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LSU Today Flagship Faculty
What was your previous position and where?I was teaching at Swarthmore College, in Swarthmore, Penn., as an assistant professor before I came to LSU.
What brought you to LSU?I had taught at Tulane before I went to Swarthmore and I loved working in Louisiana. The LSU English department has an outstanding reputation that stretches back to when Robert Penn Warren taught here. I was excited when a job in my field became available.
What is your research interest?I have just completed a book that explores how the negative feelings we have about money are incarnated in heiresses in the novel from Jane Austen to Henry James – Miss Bingley and Lady Catherine de Bourgh in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" epitomize the figures I analyze. They represent all that is vulgar about possessing wealth. But they must be in the novel so that we can see that Elizabeth and Darcy bear no trace of that attitude.
I am beginning a new project on Anthony Trollope's mother Frances who traveled in the United States in 1827, visiting among other places Louisiana, and subsequently wrote a series of novels that are no longer widely read but had a significant impact on famous Victorian writers like Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte.
What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?I hope to continue to do research that is recognized for its excellence world wide and to teach courses that excite LSU students.
What do you enjoy most about LSU?I enjoy my students. They bring an openness and passion to the classroom that I have not found anywhere else I have taught. I also enjoy the fact that the university and English department are flexible enough to allow me to pursue a wide range of interests both inside and outside the classroom.
What are your major accomplishments?I have just completed a book, "The Vulgar Question of Money," that has been published by Johns Hopkins University Press. The anonymous reader for the press said that it is a work that will be read and studied for years to come. It promises to make a significant intervention in my field of expertise, Victorian studies. A section from the introduction was published in Publications of the Modern Language Association, one of the most prestigious and widely subscribed journals in the field of literary studies. I have also recently had an article accepted at English Literary History, another journal that is difficult to get into. All of the work that went into both the book and the articles was done while I was at LSU.