My scholarly books and articles deal with medieval and Renaissance English and comparative literature, the history of scholarship, the history of the English language, children’s literature, and literary and cultural theory. My teaching covers an equally wide range of subjects, also including bibliography and textual criticism, Chaucer and Shakespeare, the Old English language, and survey courses in western culture and English literary history. And, in my public lectures and writing for a general audience, I consider issues of language use and change, the value and impact of studying literature, book history and technologies of literacy. I also write and teach creative non-fiction, stressing how the challenge of memoir can bring us into conversation with our past selves and our present peers.
I have been a university professor for forty years, with full-time appointments at Princeton University (1981-90), Stanford University (1990-2009), and the University of California at San Diego (2009-present). I have also held visiting appointments at Washington University in St. Louis, UC-Berkeley, Cambridge, Oxford, and Cornell. In addition to classroom teaching, I have served as a university administrator in a variety of roles, most recently as Dean of Arts and Humanities at UC-San Diego (2009-14).
These are some of the texts I study and teach:
The Beowulf Manuscript
The Ellesmere Manuscript of the Canterbury Tales
The First Folio of Shakespeare’s Plays
Historical and modern children’s books
Medieval manuscript and early printed book anthologies