Areas of Interest & Research:
British Romanticism, broadly defined as 1750-1850
History of Copyright
Ph.D. Dissertation: Imagining Publics, Negotiating Powers: The Parallel Evolutions of Romantic Social Structure and Jane Austen’s Free Indirect Discourse
My dissertation investigates how Austen’s distinct narrative style and inimitable narrative voice reflected the stories of “3 or 4 families in a Country Village” in a manner and form that resonated with her contemporary audience (Letter to Anna Austen Lefroy). This project explores why Austen’s development and command of the free indirect style (a style that blends third-person and first-person narrative techniques) was necessary for the evolution of the novel and interrogates how this stylistic innovation catalyzed the emergence of the genre’s modern form. In order to accomplish this, my research critically examines Austen’s literary lineage, the socioeconomic realities of early nineteenth century Britain, and the narratological features of free indirect discourse. By tracing the evolution of Austen’s style, my dissertation privileges Austen’s construction of the modern novel as her works moved from the disjointed epistolary form, to a blend of psychological and sociological storytelling to, finally, polyvocal narratives that embrace the complexity of competing powers and malleable publics. Overall, my dissertation hypothesizes that Austen’s particular narrative style allowed her to imagine the changing social spaces of her era and negotiate the conflicting ideals of Romantic publics, thereby establishing an intimate connection to the changing lives of her readers, and earning her an early place in the literary canon.
M.A. Project: The Common Place, formerly Digitizing Literature
For my final M.A. project, I developed a series of digital editions focused on lesser-known works by female writers in Britain’s Romantic age. This open-access anthology, The Common Place, formerly Digitizing Literature, began as a final assignment in an English graduate course on manuscript/print culture, and developed into a professional platform for examining and exploring great works by women writers. The project was designed as an undergraduate research resource; each edition is comprised of an author biography, critical introduction, annotated text, and several critical appendices. The Common Place was conceived as an evolving research project and, in 2016, I participated in a Digital Humanities Summer Institute course focused on conceptualizing and creating digital editions with the goal of revising and relaunching the content. My objective in enrolling in this course is to discover ways to better leverage the affordances of a digital platform and to move away from the print-based model that the first version of the site closely followed. The Common Place is the result of this work — a new, non-linear approach to Romantic women writers and their works.