My research interests focus in particular on marginal, topical and ephemeral cultural texts, and have resulted in a number of studies of seventeenth century religious writings, especially those from the radical sects, and with a particular focus on gender. I am also interested in middlebrow and material culture of the late nineteenth to mid twentieth century, an interest which I am pursuing through a Wellcome Trust funded project on 'Twin Beds: From Healthy Homes to Healthy Marriages 1870-1970.' I would be interested in supervising projects that related broadly to these areas.
I would be interested in supervising research projects on seventeenth-century literature, particularly writing from the radical religious sects, and on projects relating to twentieth-century women's writing and/or feminist criticism.
My principal area of research is in early modern writing, particularly work by women from the radical sects of the second half of the seventeenth century. My main publications in this area are God's Englishwomen: Seventeenth-Century Radical Sectarian Writing and Feminist Criticism (Manchester University Press, 1996), an edition of the prophet Anna Trapnel's The Cry of a Stone of 1654 (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2000), and the co-edited collection Her Own Life: Autobiographical Writings by Seventeenth-Century Englishwomen (Routledge, 1989).
I am currently pursuing my interest in early modern sectarian writing in three projects. First, I am working, with Lancaster colleagues Alison Findlay and Meg Twycross, on a project entitled 'Quakers in North-West England and the Politics of Space, 1652-1653', examining the ways in which early Quakerism emerged from and was shaped by a series of distinctive spatial networks. A pilot version of the website setting out the work of this project can be seen at: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/fass/projects/quakers/01_quakers_home.html
Second, my work on early Quakerism has resulted in a monograph entitled George Fox and Early Quaker Culture (Manchester University Press, 2011), in which I examine the cultural impact of the doctrine of the indwelling Christ on the early Quaker movement. Third, I am pursuing my interest in the status and meaning of the early modern sectarian journey, which forms a central dimension of both Quaker-related projects, in my work on a new edition of Anna Trapnel’s Report and Plea (1654). This text, a mix of memoir and polemic, is structured by Trapnel’s journey from London to Truro, her arrest, court appearance, and return to London and subsequent imprisonment. Supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, this new edition will be published by the University of Toronto Press series, ‘The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe’ in 2015.
My other main area of research interest is in twentieth-century women's writing and feminist theory. I am currently working on two interrelated projects: the first concerns the structuring of middlebrow women's fiction in the middle years of the twentieth century (such as the novels of E.M. Delafield, E. Arnot Robertson and Lettice Cooper) through trajectories of disappointment; an article arguing for the constitutive importance of disappointment in the faltering subjectivities of the female protagonists of this fiction appeared in Modern Fiction Studies (2009). Secondly, I am also working on a project which emerged from this study on interwar femininity and disappointment: namely, a cultural history of twin beds. This project investigates the mobilisation of twin beds within discourses of modernity, from their origins in late-nineteenth-century discussions of health and hygiene, to their signifying capacity within debates about marriage and sexuality in the twentieth century. An article resulting from this research, entitled 'Together and Apart: Twin Beds, Domestic Hygiene and Modern Marriage, 1890-1945', was published in the Journal of Design History (2010) 23: 275-304; see: http://jdh.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/epq022?ijkey=okMsxy3wzZzS5xT&keytype=ref In 2011-2012, I was awarded a year's research leave by the Wellcome Trust to undertake the next phase of this project.
I would be interested in supervising research projects relating to any of the areas of research interest outlined above. I have supervised to completion PhDs on the following topics:
I have worked in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University since 2000. Before this, I worked at Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education (now the University of Gloucestershire), and at Fircroft College of Adult Education, Birmingham. In 1999, I was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Five College Women's Studies Research Center, Mount Holyoke College, USA, and in 2006 at the Centre for Women's and Gender Studies, University of British Columbia, Canada.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Journal article
Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings › Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary