My research interests lie at the interface of language and literature, and I am particularly interested in the way in which style is contested at an ideological level.
My first degree was in English at Leeds University, where I predominantly studied literature, but also took several courses in language. Having unexpectedly developed a taste for grammar, I then went to Cambridge University where I did an MPhil in Linguistics before joining the School of English to study for a PhD. This was completed in 2000 and is entitled The Politics of Style: Burke, Wollstonecraft, Paine and Godwin. In it I explore theories of language and practices of language in the French Revolution Debate in England in the 1790s. I published a monograph based upon this work in 2007.
At the moment, my primary area of interest is in the way in which dialects of English are represented in literature. In 2007 I was awarded a grant by the British Academy to explore the Geoffrey Bullough Collection, which is held by the University Library and contains many minor Victorian and Edwardian novels of interest for the study of dialect representation. Following on from this I was awarded a grant of £150,000 by the AHRC to undertake a two-year project on `Dialect in British Fiction 1800-1836´. To inaugurate this project I recently held a workshop on `Studying the Representation of Dialect in Literature´ (University of Sheffield, September 2009). I am also completing my next monograph, Dialect in Literature and Film, which will be published with Palgrave Macmillan in 2011.