Personal and Professional Bio:
Originally from rural Saskatchewan, I received my BA and MA from the University of Ottawa, and my PhD from the University of Toronto. I taught at the University of Toronto, chiefly on eighteenth-century poetry and prose, before coming with joy in my heart to RMC. I am passionate about early women writers, and increasingly fascinated with children's literature (particularly books and series that deal with boys becoming men). Occasionally I write poetry, and less often, publish it.
Eighteenth-century women writers, particularly poets; Collecting in the early modern era; Early and contemporary children's literature; Canadian literature
Current Research Projects:
I am especially intrigued by the common, contradictory position held by both early children's literature and writings by women-the dual emphasis on each being relatively insignificant, the product of leisure time, and yet driven by an imperative to be didactic. How, for example, how are the tensions between nonsense and morality negotiated, or are they?
- “Tristram Shandy, boyhood, and breeching,” Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Fall 2015, 28:85-107.
- “Gregor the Overlander and A Wrinkle in Time: Father Lost, Father Found,” Jeunesse: Young People, Cultures, Texts, Winter 2015, 7: 65-85.
- “Good-enough, Bad-enough, Animal, Monster: Mothers in Alice Munro’s The Love of a Good Woman,” Studies in Canadian Literature, 2015 40. 2: 69-87.
- Where the Terror Lies (poems) Toronto: Quattro Books, 2012.
- "Rebelling against Prophecy in Harry Potter and The Underland Chronicles," The Lion and the Unicorn, January 2014, 38:1 45-65
- "Putting this Boy into Breeches: the Ambivalent Ritual of Breeching in the long Eighteenth Century," Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Hamilton, ed. Peter Walmsley (2015)
- Collecting Women: Poetry and Lives 1700-1770 (Bucknell University Press) 2009.
- "Lies, Lies, Lies: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly in Harry Potter" in Reading Harry Potter: Critical Essays II, ed. Giselle Anatol. Praeger Press, 2009: 77-87.
- "The Anthology and the Anachronisms: Aphra Behn in Poems by Eminent Ladies," Eighteenth-Century Women, 2005, 4: 75-103.
- "Poems by Eminent Ladies: The Encyclopedic Anthology of 1755," 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and the Early Modern Era, 2004, 9: 207-236.
- "Safe as Houses: Sorting and School Houses at Hogwarts," Reading Harry Potter: Critical Essays, ed. Giselle Anatol. Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2003: 35-49.
There is no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting. I want to convey this to students. Like their own education and appreciation of literature, their own writing skills are part of a process that we are here to work on together. In most of the courses I teach I assign reading journals to be handed in weekly, and this helps both in encouraging discussion and especially with the continued improvement of writing skills. In aid of the latter, I generally also give the class what I call a TWT (today's writing tip) in which I take 3 minutes with a brief example on the board to illustrate one way of reducing wordiness in their prose, or direct their attention to an online writing website or specific method (for instance, reverse outlining or the paramedic method-both useful writing developments from Purdue University). A fifty-minute class passes quickly, yet much can be achieved and the attention of students engaged with a mixture of lecture, discussion, close-reading, theory, and help with practical application of writing skills.
In upper-level courses, complementing my own research interest in the Eighteenth Century, my teaching involves conveying to students an awareness of the history of the book as well as the history of ideas. I ask students to question the canon they are being taught and the nature of the texts (editions, anthologies) that tend to be too readily accepted.
- ENE100 Introduction to Literary Studies and University Writing Skills
- ENE110 Introduction to Literary Studies and University Writing Skills
- ENE210 Reading the Contemporary World: 1900 to the Present
- ENE300 Eighteenth-Century Satire
- ENE322 Eighteenth-Century Fiction
- ENE381 Major Women Writers to 1900
- ENE383 Major Women Writers: 1900 to the Present
- ENE389 The Influence of English Literature in Enlightenment France
- ENE390 Creative Writing