I am currently a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. I previously received my Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2015 after completing a dissertation on the Miniature and Victorian Literature and worked at Concordia University Texas, where I taught academic research and writing and worked in the writing center. My primary research interest is Victorian literature and culture, but I also work on book history, gender studies, children’s literature, the Gothic tradition, Victorian poetry, and medievalism.
My current book project seeks to restore size as a major category of the imagination during the Victorian age. With the huge novels of George Eliot and the large-scale architecture of the city in mind, we have come to characterize the Victorian period as an era of massiveness. However, I show that the Victorians were fascinated with miniature things, from miniature paintings to dolls, fairies, microscopes and miniature books. Based on an investigation of a series of material objects, my dissertation contends that Victorian miniatures are less minor details than major points of origin for fantasies about other worlds, which rival reality in their vividness and immediacy. Drawing on aesthetic theory, art history, child psychology, the history of science and the history of the book, I show the powerfully liberating influence of size on the imagination across disciplinary boundaries. My dissertation uses the methods of material history to new effect, asking us, not to imagine the historical world of the Victorians, but to enter into the Victorians’ imaginations of miniature worlds.
I was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, and I continue to have an abiding love for the Midwest (including its frigid winters). But I’ve spent the past nine years exploring other parts of the country. I received a B.A. in English from Princeton University in 2009, graduating both Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. That fall, I moved to Boston to complete my Ph.D. in English at Harvard University. I currently live in Pasadena, California, where I enjoy the beautiful weather and vibrant cultural life of the area.