Although I began my career as a modernist, specializing in the work of Virginia Woolf, I have been concentrating on Victorian literature and culture for the last twenty years. I'm especially interested in the novel and its relationship to other kinds of narratives such as journalism, professional discourses, and conduct books, since I see story-telling as an important way in which cultural values are articulated, challenged, and re-made. I study both canonical fiction and popular culture as they participate in this process. The subjects that interest me most are gender, sexuality, and social class, and I retain a special investment in women writers from my days as a Woolf critic. My current book project examines the political implications of Victorian penny novels, strange and sensational tales written for and sometimes by members of the working classes.
Areas of Specialty:
- Victorian Literature and Culture
- Victorian popular fiction and social class
- Gender and Sexuality
- Other Mothers: Beyond the Maternal Ideal (co-edited with Claudia Klaver). Ohio State University Press, 2008.
- Unauthorized Pleasures: Accounts of Victorian Erotic Experience. Cornell University Press, 2003.
- A Room of One's Own: A Reader's Companion. Twayne's Masterwork Studies: Women Writers and the Politics of Creativity. Twayne Publishers, 1995.
- The Invisible Presence: Virginia Woolf and the Mother-Daughter Relationship. Lousiana State University Press, 1986.
- My current projects include co-editing a reader entitled Transnational History of Feminist Thought, with Susan Bordo and Cristina Alcalde, as well as a book-length manuscript on the social imaginary of penny dreadfuls, sensational novels written for working class readers in Victorian England.
I also edit the Victorians Institute Journal.