I study, write, and teach about eighteenth- and nineteenth-century U.S. literature, particularly the intersections between literature, political philosophy, and cultural history.
My first book, Political Liberalism and the Rise of American Romanticism (Oxford University Press, forthcoming) explores how one of the most important literary traditions of the nineteenth century—Romanticism—developed in response to widespread moral and political conflict over the very nature of democracy in the nation’s formative early decades. It recovers the philosophical tradition of political liberalism, long overlooked by literary scholars, to show how liberal ideas influenced American writers who were trying to make sense of the divisiveness that seemed inherent to democratic life. I argue that it was those philosophical engagements that sparked Romanticism’s rise and eventual flourishing as U.S. writers increasingly embraced the imagination’s vital role in democratic culture.
Before pursuing the study of English, I majored in math and worked as a health insurance actuary for several years--part of my full-hearted embrace of the liberal arts!
RESEARCH & TEACHING INTERESTS
18th- & 19th-Century U.S. Literature
Ph.D., English, Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA
M.A., English, Trinity College
B.S., Mathematics, Dickinson College
Moral and Political Philosophy
Intellectual and Cultural History
Literature of Slavery & Abolition
African American Literature