I study American literature of the long nineteenth century (1776-1914), focusing in particular on the philosophical and political/ideological roots of the literature of the early national and antebellum periods. I am the author of the forthcoming book The Night of the World: American Romanticism and the Materiality of Transcendence, which looks at how American Romantics like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Margaret Fuller, and Walt Whitman engaged German Idealist thought in order to articulate the contours of a philosophy I call "transcendental materialism"—a philosophy according to which the transcendental is generated out of the material (rather than philosophy's typical positing of the vice versa). I am also the editor of the book Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Literature but Were Afraid to Ask Žižek, a collection of essays on Slovenian philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek and literary criticism and theory (featuring a chapter by Žižek).
I am currently at work on a couple of projects. The first, Subject Lessons: Hegel, Lacan, and the Future of Materialism, is a collection of essays, coedited with Žižek, on psychoanalytic and idealist approaches (and responses) to contemporary materialism(s). The second is a pair of essays on the American Renaissance: one on Poe, George Lippard, and the gothic; the other on the intersectionality of race and class in Frank J. Webb's The Garies and Their Friends.
- Ph.D., University of Rochester
- M.A., University at Buffalo
- B.A., Canisius College
The Night of the World: American Romanticism and the Materiality of Transcendence. Under contract with Northwestern University Press.
Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Literature but Were Afraid to Ask Žižek. Durham: Duke University Press, 2017.
"Renovating the Gothic: Poe and Lippard." The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the American Renaissance. Ed. Christopher N. Phillips. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017. Forthcoming.
"Feeling Right, Doing Wrong: Poe, Perversity, and the Cunning of Unreason." Poe Studies 46 (2013): 4-31.
"Revision and Identification: Emerson and the Ethics of Skepticism and Sympathy." Arizona Quarterly 66.2 (2010): 1-33.