I teach the Prelims Victorian and Modern literature papers at Catz, and selected FHS courses such as Modern American Drama and Literature and Science. I also supervise third-year undergraduate dissertations. My lectures in the Faculty of English cover topics in modern drama and in literature and science from the nineteenth century to the present.
I supervise D Phil students working on a range of topics in modern theatre and performance studies, on the works of the dramatist Henrik Ibsen, on the relationship between theatre and science, and other areas. I also regularly co-convene the Nineteenth-Century MSt strand and the Post-1900 M St strand, and teach C-course options on modern British drama, Victorian theatre, Drama since 1945, and Women and Theatre.
I received my BA in English from Yale University and then worked for two years in the publishing house Alfred A Knopf, Inc in New York City before graduate studies at the University of Oslo (on a Fulbright Grant) and then Oxford, where I received my D Phil in English.
There are three main strands to my research. One is the study of theatre and science, looking at the ways in which plays and performances have engaged with scientific ideas. I edited The Cambridge Companion to Theatre and Science (2020) and my book Theatre and Evolution from Ibsen to Beckett (2015; supported by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship 2011-12) investigates the interaction between theatre and evolutionary theory since the 1840s. Science on Stage: From Doctor Faustus to Copenhagen (2006) explores how various domains such as physics, mathematics, medicine, and biology have been represented on stage, and also looks at the longer history of theatre’s engagement with science, beginning with Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist and Christopher Marlowe’s Dr Faustus. Articles I have published in American Scientist, Nature, Gramma, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, Women: A Cultural Review and elsewhere expand on these topics.
I also work on Henrik Ibsen’s plays. My book Ibsen and Early Modernist Theatre, 1890-1900 (1997) explores how Ibsen’s plays were staged and critically received in England and France in the context of the incipient modernist theatre. Articles I have published in this area have appeared in Theatre Research International, Ibsen Studies, Nordic Theatre Studies, and elsewhere.
The third key research interest for me is in the role of theatrical performance in the historiography of modernism, and I have published on this topic in journals such as Modernist Cultures and Theatre Research International.
These three strands of research come together in my book Modern Drama: A Very Short Introduction (2016).
I also run a small company called LitHits, founded in 2018, helping break down barriers to reading and encouraging the enjoyment of literature.
For more information see my profile on the Faculty of English web site.