My dissertation considers the relationship between form and ethics in nineteenth-century literature through investigating representations of cognitive restraint. Using theories of cognitive limitation from neurobiology, psychology, philosophy, and economics, I argue that the Victorian interest in self-control goes beyond a simple ingestion of larger forms of authority, as is often assumed in critical discourse, but instead represents a complex process of self-actualization that arises when the chaos of consciousness meets the ethical demands of the world at large. Ultimately, controlling one’s access to perceptual experience is revealed as theoretically connected with solving problems of deliberation, action, and ethics.
I am currently a Preceptor of Expository Writing with the Harvard College Writing Program. I also work with graduate student instructors as a Senior Teaching Consultant with the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. I hold a Ph.D. in English Literature from Harvard University, and B.A. and M.A. from the University of Virginia, where I wrote theses on Victorian women at the piano and Walter Pater’s aesthetics.