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, Benedictine monasticism, and literary form. Uniting these interests, my current book project, The Hermeneutics of Distraction: Arts of Attention in Early Medieval England, argues that distraction and the threats it posed were central in the development of early medieval literature and literary theory, particularly during the 10th-c. monastic "correction" movement traditionally known as the English Benedictine Reform. An article drawn from this project--on difficult style and the history of reading--appeared in New Literary History, and a second piece--on staging (in)attention--is out in Representations.
Additional work has been published or is forthcoming in Anglo-Saxon England, postmedieval, Paideuma, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching, Carmina Philosophiae, and several international collections, and my article on the Old English Boethius was awarded the Paul E. Szarmach Prize for an outstanding first article on the literature or culture of early medieval England.
I am Co-Editor, with Daniel C. Remein, of Dating Beowulf: Studies in Intimacy (Manchester University Press, 2020) [available open access] and, with A. Joseph McMullen, of The Legacy of Boethius in Medieval England: The Consolation and its Afterlives (ACMRS, 2018). 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 an Assistant Professor of English at UCLA. In my free time, I love to cook, hike, and eat in and around Los Angeles.