During the course of my career I have published on the history and theory of editing, commentary, and interpretation; on book history; on literary applications of Information Technology, especially in editing; on the development of English as a discipline and profession in the University; on the history of hermeneutics; on the theory and practice of literary interpretation and editing in the eighteenth century; and on poetry and language. I have written studies of a number of eighteenth-century authors (Swift, Addison, Pope, Smart, Sterne, Johnson, Malone, and others). My central research project has been a broad-based investigation of the nature of texts (and paratexts), including issues of editorial theory, textual knowledge and historical hermeneutics. My main research questions have related to the transmission, understanding, explication and presentation of texts.
Above all I am a practising textual editor and annotator. I edited one volume, and co-edited a second volume, of the Oxford English Texts Poetical Works of Christopher Smart (1983, 1987). I published in 2010 an edition of Jonathan Swift’s complex masterpiece, A Tale of a Tub, and associated works, for the Cambridge University Press edition of Swift’s complete works (2010). I am one of the founding General Editors of the new Oxford University Press edition of the Works of Alexander Pope., and am currently editing (with Dr Hazel Wilkinson, University of Birmingham) the volume containing Pope’s Ethic Epistles.
In recent years I have published (or will imminently publish) more than a dozen essays and articles on eighteenth-century literary editing, the theory of editorial commentary, eighteenth-century poetry and poetics, Swift and the book, Samuel Johnson and Shakespeare, Joseph Addison, book history, the practice of the discipline of English literature, and arguments about editing, documentation, and epistemology in the early enlightenment.