Colleges, School and Institutes
My main research interests lie in what was known as 'criticism' in the late Renaissance and early Enlightenment; its relationship to humanistic, literary and religious culture; and its larger implications for the history and nature of the humanities. My recently published first book, Criticism and Confession: The Bible in the Seventeenth Century Republic of Letters, examined the convergence of humanist classical scholarship and theology in late Renaissance Europe, and the ways in which it shaped and reflected Protestants' and Catholics' views about the composition, historical context and manuscript transmission of the Bible.
My next book-length project will complement and extend Criticism and Confession by exploring the influence of continental humanism on vernacular religious writing, concentrating in particular on the King James Bible of 1611. It will present previously undiscovered sources for the genesis of that translation, and offer a fresh study of its reception by seventeenth-century readers. By showing how lay and clerical readers took up the methods of late humanist scholarship, I hope to highlight a previously overlooked dimension of Protestants' engagement with the Bible, and challenge longstanding assumptions about the theological and cultural consequences of the Reformation.
Other recent and forthcoming publications include book chapters on the early modern reception of the Roman Epicurean philosopher-poet, Lucretius, and on Dryden and the writing of 'literary history' in the late seventeenth century; and a collection of essays, co-edited with Dmitri Levitin, about the relationship between scholarship and confessional identity in the early modern period.
I came to Birmingham after five years in Cambridge, where I held a Research Fellowship at Trinity College (2012-16) and then the Munby Research Fellowship at the University Library (2016-17). I have also held visiting fellowships at Leiden University Library's Scaliger Institute, and the Folger Institute in Washington, DC.