I teach the novel, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British and occasionally French culture, gender, and book history.
My books include How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain (Princeton UP, 2012; Patten Prize, Channing Prize, honorable mention for James Russell Lowell Prize) and The Anthology and the Rise of the Novel (Cambridge UP, 2000). I also edited Unpacking my Library: Writers and their Books (Yale UP, 2011); Literary Secretaries/Secretarial Culture (with Pamela Thurschwell); and (with Seth Lerer) a cluster of essays of PMLA on The History of the Book and the Idea of Literature.
I write for the New York Times Book Review, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe and Public Books (where I am also a section editor). On the page as in the classroom, I search for ways to make potentially arcane topics accessible, and my research has been profiled in The New Yorker, The Economist, and the New York Times. In 2015, I contributed the nineteenth-century module to Harvard's online course on the history of the book.
Recent activities: Pulitzer Prize jury; Guggenheim Fellowship; NEH Public Scholar Fellowship.
Forthcoming: Overbooked: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Reading Wars (Basic Books, 2018). I am curious about what, where, when, and how you read (sitting or standing? in public or private? on paper or plastic? by purchase or loan or hand-me-down or gift?), with whom, & most of all why.