Professor — English
I received my doctorate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and my M.A. and B.A. from Colorado State University. My areas of specialization include Anglo-Irish Modernism, Twentieth and Twenty-First-Century Anglophone Literature (including Margaret Atwood and book, Modernism, Metaphysics and Sexuality (Susquehanna University Press), examines how a destabilized perception of truth at the turn of the twentieth century also affects how we look at gender and ultimately how this influences the kind of art that was produced. The problem of “truth” that has influenced so much of our contemporary discourse was in full swing at the beginning of the twentieth century, creating angst in some artists, but exhilaration in others as many of the constraints of the previous Victorian period fell to the wayside. I am fascinated particularly by how the latter—how our changing perceptions of truth produced new and different attitudes toward gender, sexuality, and art. My co-edited essay collection, Doris Lessing: Interrogating the Times (The Ohio State University Press) addresses how Lessing’s work haunts current cultural concerns.
Many of my recent publications have been on Margaret Atwood who has emerged as a keen observer of contemporary culture. My work here addresses Atwood’s focus on power and representation—how the stories we tell affect how we see the world. My article on Atwood’s “Death by Landscape” won the Atwood Society Best Article in 2012. I am also interested in how her work intersects the trajectory of certain literary theories, with postmodernism being a solution to a slow slip into totalitarianism in The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and postmodernism then becoming part of the problem in her MaddAddam trilogy (2003-2013). “There were signs and I missed them,” bemoans the one of few survivors of an apocalyptic pandemic in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake (the first novel of the trilogy published in 2003). These signs, I contend, are important cues for reading our own culture.
Outside of academe, I enjoy cooking, gardening, and playing with my cat.
Modernism, Metaphysics, and Sexuality (Selinsgrove, PA: Susquehanna University Press), 2006.
Doris Lessing: Interrogating the Times, with Phyllis Perrakis and Sandra Singer, eds. (Columbus: Ohio State University Press), 2010.
“No Magical Fish” The Apocryphal Book of Tobit in Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy,” The Explicator 78.2 (April 2020): 88-92.
“Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy: Postmodernism, Apocalypse, and Rapture,” in Studies in Canadian Literature / Études en Littérature Canadienne 39.2 (Spring 2014): 22-44
“‘And they went to bury her’: Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin and The Robber Bride,” with Sarah Appleton Aguiar, in Adventures of the Spirit, ed. Phyllis Perrakis (Columbia: Ohio State University Press, 2007): 126-52.
“Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: False Borders and Subtle Subversions,” in Literature Interpretation Theory 6 (1995): 257-68.
“Breaking the Engagement with Philosophy: Re-envisioning Hetero/Homo Relations in Maurice,” in Queer Forster, eds. Robert Martin and George Piggford (University of of Chicago Press, 1997): 151-65.
“Rescuing the Concrete and Other Things Physical from the Dung Heap: Eavan Boland’s Outside History and In a Time of Violence,” in Colby Quarterly 32 (1996): 135-42.