William Noble Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Liverpool
My first book: Charlotte Smith and the Sonnet: Place, Form and Tradition in the Late Eighteenth Century (Liverpool University Press, 2019) offers the first full-length study of Smith’s influential Elegiac Sonnets and clarifies its ‘place’ – in multiple ways – in literary history as a work celebrated for ‘making it new’, yet deeply engaged with the literary past. It argues that Smith’s sense of literary tradition is inscribed in the subjects of her poems, and that the literary associations of the places, settings, flora and fauna of her sonnets – across the River Arun, the sea, plants and flowers – are a constitutive aspect of them. It is interested in and reveals the complex processes underpinning Smith’s reception and paradoxical position from the late eighteenth century to the present day, and shows that the appropriation of place itself was an important way in which aspects of literary tradition have been negotiated and understood by Smith, her predecessors, contemporaries and successors. My second book is Nightingale for the Reaktion Press Animal series (forthcoming, 2021) and my current research is on Romantic ornithology; and on the literary and natural history of the River Mersey.