Biography

Above the doors of a local library near to where I grew up , emblazoned in gold, were the following lines from Francis Bacon’s essay ‘Of Studies’: 

 

Reading maketh a full man, 

conference a ready man, 

and writing an exact man. 

 

As a young boy I was struck immediately by the pleasing pattern of the words more than by what they said; I was caught by their formal harmony. It was years later that I learned Francis Bacon was an important early modern essayist, and later still that I learned the rhetorical devices whereby he achieved his effect on me (tricolon, epistrophe). Yet that fascination with the patterns words make, and how those patterns affect us, never left me. Nor did my sense of those lines being a kind of spell, which whispered to me that the library was a place of magic. I grew up to be a teacher of medieval and early modern literature, and I still find libraries enchanting.

I taught early modern / Renaissance literature at the University of Liverpool (2002-06), late medieval literature at the University of Manchester (2006-07) and both medieval and early modern literature at Liverpool Hope University  (2008-13) prior to joining UEA in 2013. I am a member of the Society for Renaissance Studies (SRS) and editor of the SRS Bulletin, a member of the New Chaucer Society, and a member of the Boydell and Brewer Chaucer Studies series Editorial Board. My research interests are in late medieval and early modern poetry, with a particular emphasis on Anglo-Italian literary and cultural interrelationships. Get in touch if you are interested in Chaucer, the tre corone (Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio), Sir Thomas Wyatt, the fifteenth-century poet John Lydgate, or the sixteenth-century satirist Pietro Aretino, whose biography I am writing. 

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