My research covers the period of the long eighteenth-century, roughly 1680-1830. I am interested particularly in prose style of the period, including prose fiction and the novel but also ephemeral or marginal forms of writing, especially ones that blur the boundary between fact and fiction and public and private, as diaries and letters often do. I am a specialist on eighteenth-century literary letters and archives; as well as a monograph on the epistolary novelist Samuel Richardson and an edition of his correspondence, I have recently written articles on Defoe and Swift as letter-writers.
Samuel Richardson’s Letters: Monograph and Edition
My first book, Samuel Richardson and the Art of Letter-Writing (Cambridge University Press, 2016), examined the links between the novelist’s correspondence, his epistolary novels, and the shaping of his authorial career. As a result of this work, I have recently co-edited (along with George Justice and Sören Hammerschmidt) Richardson’s Correspondence Primarily on Pamela and Clarissa (1732-1749) for Cambridge University Press, which is volume 9 of The Cambridge Edition of the Correspondence of Samuel Richardson, the first full scholarly edition of his letters.
Letters, Letter-Writing, and Epistolary Novels
I’m currently working on a book which studies the history of literary letter-writing in the period after Alexander Pope’s authorized publication of his correspondence in 1737 until the Romantic era; it’s provisionally entitled The Making of Letters as Literature: 1737-1830. In it I will explore Pope’s influence on concepts of epistolary fame through a series of case studies of letters archives from Swift to Byron, as well as other lesser-known writers.
I enjoy talking and writing about eighteenth-century fiction for public and expert audiences alike. I have written for the British Library on the history of letters both in fiction and as shaping authorial reputation here. I have also recently completed an Oxford Bibliography on ‘The Eighteenth-Century Novel’, an annotated guide to criticism in this area, which can be found online here.
OUP Edition of Alexander Pope’s letters
Aside from my second monograph, I am also currently involved in a new edition of Alexander Pope’s letters to be published as part of The Oxford Edition of the Writings of Alexander Pope. This edition aims to supplant older versions to become the new standard scholarly version of Pope’s letters.
I have a longstanding interest in the forms of satire that eighteenth-century writers work with and against and am especially interested in the way authors are both inspired by and break away from classical precedent. I have considered the way women writers use a form associated with public address and controversial proclamation to their own (sometimes quieter) literary effect in an essay on satire and portraiture for the Oxford Handbook of Eighteenth-Century Satire.