My major research project is a book in progress, adapted from my dissertation work: Devilish Curiosity in Eighteenth-Century British Literature. It investigates why British writers link devils to knowledge that is forbidden, secret, or threatening but also perversely appealing. Intervening into current debates about knowledge-making practices, religion, and secularization in the long eighteenth century, I argue that literary texts use devils to articulate a particular form of curiosity that is driven by pleasurable and/or perverse objects and seeks unproductive ends. Depictions of the devil and devilry helped readers and writers navigate tensions between competing sources for authority and legitimacy, including secular and spiritual institutions; old and new ways of conceiving of literature, theology, and philosophy; and historiographical and religious ideas from around the globe. Devilish Curiosity shows why literary devils were key to expressing inquiries into the nature of knowledge and the pleasures of pursuing dangerous ideas.
If you would like to learn more about my research on devils, take a look at “The Devil on Holiday in Eighteenth-Century England,” a short video conversation between me and Andy Kesson about devils, voyeurism, and knowledge, available now on A Bit Lit.
“Stage Devilry: Knowledge, Pleasure, and Antitheatricality on the Eighteenth-Century English Stage.” Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, vol. 21, no. 3, 2021, pp. 20-36.
“Observation, Sympathy, and Education in Charlotte Smith’s Conversations Introducing Poetry.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, vol. 45, no. 3, 2020, pp. 244-60.
“Charlotte Smith’s Ugly Feelings.” SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, vol. 59, no. 3, 2019, pp. 605-24.
“The Virgin and the Spy: Authority, Legacy, and the Reading Public in Eliza Haywood’s The Invisible Spy.” Eighteenth-Century Fiction, vol. 30, no. 4, 2018, pp. 473-93.
“Satirical Conservatism in Catherine Ann Dorset’s Papillonades.” Children’s Literature, special issue of Women’s Writing, vol. 25, no. 1, 2018, pp. 35-50. (Republished in Children’s Literature in the Long 19th Century, edited by Ann Alston and Catherine Butler, Routledge, 2019.)
Refereed Digital Publications
“The Asmodeus Flight: Voyeurism, Forbidden Knowledge, and Satire.” The 18th-Century Common, 19 September 2020.
Editor, The Works of Catherine Upton: The Siege of Gibraltar and Miscellaneous Pieces. Electronic edition with scholarly apparatus. Romantic Circles, June 2017.