I write about British literature,
with a focus on listening practices in the Renaissance and Enlightenment.
Music-Criticism-Guide.com. In this online companion to my dissertation, the first book-length study of English music criticism, you can discover how the genre emerged in the Enlightenment. The birth of music criticism is not a story primarily about music. It is a story about writers who scrutinized musical listeners — writers ranging from poetic geniuses to treasonous preachers. Meet these individuals by stepping back into their world, exploring the musical venues they attended, the music they heard, and the listeners they scrutinized from pulpits to periodicals. In recovering their stories, we can begin to see that music criticism has fallen into crisis today for some of the same reasons that the genre was created in the first place: authority in matters of musical opinion has become more ambiguous, with the rapid growth of new media forms and arbiters of musical taste.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the Turkish Embassy Letters: A Survey of Contemporary Criticism. Coauthored with Anna K. Sagal and Elizabeth Zold in Literature Compass, Volume 14, Issue 10 October 2017 (Wiley & Sons). Since the publication of Robert Halsband’s biography of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in 1956 and his later edited collection of her letters, modern scholars have been fascinated with the network of critical discourses in Montagu’s writing in the Turkish Embassy Letters. This article proposes that several recent threads in the scholarly conversation surrounding the Turkish Embassy Letters have the potential to be expanded in three promising new directions to more fully explore Montagu’s religious identity and its relationship to her discussions of religious belief and practice; her unique role as a mother while traveling; and her place in the smallpox variolation controversy and its relationship to disability.