About me and current work

Office: 431 Williams, FSU English Department

I am an Associate Professor of English at Florida State University and Core Faculty with the History and Philosophy of Science Program.

I teach courses on 19th-century British culture.
Most of the courses I offer focus on literature and science, literature and medicine, or the history and theory of the novel.

FSU English department (click here)
Email me (click here)
Please send me an email — or two; my FSU email is not always reliable!

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My current book manuscript, Beautiful Mechanism: Wonder and Skepticism in Victorian Microscopy, examines Victorians’ skeptical romance with the microscope. Work on this has been supported by an NEH summer stipend, a Huntington-Linacre Exchange Fellowship at Oxford University, an NEH yearlong fellowship, and a Dibner Fellowship in the History of Science and Technology at the Huntington Library. You can read more about it here and here.

I’m also interested in how nineteenth-century British novels and medical texts begin to use and resist using visual quantitative narratives, specifically tables, charts, and statistics. Work on this project includes the talk I gave on mediate auscultation at the University of Konstanz, Germany during Summer 2015 and the paper I gave at MLA 2016 on “Oliver as statistical unit.”

With Piers Hale, I am series co-editor of Routledge Historical Resources in Science, Technology, and Medicine. This is an online resource curating an extensive range of Victorian-era primary sources and contemporary books and articles on c19 STEM topics, with critical introductions. The collection will be published as print volumes and etexts and will be available in an online database.

You can read a recent interview with me here.

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I published Revising the Clinic: Vision and Representation in Victorian Medical Narrative and the Novel in 2010. The book examines the interplay between medical case histories and British novels from the eighteenth century to the age of Freud. Reissued in paperback in 2017.

Quick guide to recent work:

“Writing realism in nineteenth-century British literature and medicine,” in Literature and Medicine: The Nineteenth Century, ed. Andrew Mangham. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2021, pp. 19-37.

“‘Throes and struggles . . . witnessed with painful distinctness’: The oxy-hydrogen microscope, performing science, and the projection of the moving image.” Victorian Studies 62.1 (Autumn 2019 [released March 2020]): 85-118.

Tono-Bungay and Burroughs Wellcome: Branding Imperial Popular Medicine.” Victorian Literature and Culture 45.1 (2017): 137-62.

“‘A True Prophet’?: Speculation in Victorian Sensory Physiology and George Eliot’s ‘The Lifted Veil.’” Nineteenth-Century Literature. PDF available here.

‘Discriminating the minuter beauties of nature’: Botany as Natural Theology in a Victorian Medical School,” in Strange Science: Investigating the Limits of Knowledge in the Victorian Age, ed. Shalyn Claggett and Lara Karpenko; forward by Gillian Beer. Ann Arbor: U Mich Pr.

“Open Annotation and Close Reading the Victorian Text: Using Hypothes.is with Students.” Journal of Victorian Culture. October 2016: 1-9. DOI 10.1080/13555502.2016.1233905. Fulltext available here.

“Cleanliness and Medicinal Cheer: Harriet Martineau, the ‘People of Bleaburn,’ and the Sanitary Work of Household Words” in Victorian Medicine and Popular Culture, ed. Louise Penner and Tabitha Sparks.  Pickering & Chatto, 2015, pp. 41-51. Currently published by Routledge.

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