My first book Shakespeare's Blank Verse: An Alternative History was published in October 2022 by Oxford University Press. This is the first book-length study of Shakespeare’s blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter) and early modern blank verse in general, ranging from the continental precursors of English blank verse in the early sixteenth century to the reception and editing of Shakespeare’s blank verse in the eighteenth century. It takes in writers from Christopher Marlowe to John Milton, and tries to reconnect the study of Shakespeare’s versification to broader literary, theatrical, bibliographical, editorial, historical and social questions.
I am now at work on a complementary pair of books, provisionally titled Shakespeare’s Worldly Style and Forms of Desire: Sex and the Early Modern Sonnet. The first of these books rethinks scholarly descriptions of a ‘Global Shakespeare’ by considering the involvement of Shakespearean poetic form with a suite of international poetic traditions, from Arabic lyric to early American writing. The second book argues that the formal structures of the early modern sonnet – the couplet, the sequence, the volta – were also erotic in character, and that the sonnet was therefore a particularly and peculiarly structural way of apprehending sex in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
I have published articles in The Review of English Studies (about blank verse 'bombast'), Shakespeare Survey (about supernatural metre), Essays in Criticism (about bathos), Shakespeare (about versification and race), and Studies in Philology (about feminine rhyme and boy actors). I have also published peer-reviewed chapters in three edited collections, The Edinburgh Companion to Literature and Music (ed. Delia da Sousa Correa), Reading the Road: Shakespeare's Crossways to Bunyan's Highways (ed. Lisa Hopkins and William Angus), and Humorality in Early Modern Art, Material Culture, and Performance (ed. Kaara Peterson and Amy Kenny). The first is a short polemic against the notion of a 'music of poetry', the second is about the problem of representing pedestrian travel onstage, and the third is about versification and the humors. I have a further chapter forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Sir Philip Sidney (ed. Catherine Bates) which traces the intellectual and continental history of Sidney's versification, and have edited a special issue of the British Shakespeare Association's journal Shakespeare which is titled 'Shakespeare and Versification' (published in September 2022). Finally, I sometimes review new books on Shakespeare and early modern literature for The Times Literary Supplement and a number of academic journals.
This work has been supported by major (1-3 year) research funding from the Leverhulme Trust, the Wolfson Foundation and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.