I am a faculty member in the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of South Carolina, where I promote the use of the library’s special collections materials through courses, research projects, and events. My background is in Comparative Literature, and I specialize in British and French literature and culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Romanticism, the history of the novel, and the history of the book.
In general, I am interested in how form, whether literary or printed, shapes meaning. Specifically, I am drawn to interactions between literary form and visual experience, and I tend to look closely at figurative, skewed, and multiple visualities: narrative “perspective,” the graphic display of information, and print as a medium that is always visual and verbal. I have written about ways that novelistic and print forms, such as frame tales or authorial footnotes, allow different voices to mingle. My book, Vicarious Narratives: A Literary History of Sympathy, 1750-1850 (Oxford, 2019), studies narrative forms, including embedded tales, epistolary fiction, and novelistic extracts, for the ways that they redefine sympathy as a narrative experience capable of temporarily transcending human difference. More recent and current work explores printed, typographical forms, including paratexts, tables, and illustrations, for the ways they multiply the reading experiences literary texts can foster. I have expanded my interests in visuality through The Digital Piranesi, a large-scale digital humanities project devoted to the artist and printmaker Giambattista Piranesi.