My research focuses on the language and legacies of Romantic literature. I'm especially interested in issues relating to dialect and language variation in poetry. My first monograph, The Language of Robert Burns: Style, Ideology and Identity, employed ideas from twenty-first century sociolinguistics to explore the creative and self-reflexive ways in which Burns reinvented the linguistic resources at his disposal. Dialect matters are also the focus of my work on Wordsworth, the eighteenth-century Cumbrian writer Josiah Relph and the novels of the early nineteenth century. I'm currently preparing an article for publication on the language of John Clare.
The other strand of my research focuses on the representation of the lives of the Romantics in fiction, film and other media. These reimaginings, which range from the scrupulously factual to the wildly fanciful, have traditionally occupied an awkward and marginal role in relation to mainstream literary scholarship. But my research suggests that such biographical fictions constitute offer us new and unexpected ways of understanding the role of Romantic ideas and myths in cultural memory. Outputs from this research include an article on the Romantics in alternate history (published in 2018) and a monograph (in preparation).
My teaching interests span language and literature. On the language side, I teach a third-year stylistics module; on the literature side, I can, will and do teach everything that lies between Renaissance literature and present-day comics, science fiction and film noir, with special focus on eighteenth-century and Romantic writing. Proposals for dissertations on anything relating to Romanticism, dialect writing or Romantic legacies are very welcome.