I work on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, visual, and material culture. The intersection between the book and the Romantic museum reveals an intermedial poetics that cuts across current disciplines and divisions of knowledge. How do Romantic museums and galleries shape practices of reading, writing, and collecting? My current research addresses questions of intermedial translation and adaptation, multisensorial cultural practices, Romantic aesthetics, and critical disciplinarity. Poised between the page and the gallery wall, the imaginary museum and the museum of words, my work offers new interpretations of Blake, Edgeworth, Fuseli, Leigh Hunt, Lamb, and Milton, among others.
My book Henry Fuseli’s Milton Gallery: ‘Turning Readers into Spectators’ (Oxford University Press, 2006) explores exhibitions as aesthetic forms that turned 'readers into spectators', shaping intermedial practices of reading and adaptation.
On questions of reader response, multisensorial reading and intermediality, I have co-edited Dante on View: The Reception of Dante in the Visual and Performing Arts (Ashgate 2007), which contains my essay on Tom Phillips and Peter Greenaway’s Dante, a special issue of 19 on print culture, and Illustrations, Optics and Objects in 19C Literary and Visual Culture (Palgrave 2010).
My current project, entitled ‘The Book Unbound’ explores practices of reading and collecting that question, subvert, or dismantle the book as a cultural form, including Walpole, Blake, and Dickens, from extra-illustration to artists' books. Out of this project I have published:
- 'Dickens Extra-Illustrated: The Case of Nicholas Nickleby', Yearbook of English Studies, 40 (July 2010), 8-32.
- I am currently working on William Blake and extra-illustrated copy of Thomas Gray's Poems (Yale Center for British Art), on which I have published ‘Gendering the Margins of Gray: Blake, Classical Visual Culture and the Alternative Bodies of Ann Flaxman’s Book’, in Blake, Gender, and Culture, ed. H. Bruder and T. Connolly (2012).
On Romantic disorder and the imaginative possibilities of ‘predisciplinarity’, I co-organized an international research network on 'The Disorder of Things: Predisciplinarity and the Divisions of Knowledge, 1660-1850', with Adriana Craciun (Univ. of California, Riverside). Events related to this network include Romantic Disorder: Predisciplinarity and the Divisions of Knowledge 1750-1850 (London, 18-20 June 2008), 'The Disorder of Things: Predisciplinarity After Foucault' (24 Oct 2009), 'The Oceanic Turn' (Riverside); 'Curious Specimens' (V&A 15-17 April 2010), 'Order's Other Histories: Re-visitng South America' (Autumn 2010), and 'Inscriptions: The Material Contours of Knowledge' (10-11 March 2011).
- To read more about this project, see the special issue we guest-edited: ‘The Disorder of Things’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 45: 1 (2011).
I am also working on the material culture of Romanticism in the nineteenth century. On this topic I am co-organizing a conference entitled Romanticism at the Fin de Siècle with Stefano Evangelista (Oxford, 14-15 June 2013).