My research reaches across eighteenth and nineteenth-century literature; it is critical, biographical, and editorial; it focuses on three main areas:
Arts of Place: Arts of Place is a cross-disciplinary research network, which I co-lead with Professor Alexandra Harris. It launched in October 2020 as a forum for new work on landscape and environment both within and beyond the University of Birmingham. It is a vibrant meeting point for graduates, academics, external specialists, and all those who care about what we make of our surroundings. We explore how the cultural histories of localities and regions are shaped by the influences of art, travel and colonialism, displacement and identity, and the cycles of nature.
William Wordsworth and Romanticism: As a Wordsworthian, I am interested in the feelings and memories that become attached to specific environments and how they are captured and communicated through literature. I have published widely on various aspects of Wordsworth’s poetry and his significance in Romantic-period literary history. My particular contribution to Wordsworth scholarship (reflected in my first monograph, Wordsworth's Monastic Inheritance (Oxford, 2018)) has stemmed from a focus on a neglected transitional period in his life and career, between 1807 and 1827, when new relationships and altered political and social conditions helped shape his mature style.
Relationships between Verbal and Visual Arts: Another strand of my research brings together art history and literary criticism. My edition of The Collected Letters of Sir George and Lady Beaumont to the Wordsworth Family (Liverpool, 2021) is a foundation for exploring how relationships between writers, artists, and patrons helped reshape formal and generic trends in nineteenth-century poetry and landscape art. My current book project, The Sister Arts and Romantic Place-Works, explores a moment in the history of the concept of the “Sister Arts”: I am interested in why the kinship between poetry and painting came under attack in the second half of the eighteenth century and how this changed the ways in which Cowper, Crabbe, Wordsworth, Austen, and Scott experienced and presented their local environments. The monograph (due for completion in 2025) will re-conceptualize relationships between place-writing and literary form.