I received my BA in English and Music from Yale in 1978 and my Ph.D. in English from Yale in 1985. After teaching briefly at Tufts and Barnard, I arrived in Princeton where I have been happily teaching and writing since 1986.
My courses revolve around two centers: British Romanticism; and Literature, Scripture and Religion. In the former circuit, my recent courses include Xtreme Romanticism, Romantic Poetry and Poetics, Romantic Historicism, Romantic Drama, and Travel Literature; courses in the latter include Confessions; Job, Literature and Modernity; Underworlds; and Bible, Criticism and Theory. For many years, I have served on the Executive Committee of the Program in Jewish Studies, where I teach American Jewish Literature, Introduction to Judaism, and Yiddish literature in Translation. It has been my pleasure to be founding Chair of the Committee on American Jewish Studies, funded by the generosity of the Lapidus Family Fund.
I write in many modes, for many audiences. For academic audiences, I have written Bearing the Dead: The British Culture of Mourning from the Enlightenment to Victoria (Princeton, 1994) and edited (or co-edited) the Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley, The Other Mary Shelley: Beyond “Frankenstein” (Oxford, 1993), and Women’s Voices: Visions and Perspectives (McGraw-Hill, 1990). For a wider audience, I wrote the biography Emma Lazarus (Nextbook/Schocken), which won the 2006 National Jewish Book Award; as an offshoot from this project, I have curated exhibitions on Lazarus for the American Library Association and the Museum of Jewish Heritage (for which I recorded my first walking-tour app!).
Last spring my second book of poems, Strange Nursery (which also reprints poems from my earlier book, The Hills of Holland), was published by Sheep Meadow Press, and I am now launched on a novel-in-verse based on an actual child-murder scandal in Nova Scotia. My essays and reviews have appeared in Raritan, The New Republic, Tablet Magazine, The TLS and European Romantic Review, among other venues.
For the past five years, I have been conversing with Esperantists (in Esperanto) from Brazil to Hanoi and at many points in between. My next book, Bridge of Words: Esperanto and the Dream of a Universal Language, is forthcoming from Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt in 2015. I welcome inquiries from students, scholars, writers — a parte de Esperantistoj! And I have sent three wonderful children into the world, who Skype when the spirit moves them.