am currently a Junior Research Fellow in Modern Languages (French and German) at
College, Oxford. I have a BA in French and German from the University of
Oxford (2004), as well as a Masters (M.St.) in European Literature (German, 2006) and a
D.Phil. in German (2010), both also from Oxford.
research explores the experience of reading fiction, and in particular the
question of what makes some fictional texts seem realistic. I employ a scientifically
informed approach to investigate readers' responses to textual
features, using the framework of what I call 'cognitive realism' (the extent to
which a text's evocation of cognition corresponds to how our minds actually
work). In general I think it's important that cognitive literary studies combine theoretical
insights from the cognitive sciences (including psychology, neuroscience,
linguistics, and philosophy of mind) with
empirical testing of readers' responses to fictional texts and the close reading
that has always been essential to traditional literary criticism. My first
Kafka's Cognitive Realism, tries to put these principles into practice in
the context of Kafka and enactive cognition; it was published by Routledge in
research has now moved on to investigate cognitive realism and memory, in the two literary
'periods' or 'movements' of Realism and Modernism, with the dual aim of elucidating the
cognitive effects of specific texts and asking whether Realism and Modernism
really are as diametrically opposed as is often assumed. My next project will
bring my experiences of and research on anorexia into dialogue with literary
studies, by exploring eating disorders as the object of both medical/scientific
and literary-critical discourses, in particular looking at the problems of
mind-body dualism and how they may be addressed by recent 'second-generation'
feel strongly that the academic world could and should do much more to address
the widespread stigma and secrecy surrounding mental health, and I am privileged
to be working with other passionate members of the University, organising events
and other initiatives to encourage people to talk openly and honestly about the
realities of mental health and illness.
For six years I lived on a narrowboat
in Oxford, and I now split my leisure time - when not powerlifting - between
boat, convertible, and motorhome.