After leaving Oxford, where I attended on a Rhodes Scholarship, I became a writer for Time magazine, and I continue to write for both scholarly and popular publications. My first book, The Poetics and Politics of Youth in Milton’s England, argues that concepts of youth and childhood crucially inform seventeenth-century debates over political and poetic voice. To be an infant implies silence, from the word’s Latin root infans – and as English authors embraced or resisted the idea of government by consent it became necessary to ask when silence ended and authoritative voice emerged. For authors such as Ben Jonson, Thomas Hobbes, and John Milton, I argue, this made coming of age the consummate political act.
My current book project continues to investigate the ways that writers and citizens form meaningful voices, but this time using the tools of network theory and analysis. The book and digital resource I'm working on now has the provisional title: "The Beginning of Now: Contemporaneity in the Early Modern Social Network."
I love teaching Renaissance poetry, drama, and prose, as well as writing, and my students will tell you that I'm something of an old-school grammar hawk.