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I was born in Yorkshire and grew up in Essex, where I went to a grammar (state) school. I studied at Cambridge for my BA and MPhil, before travelling to America to study as a Knox Fellow at Harvard University. I returned to London, where my PhD, entitled ‘Communis Voluptas: Pleasure in Wordsworth and Eighteenth-Century Thought’, was supervised by Professor Paul Hamilton at Queen Mary, University of London and awarded in 2008. I taught at Queen Mary and at London Metropolitan before being elected as a Junior Research Fellow at King’s College, Cambridge in 2009, where I worked on my first monograph. In 2012 I was appointed Lecturer at KCL, and made Senior Lecturer in 2016. I have two young children.

Research Interests and PhD Supervision

  • Environmental humanities, air and atmosphere
  • History of the senses
  • Eighteenth-century and Romantic poetry, especially Wordsworth and Shelley
  • History of philosophy and political thought, especially Shaftesbury, Rousseau, Kant and Wollstonecraft
  • Critical theory and aesthetics

My current project is provisionally entitled The Shared Air: Atmosphere and the Right to Breathe in Enlightenment Britain, and I was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2021-22) to work on this. The Shared Air offers a history of how writers and scientists from 1640-1840 debated the political implications of air. Usually invisible and seemingly immaterial, air often goes unnoticed, yet when it is apprehended – as scent, freshness or pollution - air is recognised as a common resource and a symbol of freedom. In this symbol lies a nascent concept of a right to clean air, and its inescapably shared nature. This topic emerged from my previous work on smell and the history of the senses in eighteenth-century and Romantic literature, as well as my first monograph on the philosophy of shared pleasure in the eighteenth century. I am also interested in the history and experience of anosmia, and have recently been awarded King’s Together funding to set up an interdisciplinary network and series of events entitled ‘Anosmia: Smell Losses / Smell Lessons’, which will consider anosmia in the context of the industrial revolution, modern air pollution, and Covid.

For full details, please see her research profile.

Selected Publications

  • ‘Mary Wollstonecraft and the Right to Air’, Romanticism 27: 2 (2021), 173-186
  • ‘Rousseau's Boat: The 'Fifth Walk', Romanticism and Idleness, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and British Romanticism, ed. Russell Goulbourne, David Higgin (Bloomsbury, 2017), 167-186
  • ‘Shelley’s Republic of Odours: Aesthetic and political dimensions of scent in “The Sensitive-Plant”’, Keats-Shelley Review, 27: 2, (2013) 105–20
  • With Tom Jones, ed., The Poetic Enlightenment: Poetry and Human Science, 1650-1820 (Pickering and Chatto, 2013)
  • Wordsworth and the Enlightenment Idea of Pleasure (CUP, 2012), winner of the 2013 College English prize.


I contribute to all our eighteenth-century and Romantic teaching, including the history of the novel and the Godwin-Shelley circle, as well as lecturing on introductory modules on poetry and London writing. Research-led teaching at level 6 and 7 has included modules on eighteenth-century and contemporary theories of economy, work and idleness, the senses and lyric poetry, and eco-critical and Anthropocene approaches to nineteenth-century literature. MA modules I have offered have included poetry and poetics from 1660-1800, London literature, and women Romantic writers. I regularly convene the MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies and have curated clusters of sessions on Critical Enlightenments.

Expertise and Public Engagement

I have experience of public engagement and media, for instance working with artist Caroline Wendling on a smell tour of Cambridge and speaking at fragrance expert Lizzie Ostrom’s perfume events, as well as contributing to a Radio 4 documentary on echoes. I am on the advisory board of ODEUROPA.