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 continue to write for both scholarly and popular publications, including Slate, The Week, and The London Review of Books.
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. 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 direct Iowa’s General Education Literature program, where I supervise the instruction of about 1,500 undergraduates each semester, and am committed to creating equitable, inspiring, experiences for all University of Iowa students. As part of that commitment, I participate in the Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity (BUILD) program, with courses completed in “Creating Equitable Gateway Courses,” “Managing Difficult Conversations,” “Challenging Conversations,” and “The Culture Behind Sexual Assault: Replacing Rape Culture with Consent Culture.”
I’m always happy to talk to students about 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.