My interest in teaching children’s literature arises from a number of aspects of my academic background.

After my Master’s thesis work on Charles Williams, friend of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, the fantasies of Williams, Lewis, and other so-called “Inklings” became one of my imaginative centres for the field, also reflected in my past courses on the Inklings and in published work on Lewis’s Narnia books. My primary training was as a medievalist, with a dissertation on Malory’s Le Morte Darthur; genres of medieval literature such as romance provide a rich historical background for and influence on much children’s literature. The Romantics have always fascinated me, particularly the thinking of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (of “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” fame)—authors so responsible for the construction of the child as the father of the adult (to paraphrase Wordsworth). The Romantics are also formative—though not always acknowledged as such—for the study and practice of literary theory today. So my teaching and research in children’s literature have intermingled with these several ongoing interests. Finally there is the tacit and sometimes explicit presence in my work of my practice as a performing pianist, particularly of the music of Chopin, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, and Scriabin: making music also takes listeners beyond the edge of what can be said.

Degrees Received

A.R.C.T. (Piano Performance, The Royal Conservatory of Music)
English Honours (Trent University)
M.A. (Queen’s University)
Ph.D. (Queen’s University)

Current Projects

My current book project builds on the insights of my previous book, Sublime Coleridge, as an intervention into current theoretical discussions of the sublime, including work by Julia Kristeva, Theodor Adorno, Jacques Rancière, and Fredric Jameson. Most of these discussions draw on the more famous formulation of the sublime by Kant, but current theory would also profit from Coleridge’s unique view of the sublime. My book will also focus on sublime rhetoric in Coleridge’s neglected later prose works, such as Aids to Reflection and On the Constitution of the Church and the State.

Featured Publications

  • “Sublime Discourse and Romantic Religion in Coleridge’s Aids to Reflection.” Wordsworth Circle 47 (2016): 27-31.
  • Sublime Coleridge: The Opus Maximum. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
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  • “Coleridge as Thinker: Logic and Opus Maximum,” The Oxford Handbook of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. Frederick Burwick. Oxford UP, 2009. 323-41.
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  • “Piers Plowman and the Sublime.” Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies 9 (1997): 421-40.
  • Rereading Middle English Romance: Physical Layout, Decoration and the Rhetoric of Composite Structure in Some Late Medieval Manuscript Collections. McGill-Queen’s UP, 1995.
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  • “C.S. Lewis’ Narnia Books: The Reader in the Myth,” in Touchstones: Reflections on the Best in Children’s Literature, vol. I, ed. Perry Nodelman. Children’s Literature Association Publications, 1985. 132-45.
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