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Personal profile


I am Head of Humanities Research within the School of Creative Arts, and a Principal Lecturer in English Literature. I am also an Associate Director of the Doctoral College with responsibility for postgraduate research students in the discplines of Humanities, Engineering, Business and Law.


My research and writing focuses primarily on literature of the early American republic and the antebellum United States, with further interests in Native American literature, ecocriticism and human-animal studies.  I am the author of the York Notes Companion to Nineteenth Century American Literature.


Current projects focus on: civil unrest and the print culture of post-revolutionary New England; American historical fiction and Indian Removal in the 1820s and 1840s; the New Orleans pirate Jean Lafitte; and bears in American writing.

I have recently published a new critical edition, with notes and introduction, of Magdalen King-Hall's 1944 historical novel, Life and Death of the Wicked Lady Skelton (Hatfield: UH Press, 2016).

I delivered a series of talks about the novel and its links to the Hertfordshire legend of the 'Wicked Lady' highwaywoman at a number of free public events around the county in June 2016.

I would welcome applications and inquiries from students wishing to pursue postgraduate research on American literature, particularly colonial, early national, and nineteenth-century American literature; the American West; travel writing; indigenous writing; environmentalism and literature.



I gained my undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature from Magdalen College, Oxford, before going on to gain an MA in Anglo-American Literary Relations and a PhD from University College, London. I joined the University of Hertfordshire in 2003. I have held a number of roles: Humanities Programme Tutor for four years; School Research Tutor for five years; American Studies co-ordinator for ten years; Acting Head of English Literature and Creative Writing; and Associate Dean Research for the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education, prior to our merger with Creative Arts. From 2021-22 I was interim Dean of the School of Humanities.


Research interests

  • Print culture of the early United States
  • Nineteenth century American literature, especially the antebellum period
  • Writing about the American West
  • Transatlantic cultural exchange
  • Native American writing
  • Literature and the environment

Current research student supervision:

  • 'The Colour of her Clothes: Femininity and Feminism in Modernist Literature by Women' (PhD)
  • 'Adam: Feat of a Black Planet/Constructing a Black Identity' (PhD)
  • 'Representation of working class masculinity in poetry: ‘Putting down our grandfather’s flat caps’' (PhD)

Successful research student supervision:

  • 'Adapting Shakespearean Tragedy into Arab Theatre: A Critical Comparative Edition of Sulayman AL-Bassams's An Arab Tragedy' (PhD)
  • 'Understanding the Anishinaabe worldview in the Birchbark House series by Louise Erdrich' (PhD)
  • 'The Development of the Literary Werewolf: Language, Subjectivity and Animal/Human Boundaries' (PhD)
  • 'Global Tourism and Subjectivity in the Writing of Jan Morris' (MA by Research)
  • 'Maternal Care and the Breast in Literature of the Long Eighteenth-Century' (MA by Research)

Teaching specialisms

  • American literature, particularly pre-1900
  • Literature and transatlanticism
  • African American Literature
  • Native American literature
  • Literature, place and the environment

External positions

External examiner for American Studies, The University of Winchester

Sept 2014Aug 2018

Award External Examiner, University of Plymouth

Jun 2012Jun 2016


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