My teaching, research, and writing explore the relationship between literature and culture of late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Great Britain, with a particular focus on Scotland. I am especially intrigued by literary representations of national and regional identities in poetry, songs, fiction, and autobiographical works. Archival research in England and Scotland, a vital aspect of my work, uncovered a number of significant texts which led to my book entitled Pointed Encounters: Dance in Post-Culloden Scottish Literature (2014, in the SCROLL series from Rodopi Press). By tracing the central motif of Highland dance as an outwardly conforming but covertly subversive expression of Scottish identity, I investigate Scottish musical traditions and literary forms developed between 1750 and 1830.
More recently, I have been exploring Sir Walter Scott’s remarkable legacy in the United States, particularly towns named Waverly. Published anonymously in 1814 and known as the first historical novel, Waverley; Or, ‘Tis Sixty Years Since inaugurated a staggeringly successful series of books that became known as the Waverley novels, since Scott signed subsequent novels “by the Author of Waverley” until he publically acknowledged authorship in 1827. Waverly, Iowa, is one of many U.S. towns named for these popular novels as citizens sought to remember the past, articulate contemporary values, and define their identities in changing settings. I am eager to learn more about this fascinating phenomenon.
The British Novel: Scott to Butler; Introduction to the Novel; Literature and Culture of Nineteenth-Century Britain; Literature and Culture of Nineteenth-Century England; Literature and Culture of Nineteenth-Century Scotland; Reading Novels; Reading Short Stories; Selected Authors: Walter Scott and George Eliot; Selected British Authors Before 1900: Jane Austen and Walter Scott; Selected British Authors: Charles Dickens and Margaret Oliphant; Selected British Authors: George Eliot and Oscar Wilde; Selected Works of the Eighteenth Century; Topics in British Culture and Identity (Diabolical Doctors, Patience Proponents, and Infectious Intrigue in Victorian Fiction); Topics in British Literature (A Question of Identity: Fiction of the Fin de Siècle; Telling Tales: Short Stories from Great Britain & Ireland); Victorian Literature (Remarkable Women: Victorian Narratives of Quest and Transformation); and Women in Literature