Associate Professor, Queen's University Belfast
My primary research area is the life and works of Charles Dickens. I am the Principal Editor of the Dickens Letters Project, and an expert analyst of Dickens's letters, manuscripts, and handwriting. I am highly adept at finding new Dickens letters that have never before come to the attention of scholars. I have written and lectured widely on Dickens, his works and his world. I have curated Dickens exhibitions at major institutions, and have made these the substance of my impact cases for presentation to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) evaluation.
Most of my research has used historicist and post-colonial modes of criticism. I am an expert investigator of archival sources, and I have developed new approaches to Dickens's life and work as a result of my findings. I have done significant work in bibliography, the interaction between literature and the visual arts, and in textual criticism. I am working on the authoritative critical edition of Dickens's last completed novel, Our Mutual Friend.
When Charles Dickens died, he had spectacular fame, great wealth and an adoring public. But his personal life was complicated. Separated from his wife and living in a huge country mansion in Kent, the novelist was in the...