I’m a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow in the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film at Queen Mary, University of London. My research focus is on early modern (particularly eighteenth-century) French literature and cultural history, and I have work published or forthcoming in French Studies, Romanic Review, and with the Voltaire Foundation. My first book, to be published with Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, sheds new light on how, when, and why several modern ideas of literature emerged in France. Rather than a nineteenth-century creation (as some scholars have claimed), I show that these ideas emerged before the French Revolution, propelled by an overlooked eighteenth-century quarrel about how to reform literary teaching in schools. The research for this book was conducted at the University of Oxford over the course of my DPhil (PhD), and during teaching and research posts that I held at Worcester College (2017-18) and St John’s College (2018-21).
My second book project, funded by the Leverhulme Foundation, is entitled Playing on Words. A History of French Literary Play, 1635–1789. It studies literary and material culture to explore how a diverse range of publics in France and its colonies engaged with word play and literary games. What were these games, who played them, and why? Was play, in fact, a serious matter? These are some of the questions this project seeks to answer.
I have a strong interest in visual and material culture, developed in part from the year I spent as Marketing Officer at the Wallace Collection. I also regularly use digital and sociological methodologies (such as social network analysis) in my research. I bring these interests into my undergraduate and Master’s teaching which has included courses on French literature and cultural history from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth centuries, literary theory, translation into English and translation theory, and film.
Having grown up in rural Somerset, I attended local comprehensive schools and was a first generation university student. I’m passionate about outreach, and always enjoy talking to young people – especially those from non-traditional university backgrounds – who are considering studying languages at university.
I am on the Executive Committee of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (BSECS), and currently serve as their Prizes & Awards Officer.