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I specialize in the study of Renaissance or early modern literature, history, and theology, both in Britain and more globally. One of the things that I especially seek to do in my research and writing is to recover a more dynamic appreciation of the role that the writing process itself could play in shaping the development of early modern authors' own works, thoughts, and beliefs, as well as of broader movements of the era to which they variously contributed. I'm also interested in exploring the wider theoretical and methodological implications of this phenomenon for prevailing approaches to literary theory, particularly with respect to theories of formalism, historicism, and aestheticism; Genetic Criticism; early modern interdisciplinary studies; intellectual history; the History of the Book; and the History of Reading.
I am currently nearing completion of three book projects:
The first, "Signifying Shadows: Biblical Typology and Its Aftermath in the Early Modern Period", pursues a revitalized understanding of early modern biblical typology, a providential way of interpreting the Bible and biblical history that exerted a widespread and increasingly controversial pull on some of the period’s most important works, beliefs, and broader cultural developments.
The second, “Untypical Significance: Milton, Early Modern Typology, and the Writer’s Mind at Work”, builds on my first book to explore the role typology played in shaping the works in particular of John Milton, long regarded as the most prominent author in English literary history in whose writings typology featured as a recurrent concern. In revealing the extent to which Milton appears to have written his way into some of his most heterodox beliefs in the course of writing about typology, the book sheds new light on the dynamic nature of the writing process more generally during the period and breaks new ground, at the level of both theory and practice, in the ongoing efforts of scholars across disciplines to understand more fully the complex interrelation between texts, intentions, ideas, and contexts.
Finally, my third book project nearing completion, “The King James Bible’s Earliest Known Draft: The Text, the Translator, and the Translation that Would Live Forever”, arises out of my recent identification of what is now the earliest known draft of any part of the King James translation of the Bible, and the only draft yet uncovered definitively in the hand of one of the work’s known translators. Challenging many longstanding assumptions about how the King James Bible was created, the book provides the first complete edition, translation, and study of this rare draft of the text, offering readers an unprecedented window into the King James Bible’s famously multifaceted composition process and providing a deepened understanding of the early modern period’s wider cultural firmament out of which the translation emerged—–and which the translation itself would go on to influence in myriad ways.
In addition to the above projects, I am also under contract with Oxford University Press to coedit the Pentateuch (the biblical books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) as part of the new “Oxford King James Version Study Bible”; and, with Katie Kadue, I am coediting a volume of essays provisionally entitled “Precarious Milton in a Precarious Age”, consisting of essays entirely by contingent, “precariously employed”, or unemployed scholars.
My work has received prominent media coverage from The New York Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and The Times (U.K.), among other media outlets, and I have been awarded multiple fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support my research. In 2019, I was named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
“The Earliest Known Draft of the King James Bible: Samuel Ward’s Draft of 1 Esdras and Wisdom 3-4”, in Mordechai Feingold (ed.), Labourers in the Vineyard of the Lord: Scholarship and the Making of the King James Version of the Bible (Leiden: Brill, 2018), 187-265.
“‘Better, as in the Geneva’: The Role of the Geneva Bible in Drafting the King James Version,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 47.3 (September 2017), 517-43.
"Fruit of Good Labours: The Earliest Known Draft of the King James Bible”, The Times Literary Supplement (16 October 2015), 14-15.
"Milton, Zanchius, and the Rhetoric of Belated Reading", Milton Quarterly 47.4 (December 2013), 199-219.
“Milton and the Conformable Puritanism of Richard Stock and Thomas Young”, in Edward Jones (ed.), Young Milton: The Emerging Author, 1620-1642 (Oxford University Press, 2013), 72-103.
“Reconstructing Milton’s Lost Index Theologicus: The Genesis and Usage of an Anti-Bellarmine, Theological Commonplace Book”, Milton Studies 52 (2011), 187-219.
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