My research originally took its rise from my enthusiasm for the poetry of Alexander Pope. Having written a PhD dissertation on attitudes to the medieval inheritance in Pope’s work, in 1989 I contributed to the growing interest in women and literature with my study Women’s Place in Pope’s World (Cambridge University Press), which was awarded the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize by the British Academy.
My focus then turned to issues of textual editing, and in 1999 I published an edition of the climactic work of Pope’s career, the complex and challenging Dunciad in Four Books of 1743 (Longman Annotated Texts). Since then I have collaborated on the multi-volume The Poems of Alexander Pope for the Longman Annotated English Poets series, and in 2007 I published Volume 3, containing The Dunciad. A Heroic Poem (1728) and The Dunciad Variorum (1729).
In 2013 I published volume II of The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift. My volume, Parodies, Hoaxes, Mock Treatises: Polite Conversation, Directions to Servants and Other Works, also includes the Bickerstaff Papers and writings on language and manners. I am currently working towards a major book provisionally entitled ‘Publishing Swift: A Textual Life’. (The inugural lecture posted below introduces some of the thinking behind the book.)
I have also published articles on women writers of the eighteenth century such as Judith Cowper and Mary Leapor, and on wider issues arising from Pope’s career, including the relations between literature and music and between Pope and his poetic predecessors.
I am Director of the Centre for Literary Editing and the Materiality of the Text.