My research is concerned with the reception of Shakespeare, and, in particular, with the role of quotation in constructing literary authority. The eighteenth century is a major focus of my work and I have recently completed a monograph on Shakespeare in the eighteenth-century novel.
As Research Fellow at the Shakespeare Institute, I coordinated the AHRC-funded project ‘Interrogating Cultural Value in the Twenty-First Century: The Case of Shakespeare’ (2006-10). Led by Kate McLuskie, and incorporating the work of PhD students Emily Linnemann and Sarah Olive, the project examined Shakespeare’s perceived value in education, publicly-funded theatre and new media, engaging with policymakers and practitioners through consultation with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Arts Council England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
My latest project investigates the role of anthologies and quotation books, from the eighteenth century to the present day, in determining the aesthetic and moral values that are ascribed to Shakespeare; I was awarded a 2011 fellowship to the Folger Shakespeare Libraryin Washington D.C. to develop this research.
In 2013 I led, with Prof. Roberta Pearson and Dr Peter Kirwan from the University of Nottingham, a series of research workshops entitled 'Digital Shakespeare: Reception and Cultural Status in the New Media Age'.
In 2013-14 I was Principal Investigator on the interdisciplinary AHRC-funded project ‘The Uses of Poetry’ (part of the AHRC’s wider Cultural Value Project). The project brought together a team of researchers from English, Psychology, Education, Drama, Philosophy and Creative Writing (and from Birmingham, Reading, Brunel, Oxford, Oxford Brookes and Guildford School of Acting) to investigate and better articulate the benefits of engaging with poetry at all stages of lifelong learning. My co-investigators were Prof. Patricia Riddell (Reading) and Prof. Viv Ellis (Brunel), and the project research fellow was Dr Karen Simecek (Warwick).