PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Interests and Expertise
Even though Victorian novels get referred to as "big, baggy monsters" because they are long and involve complex plots twists and many, many characters, I love to teach and read them. For me, they offer a glimpse into another world and provide a historical, as well as literary, adventure.
I have long been interested in the intersections of gender, class and identity in the nineteenth century, and my research and teaching reflect a deep commitment to a cultural studies approach to history and literature. My book, Architectural Identities(University of Toronto Press, 2010) examines representations of Victorian domestic life in a range of sources--from fiction to floor plans, autobiography to housekeeping guides. In it, I argue that Victorian middle-class identity was intimately tied to the physical design of homes, and that elements of that design could be manipulated to help redefine one's self. Currently, I am working on two different projects that focus on questions of identity and empire. The first is a collection of primary documents about childhood and empire throughout the century; the second is a book on Victorian travel and Britishness in the age of empire.
I love to bring my research into the classroom. I recently taught several courses focusing on travel and Britishness in the nineteenth century, as well as one on representations of childhood in the context of the British empire. And I am currently developing a course on nineteenth-century Jewish life that will become part of the Jewish Studies minor. In addition to courses on Victorian fiction, non-fiction prose, and poetry at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, I also teach introductory courses, the Senior Seminar that serves as a capstone for majors, and the course on graduate studies that is the gateway for our MA program.
Victorian Feasts and Famines
The British Novel, 1832-1914
Major Authors: Charles Dickens; The Brontes
Critical Practices in Literary Studies
Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama
Recent Publications and Presentations
Architectural Identities: Domesticity, Literature, and the Victorian Middle Classes, University of Toronto Press
“Redesigning Femininity: Miss Marjoribanks’s Drawing-Room of Opportunity,” Victorian Literature and Culture<
“Constance Naden and the Erotics of Evolution: Mating the Woman of Letters with Man of Science,” Nineteenth-Century Literature
"Envisioning Domesticity, Locating Identity: Constructing the Victorian Middle Class through Images of Home"Defining Visual Rhetorics
“’Becoming a Victorian Reader’: The Serial Reading Process in the Modern Classroom,” Victorian Periodicals Review
"Speaking Pictures: The Fantastic World of Christina Rossetti and Arthur Hughes"