley, and Bowen in the early twentieth century.

I teach a range of undergraduate courses on modern British, Irish, and American literature since 1900.  These include 20th-Century British Novel, 21st-Century British Fiction, and James Joyce.  I also teach the sophomore survey of British literature since 1700 and First-Year Odyssey seminars (2015: "Portraits of the Artist"; 2017: "Brave New World in Context").  The topics of my most recent graduate seminars have been "Ulysses and Company"; "Modernism and the Aristocracy"; and "Modern Quartet: 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 contextual approaches to the period. 


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.

Recent essays and reviews

“'A Small Caste of Experts': Aristocracy, Intelligence, and Stupidity in Huxley’s Interwar Fiction," Aldous Huxley Annual 15 (forthcoming).

“Elizabeth Bowen’s Mélisande,” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 59:4 (Winter, 2017, 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).

Review of Daniel Albright, Putting Modernism Together: Literature, Music, and Painting, 1872-1927Review 19 (July 22, 2015):

Recent presentations

"Expatriation, Snobbery, and the Commonplace in Aaron's Rod," SAMLA, Atlanta, November 2017

“Recovering Elizabeth Bowen’s Mélisande,” Victorian Studies Institute Conference, Furman University, Greenville, SC, October 2017

"'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,” SAMLA, 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.


"Elizabeth Bowen in the Wood," 30 November 2017 (  Email interview.

"Nobelist Ishiguro: Novelist of Quiet Riskiness," 7 October 2017 (  Phone interview.

On the censorship of Oscar Wilde’s Salome for “The Censorship Files,” Georgia Institute of Technology, October 2016 (  Email interview.

My Research Areas and Approaches