My teaching and research focus on early modern book history, poetry, and drama, including Milton and Shakespeare. After leaving Oxford, where I attended on a Rhodes Scholarship, I became a writer for Time magazine, and I also continue to write for popular publications such as Slate, The Week, and The London Review of Books, while teaching classes in creative nonfiction and the essay.
My first book, The Poetics and Politics of Youth in Milton’s England, argues that concepts of youth and childhood inform seventeenth-century debates over political and poetic voice. My second, Networking Print in Shakespeare’s England, uses the tools of network theory and analysis to examine early English print networks and to demonstrate the way changes in the communications system reshaped early modern literature, thought, and politics. It is based in part on Shakeosphere, an online tool that I built in collaboration with data and information scientists with the goal of mining and mapping nearly every written record in English before 1800, including major print and manuscript catalogues like the English Short Title Catalogue, OCLC-WorldCat, and EEBO-TCP.
I’m honored to chair one of the nation’s most vibrant English departments, where I’m committed to creating equitable, inspiring, experiences for all University of Iowa students. As part of that commitment, I was a charter member of the First Gen Task Force and I’ve completed my certification in the Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity (BUILD) program.
I’m always happy to talk to students about prestigious scholarship opportunities, books, cultural politics, and basketball. You can find my articles for The New Republic, which sometimes include cameos by current students or colleagues, at my author page.
Medieval & Early Modern