I’m a Career Development Fellow in French at St John’s College, Oxford. I research and teach early modern French literature and cultural history, with a focus on the eighteenth century, and I have work published or forthcoming in French Studies, Romanic Review, and with the Voltaire Foundation. My doctoral research, being revised for publication with Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, shed 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), my research showed that these ideas emerged before the French Revolution, propelled by an overlooked eighteenth-century quarrel about how to reform literary teaching in schools.
My second book project, Playing on Words. A History of French Literary Play, 1635–1789, 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. In January 2022 I will begin a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Queen Mary, University of London, to pursue this research.
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, on French literature and cultural history from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth centuries, literary theory, and translation.
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.