I studied at the University of Lethbridge; St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford; and the University of Edinburgh. I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Manchester. In 1992, I became an Assistant Professor at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. Currently I am a British Academy Global Professor at Bath Spa University and Queen’s National Scholar at Queen’s University. I specialize in nineteenth-century British literature and culture. In 2017, I was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
My most recent books include The Regency Years, During Which Jane Austen Writes, Napoleon Fights, Byron Makes Love, and Britain Becomes Modern (Norton, 2019). The book was long-listed for the RBC Taylor Prize, and named by The Economist as one of the 2019 Books of the Year. My biography of Thomas De Quincey, The English Opium-Eater (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2009), was short-listed for the James Tait Black Prize (2010). I edited Thomas De Quincey: Selected Writings for Oxford University Press (2019). My annotated edition of Jane Austen’s Persuasion was published by the Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2011). With Daniel Sanjiv Roberts, I edited Romanticism and Blackwood’s Magazine: “An Unprecedented Phenomenon” (2013). With Chris Baldick, I co-edited The Vampyre and Other Tales of the Macabre for Oxford World’s Classics (1997).
I was the University of Lethbridge Distinguished Alumni of the Year in 2013. I have won the Queen’s University Frank Knox Award for Excellence in Teaching on three occasions (2014, 2008, and 2006). The Knox is the highest honour given to a Professor by the students of Queen’s. I have won the Queen’s University W. J. Barnes Award for Excellence in Teaching on two occasions (2018 and 2006). The Barnes is the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society’s highest tribute to an individual for teaching excellence.
I am the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Romantic Prose, a collection of over fifty new essays on the immense and highly diverse body of non-fiction Romantic Prose. I am editing The Collected Letters of Thomas De Quincey for Oxford University Press.