In my doctoral thesis and numerous shorter pieces, I examined case studies in the reception history of James VI and I’s favourite poet, Guillaume de Saluste Du Bartas (1544-90). This evidence supports the argument made in Du Bartas’ Legacy in England and Scotland that Du Bartas’ extraordinary renown led his works to provide a vital model for popular religious and epic verse to which Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Anne Bradstreet, John Milton, Lucy Hutchinson and many other sixteenth- and seventeenth-century poets writing in English responded.
My current research challenges earlier anglocentric readings of the French influence on English literature to present a more inclusive view of Franco-British poetic activity during James VI and I’s reign. I am developing an approach to reception studies that emphasizes how social and cultural settings shape literary activity, uses archival and historical research to inform literary appreciation, and investigates cultural links between England, Scotland and continental Europe conscious of how they help us reflect on present-day relations between those territories.
Other research interests include women writers (especially the early American poet Anne Bradstreet), literary imitation and reading practices, manuscript studies and religious writing.