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I started life in Southern California (where I received my B.A. at the University of California, Irvine), moved to Illinois (where I received my Ph.D. at the University of Chicago), and now live in New York State (where I'm Professor of English at the College at Brockport, State University of New York). Along the way, I have discovered the concept of seasons, but I remain firmly attached to the Southern California version of "winter." Right now, I share a house with three cats (Lydia Gwilt, Ozias Midwinter, and Allan Armadale) and over 8,000 books.

I specialize in nineteenth-century British literature, literature and religion, and the history of the historical novel. In particular, I spend much of my time working with nineteenth-century popular religious fiction.

The photograph in my sidebar is my great-great-grandmother, Chaia Esther Finkelstein. It was probably taken in the 1880s.


  • Narrating Women's History in Britain, 1770-1902. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004.

  • Victorian Reformations: Historical Fiction and Religious Controversy, 1820-1900. South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2013.

  • Editor, Mrs. Humphry Ward, Robert Elsmere. London: Victorian Secrets Press, 2013; 2nd corr. ed., 2018.

  • “‘The Reduced Pretensions of the Historic Muse’: Agnes Strickland and the Commerce in Women’s History.” Journal of Narrative Technique 28 (1998): 219-42.

  • “‘From Good Looks to Good Thoughts’: Popular Women’s History and the Invention of Modernity, c. 1830-c. 1870.” Modern Philology 97 (1999): 46-75.

  • “‘Unstoried in History’? Early Histories of Women at the Huntington Library, 1652-1902." Huntington Library Quarterly 64 (2001): 469-500.

  • “Protestants against the Jewish and Catholic Family, c. 1829-1860.” Victorian Literature and Culture 31 (2003): 333-57.

  • “‘Not the Superiority of Belief, But Superiority of True Devotion’: Grace Aguilar’s Histories of the Spirit.” Silent Voices. Ed. Brenda Ayres. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003. 1-27.

  • “Barbauld, Anna Letitia”; “Bulwer, Edward”; “Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan”; “Milman, Henry Hart”; “Biography.” The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Literature. Ed. Steven Serafin and Valerie Grosvenor Myers. New York and London: Continuum, 2003.

  • “Reviving the Reformation: Victorian Women Writers and the Protestant Historical Novel.” Women’s Writing 12 (2005): 73-84.

  • “Royal Lives”; “Women Worthies.” A Companion to Women’s Historical Writing. Ed. Mary Spongberg et al. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

  • “Counter-Medievalism; Or, Protestants Rewrite the Middle Ages.” Beyond Arthurian Romances: The Reach of Victorian Medievalism. Ed. Lorretta Holloway and Jennifer A. Palmgren. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. 147-68.

  • “The Historical Novel and Contemporary Criticism: A Survey, 1990-2004.” Choice 43.1 (Sept. 2005): 45-58.

  • "'The Highland Widow'." The Facts on File Companion to the British Short Story. Ed. Andrew Maunder. New York: Facts on File, 2007.

  • "How to Write a First Person Essay." Chronicle of Higher Education 11 August 2006: C4.

  • “Emily Sarah Holt and the Evangelical Historical Novel: Undoing Walter Scott.” Clio’s Daughters. Ed. Lynette Felber. Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 2007. 154-78.

  • "The Fictional Afterlife of Anne Boleyn, 1901-2006: How to Do Things with the Queen." Clio 37.1 (2007): 1-26.

  • "Isobel Armstrong, Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poetics and Politics." The Victorian Literature Handbook. Ed. Alexandra Warwick and Martin Willis. New York and London: Continuum, 2008.

  • “Anti-Catholic Sermons in England, 1820-1900.” A New History of the Sermon: The Nineteenth Century. Ed. Robert Ellison. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010. 233-68.

  • "Reinventing the Marian Persecutions in Victorian England." Partial Answers 8.2 (June 2010): 341-64.

  • “Oh, the Futility! Adapting Jane Eyre.” Open Letters Monthly: An Arts and Literature Review 1 July 2011.

  • "When Did Charlotte Bronte Read Vanity Fair?" Bronte Studies 37.2 (April 2012): 159-62.

  • “Protestants, Convents, and Seduction by Matthew 10:37.” Victorian Review 37.2 (Fall 2011): 16-20.

  • "The Mid-Century Reception." The Brontes in Context. Ed. Marianne Thormahlen. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

  • “New Scholarship on Religion and Literature, 2000-12.” Choice 51.3 (November 2013): 393-407.

  • "Victorian Historical Writing." Blackwell Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature. Eds. Dino Felluga, Pamela K. Gilbert, and Linda K. Hughes. Oxford: Blackwell, 2015.

  • "'I have remembered how to seem': The Symbolic Monarchy after King George." Quarterly Review of Film and Video 32.2 (Feb/Mar 2015): 162-78.

  • “The ‘Papal Aggression,’ 1850-1852.” BRANCH. Ed. Dino Felluga. December 2016.

  • “Parody after Providence: Christianity, Secularism, and the Form of Neo-Victorian Fiction.” Neo-Victorian Humor: The Rhetorics and Politics of Comedy, Irony, and Parody. Ed. M. L. Kohlke and Christian Gutleben. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2017.

  • “Catholicism and the Fin-de-Siècle.” Edinburgh Companion to the Fin-de-Siècle. Ed. Josephine Guy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017.

  • “‘In ten years there is an increase of 450 priests of Antichrist’: Quantifying Catholics in The Bulwark.” Journal of British Studies 56.3 (2017): 580-604.

  • “Hybridous Monsters: Constructing “Religion” and “the Novel” in the Early Nineteenth Century.” Constructing Nineteenth-Century Religion: Literary, Historical, and Religious Studies in Dialogue. Ed. Josh King. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 2019.

  • “Father Clement and the Form of Protestant-Catholic Controversy.” British Catholic History 34.2 (May 2019): 396-423.

  • “Religion in the Nineteenth Century. Handbook of the English Novel, 1830-1900. Ed. Monika Pietrzak-Franger and Martin Middeke. (DeGruyter, forthcoming 2019)

  • Thoroughly Modern Mina.” Journal of Popular Romance Studies (forthcoming 2019/20).

  • “‘The gift to feel’: Mary Augusta Ward’s Eleanor.” In British Women's Writing from Brontë to Bloomsbury, ed. Adrienne Gavin and Carolyn Oulton (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2019/20)

  • Reviews in Journal of British Studies, Victorian Studies, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, Victorians Institute Journal, Comparative Literature Studies, Religion and Literature, Religion and the Arts, Journal of Religion, RaVON, Victorian Periodicals Review, Modern Philology, In-Between, Cithara, H-ALBION, New Books in Nineteenth-Century Studies, Open Letters Monthly. Staff reviewer, Choice (2001- ).