Associate Professor of English
On Leave 2015-2016
Office Location: Wiekamp Hall, Room DW3137
Office Phone: (574) 520-4230
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PhD Brown University, 1992
Although I wrote my BA thesis on the deceptive art of the witches in Macbeth, after Vassar College I found I was charmed by a quite different kind of literature, namely Victorian novels. Since everything happened in the nineteenth century, those novels had to be long, complex, and rich, even as they addressed the problems of disparate wealth, work, and class and gender systems, not to mention empire. Because these works often manage to be funny, I have done some work on comedy theory, and I often make use of the “long nineteenth century” to include the works of Jane Austen, whom I think the most brilliant woman ever, although my official people include Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot (another brilliant woman), George Meredith, and Thomas Hardy.
In graduate school at Brown, the study of theory made the study of literature not a luxury but a necessity for understanding how we imagine, represent, and make the world, and the idea of needing to do work that gives pleasure has no parallel.