Bacca Foundation Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Culture and Society
I am an early modernist whose work focuses on sociological and demographic approaches to literary history. I am currently working on a project entitled English Authors, 1500-1700: A Demographic History. This is a prosopographic study of approximately 600 early modern literary authors, situating them within demographic and economic trends including life expectancy, nuptiality, urbanization, and class mobility. It seeks to establish the major patterns in writers' birthplace, class background, lifespan, education, profession, and other characteristics across the period.
My work also examines connections between economic and literary history. My first book, Writing at the Origin of Capitalism (Oxford) attempted to synthesize the findings of book history and early modern English economic history to show how market centralization shaped the production and circulation of books and manuscripts. I have an ongoing interest in the intersection of book history and the economy, including price history, the market for popular and elite literature (ballads versus folios), and the relationship between class and genre.
Other interests include poetry and poetics, language and linguistic change, and the history of authorship. I enjoy considering long literary histories, from the ancient world to the present, and welcome conversations with students at any level who share that interest.
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