Competition: US & Canada
Education: Connecticut College
At Brown University and then at the Universities of Birmingham and Leeds, I have delighted in supervising dissertations on Eliot, and on Ezra Pound and Modernism. I have a penchant for New England writers—from Thoreau and Emerson to Frost and Lowell—and have edited an anthology of Beat essays and poems. I adore the works of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. My books include Browning’s Characters: A Study in Poetic Technique and, with William Irvine, The Book, the Ring, and the Poet. I also advise the board of Ohio-Baylor Variorum edition on Browning. I wrote the first detailed biography on Matthew Arnold, entitled Matthew Arnold: A Life, and have published twenty-two essays on literary biography in Authors’ Lives. One of the main efforts of our time has been to write contextualized biographies that are attentive to feeling and ideas, both objective and yet close to the subject; rooted in a “historical present,” alive to childhood, creativity, and growth; and that are, above all, painstakingly accurate and without self-indulgence. I’ve tried to contribute to this effort. Some of my ideas are discussed in interviews, and also by Beetz
in the Dictionary of Literary Biography (111 , 81-91).
I have a keen interest in Jane Austen. My biography Jane Austen: Her Life has appeared in eight different formats. I have lectured to many groups on the novelist, and am one of the two sponsors of the Jane Austen London Group. My other strong interests stretch back to post-graduate days at London University (where I received my doctorate) and to my earlier period at Chicago University. I am the author of Shakespeare: A Life (1998) and, more recently, Christopher Marlowe: Poet & Spy (2005), both published by Oxford University Press. I am a vice-president of the Marlowe Society. Groups at Stratford (where Shakespeare spent his childhood) have heard me speak so often, I should send them