I teach the novel, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British culture, gender, and book history.
My books include How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain (Princeton UP, 2012; Patten Prize, Channing Prize, honorable mention for James Russell Lowell Prize) and The Anthology and the Rise of the Novel (Cambridge UP, 2000). I also edited Unpacking my Library: Writers and their Books (Yale UP, 2011); Literary Secretaries/Secretarial Culture (with Pamela Thurschwell); and (with Seth Lerer) a cluster of essays of PMLA on The History of the Book and the Idea of Literature. Just out in August: What We Talk About When We Talk About Books (Basic Books, 2019).
I write for the New York Times Book Review, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe and Public Books (where I am also a section editor). On the page as in the classroom, I search for ways to make potentially arcane topics accessible and even urgent. My work scouring books for clues about the people who have handled them has been profiled in The New Yorker, The Economist, and the New York Times, and I contributed the nineteenth-century module to Harvard’s online course on the history of the book. In September, I’m moving to the Rutgers University English department to found the Initiative for the Book.