I work on environment and literature in the Victorian period, with particular interest in pastoral, ecocrisis, pollution, and social and environmental justice. My main focus is on the instabilities and cultural functions of pastoral in canonical and non-canonical fiction of the early-Victorian period, but I am also interested in late-Victorian environmental disaster narratives and nineteenth-century Utopianism, and my original research heartland (John Ruskin) remains important to me.
I would consider postgraduate enquiries relating to any of these areas, and would welcome opportunities for media interviews and other opportunities to speak about my work.
I am currently working on a monograph on pastoral in early Victorian fiction that is rooted in recent ecocritical interest in the urban and rural; environmental sovereignty and hierarchies; slow violence and environmental justice criticism; boundaries/intersectionality; and deconstruction. Recent essays on Dickens and pastoral and Ruskin and ecology were early manifestations of this project. I am editing a four-volume collection of primary sources on the history of environments and ecology in the long nineteenth century. I also work on late-Victorian environmental disaster narratives, particularly the work of Richard Jefferies, and I have produced a scholarly edition of Richard Jefferies' After London.
My research on John Ruskin and 19th century science, politics, and culture yielded a monograph, The Lost Companions and John Ruskin's Guild of St George: a Revisionary History and articles for Victorian Literature and Culture, Nineteenth Century Prose, Journal of Commonwealth Literature. Green Letters, and a special issue of Critical Survey (co-edited with Paraic Finnerty).
I am interested in literature and environment in the Victorian period, and my work is rooted in a range of recent and emerging ecocritical contexts. I focus on:
- Pastoral modes in early-Victorian fiction (Dickens, Eliot, Trollope, Thackeray, Martineau, Oliphant, Surtees, Ainsworth, penny dreadfuls, silver fork novels, chartist literature).
- Issues of environmental justice, slow violence, pollution, and environmental injustice.
- Social impacts of rapid industrial, demographic, economic, and technological change in the Victorian period.
- Late-Victorian environmental disaster narratives (Richard Jefferies, William Delisle Hay, Grant Allen, Robert Barr, M. P. Shiel).
- John Ruskin.
I co-ordinate the second year module, Dystopian and Apocalyptic Environments: Ecocrisis in the Literary Imagination', and teach on two first-year modules, The Short Story: Murder, Madness and Experimentation and Popular Culture. I am on the supervisory teams of three doctoral students, regularly supervise MRes students, and will be involved in a forthcoming new distance-learning MA, Gothic Victorians.
I am available for media interviews and other opportunities to speak about my work.