B.A., Johns Hopkins University; M.A., University of California (Los Angeles); M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Yale University
Professor of English
Literary critic specializing in Victorian and American literature. Author of books for children.
As a literary critic, I focus on Victorian and American literature and I am particularly interested in the relationship between literature and history. My book, Imperialism at Home: Race and Victorian Women’s Fiction, looks at the way that race relations are used as a metaphor for the relationships between men and women in the fiction of Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and George Eliot. Lately I have been particularly interested in the way public health concerns (about tuberculosis, fresh air, pure food, etc.) are entwined with the fiction of Willa Cather. I also write fiction for children. My first novel, Black Radishes, about a Jewish boy in Nazi-occupied France, was inspired by my father's childhood. I’m also the author of a picture book (Matthew and Tall Rabbit Go Camping), and I’m at work on a new novel, tentatively titled Green and Unripe Fruit, about immigration and 1940s New York.
I teach courses in nineteenth-century British literature, early twentieth-century American literature, and creative writing, particularly writing for children. I often teach a first-year writing class on Jane Austen—a novelist much-loved by Wellesley students!I enjoy spending time with my husband and daughter, kayaking, ice-skating, walking through the New England woods, waiting for rare books to arrive for me through interlibrary loan, and searching every fall for a perfect, just-dipped, rolled-in-chopped-peanuts caramel apple.