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About me

I study, write, and teach about nineteenth-century U.S. literature, particularly the intersections between literature, political philosophy, and cultural history. 

My first book, The Vision of Principles: Political Liberalism and the Rise of the American Literary Romantic Tradition, currently under contract with Oxford University Press, explores how US writers, working within a burgeoning Romantic movement, grappled with the pervasive disagreement and strife over the moral ideas at the core of democracy during the nation's formative years. It argues that the growing interest in the Romantic imagination during this period was not a retreat from public life but an earnest attempt to examine the habits of mind and feeling that are integral to moral experience and acts of political judgment. By situating literary works in relation to both contemporaneous debates about US democracy and broader conversations about liberal ideas, The Vision of Principles demonstrates how American writers made purposeful contributions to political liberalism's long-running, and always-ongoing, quest to understand how individuals embracing a diverse array of moral, philosophical, and religious beliefs might nevertheless form a stable and just society--a topic with important resonances in our own moment of deep division and moral strife. 

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! 

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19th-Century U.S. Literature


Ph.D., English, Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

M.A., English, Trinity College

Hartford, CT

B.S., Mathematics, Dickinson College

Carlisle, PA

American Romanticism

Moral and Political Philosophy

Political Oratory

Intellectual and Cultural History

Literature of Slavery & Abolition

African American Literature

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