While my research focus is nineteenth-century British literature and culture, I am an interdisciplinary scholar with an interest in the history and theory of the novel, aesthetics, philosophy, video game studies, and eco-criticism. For more information, please see a full version of my curriculum vitæ.
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My dissertation is tentatively entitled Worldly Figures: Character, Logic, and Social Belonging. In my dissertation, I examine the logical relations of social being and belonging in nineteenth-century British novels. During Britain’s ascendancy, belonging presented significant problems, as cities experienced population explosions, cultural identity was no longer rooted in place, and the British Empire expanded through violent wars for colonial dominance. Through four kinds of literary relations—singularity, exceptionality, exemplarity, and referentiality —I investigate how novelists negotiated the relationship between part and whole, being and belonging, that characterized the changing British social imagination as it grew to include the world.
Worldly Figures draws on an archive of literary fiction—including historical novels, burlesques, romance, adventure novels, and romans à clef—by the novelists Walter Scott, William Makepeace Thackeray, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Vernon Lee. Ultimately, I argue that nineteenth-century British novelists depended upon conceptual and logical forms not only to represent abstract concepts but also to emphasize the constitutive role of the imagination in modern social and collective identity.