I’m a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow in the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film at Queen Mary, University of London. My research centres on early modern French literature and cultural history, and I have work published or forthcoming in French Studies, Romanic Review, Forum for Modern Language Studies, and with the Voltaire Foundation. My first book, published in 2023 with Liverpool University Press (OUSE series), sheds new light on how, when, and why several modern ideas of literature emerged in France. 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 during my DPhil (PhD), and posts 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 am one of the 2023 BBC-AHRC New Generation thinkers. As part of this scheme, I will be presenting a number of programmes based on my research for BBC Radio 3, across 2023-24.
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 regularly use digital and sociological methodologies in my research. I also enjoy bringing these interests into my undergraduate and Master’s teaching on a wide range of French and Comparative Literature modules.
Having grown up in a village in Somerset, I attended local comprehensive schools and was a first generation university student. I’m passionate about outreach, and always enjoy talking to people – especially those from non-traditional university backgrounds – who are considering studying the humanities at university.