I studied for my BA (2003) and MA (2004) in English Literature at University College London. I then moved to Birkbeck and the London Consortium, where I wrote my PhD about literary and cinematic representations of mass housing in London and Paris, graduating in 2008. This research became the basis of my first book, Fictions of the City: Class, Culture and Mass Housing in London and Paris, published by Palgrave in 2009.
At various times I have taught English Literature (and its theoretical, historical and cultural contexts) at UCL, Goldsmiths, Central St Martins, Birkbeck , Camberwell College of Arts, and the Open University. I worked as a postdoctoral research assistant on the Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism, published by the British Library and Academia Press in 2009. I then took up a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in the English Department at Queen Mary in 2010. Around that time I was appointed as associate editor of Critical Quarterly, and in 2015 I became deputy editor of that journal.
I arrived at UEA in 2012, first as a Leverhulme Fellow and then, from September 2013, as a lecturer.
Key Research Interests
There are three main strands to my research.
My first book Fictions of the City: Class, Culture and Mass Housing in London and Paris (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2009) examined literary and filmic representations of mass housing from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth. The book focussed on the ways in which seismic changes in urban dwelling patterns were registered in literature and film, from novels like Emile Zola’s L’Assommoir and George Orwell’s Coming Up for Air to films such as La Haine and Nil By Mouth. The book argued for a fundamental rethinking of the culture of the modern city, countering a widespread critical obsession with outdoor phenomena – streetwalking, windowshopping and flânerie – in order to focus on the changing realities of indoor inhabitation. I continue to be interested in literary representations of urban (and suburban) life, and am actively publishing in this area. I have also published book chapters on Julian Barnes’s Metroland and suburbia, on G.K. Chesterton and the city, and on Andrea Levy’s depictions of urban council housing (see publications).
I am currently working on a project about the cultural resonances of the Russian Revolution in Britain. This project was supported by a three year Early Career Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust. The resulting book will explore ways in which the impact of the Bolshevik Revolution went beyond the political sphere, and inflected literary and cultural debates about topics as diverse as mathematics, sex, religion, agriculture and law. The project draws together a wide selection of writers and intellectuals, including among others H.G. Wells, G.K. Chesterton, G.B. Shaw, Dorothy Richardson, Rebecca West, J.M. Keynes, the Woolfs, Koestler, Spender and Orwell. I have published some articles and chapters in connection with this project, listed in my publications section.
Finally I am also interested in the history and theory of print and other mass media, and in particular the legislative and juridical constraints (taxes, licensing, copyright, censorship) within which these operate. These interests were developed in the course of my work on the Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism. I am developing a funding bid to support a large collaborative project about piracy.
I would be very interested to hear from potential doctoral students with interests in these areas.
External Activities and Indicators of Esteem
- Deputy Editor of Critical Quarterly (www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0011-1562)
- Co-director (with Rebecca Beasley) of the Anglo-Russian Research Network (http://anglorussiannetwork.wordpress.com/)
- Advisory Board, British Library ‘Dicovering Literature' project (http://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians)
- Affiliate of the City Centre, UCL (www.ucl.ac.uk/citycentre)
- Member of the British Association of Modernist Studies (http://www.bams.ac.uk/)
- Member of the Modernist Studies Association (http://msa.press.jhu.edu/)