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Professor in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures+44 (0) 191 33 43434
Member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies+44 (0) 191 33 43434


Before coming to Durham, I gained my PhD from the University of Cambridge, then was Lecturer at King’s College London. I have been the recipient of a Philip Leverhulme Prize and a Kennedy Scholarship to Harvard. 

Research interests

My research interests lie in literary studies, particularly French early modern authors, and cognition. My publications include Cosmos and Image in the Renaissance (2008), on love lyric and scientific poetry; a series of essays on literary apocalypses; and edited volumes or special journal issues, most recently Movement in Renaissance Literature (2018). 

My current book project, Rabelaisian Interactions: Social Cognition and the Early Novel (contracted with Boydell and Brewer), explores how early French novels invite us to reflect on interactive sense-making, and on the potential, the vulnerabilities, and the ethics of our interactions. The book has things to say about genres and generic hybridity; about textual design; about power, ethics and affect; and about friendship and community. At the same time, I aim to refine or complicate accounts of social cognition from the cognitive sciences (with particular focus on models of interaction) and to offer fresh approaches for cognitive literary studies. 

The book project is related to my involvement in collaborative work exploring cognitive approaches to literature, as Research Lecturer on the project ‘Literature as an Object of Knowledge’, directed by Terence Cave, and through various projects subsequently, including two international workshops on kinesis and mindreading that I co-directed with Tim Chesters. 

Postgraduate Supervision

I have supervised theses on a variety of literary topics and welcome enquiries from students who wish to pursue PhDs in areas broadly related to my research interests.

Research interests

  • Sixteenth-century French literature, culture, thought, and history
  • Cognitive sciences and literature
  • Apocalypse and 'poetic prophecy'
  • Movement and embodiment in literature
  • Specificities of literary 'thinking' in relation to other modes of knowledge


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