As a specialist in Old English and Anglo-Latin, I primarily work on the earliest English literature, though my interests extend to poetry and poetic theory from all periods and to broader questions about the history of hermeneutics. In my research and teaching, I ask what it meant to read and write a thousand years ago, when English was only just emerging as a written medium. I am also invested in theories of cognition and concentration, enigmatic literature, schoolroom texts, medieval drama and performance studies, Benedictine monasticism, asceticism, literary form, and affect studies. Uniting these interests, my current book project, Reading Against Distraction in Early Medieval England, argues that distraction and the threats it posed were central in the development of early medieval literature and literary theory. As I demonstrate, distraction was conceived of as a gateway to Hell, but it was also, paradoxically, a gateway to invested reading and interpretation (and thus to attention). An article drawn from this project--on riddles and the history of reading--recently appeared in New Literary History.
Previously, my work has been published in Anglo-Saxon England, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching, and Carmina Philosophiae: Journal of the International Boethius Society, and my article on the Old English Boethius was awarded the Paul E. Szarmach Prize for an outstanding first article in the field of Anglo-Saxon studies.
I am Co-Editor, with A. Joseph McMullen, of The Legacy of Boethius in Medieval England: The Consolation and its Afterlives (ACMRS, 2018) and, with Daniel C. Remein, of Dating Beowulf: Studies in Intimacy (forthcoming from Manchester University Press, 2020). With the San Fernando Valley Refugee Children Center and students from my Spring 2019 "Refugee Literature Then and Now" course, I also produced (Refugee) Children's Stories, a collection of first-person narratives from asylum seekers, immigration attorneys, trauma therapists, and case workers.
Originally from Virginia, I studied English and Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Columbia University, summa cum laude, before completing my PhD in English at Harvard. I am now Assistant Professor of English at UCLA. In my free time, I love to cook, hike, and eat in and around Los Angeles. I am also a poet, with recent work in Colorado Review and Denver Quarterly.