I specialise in the literature and culture from the period 1550-1760. I primarily work on seventeenth-century England, with a particular focus on John Milton, though my recent work has moved into Milton’s reception history in the Long Eighteenth Century and Enlightenment cultures. I have also published articles and book chapters on early modern dramatists, including Shakespeare; seventeenth-century poets (aside from Milton); and eighteenth-century literary culture in relation to Milton.
My first monograph, “Matter of Glorious Trial”: Material and Spiritual Substance in
(Yale University Press, 2009) was the first study to reevaluate Milton’s
intellectual inheritance (from Plato, Aristotle, and the scholastics)
and to propose that Milton’s poetry responds
to these philosophic legacies by placing conflicting ontological
visions in opposition to one another. The book suggests that poetry was
for Milton a mode of thinking, or philosophic speculation, and that this
practice is exemplified in the ontological commitments
emerging from Paradise Lost and throughout the rest of his poetic oeuvre.
Since the publication of Matter of Glorious Trial, my research and teaching interests have expanded to meditate
increasingly on the more human dimension of, and
responses to, transcendent experiences, specifically in the context of
the passions, rhetoric, theories of affectivity, and the sublime.