A Shropshire lad, I came to London in 2010 to study English at University College London. Eight years later, I completed my PhD, which investigated the relationships between alchemy and verse in late-medieval England. Throughout my research, I have been particularly interested in the allure of difficult alchemical language.
In 2018, I made the voyage east from UCL to Queen Mary, where I now teach medieval literature.
I teach on:
- ESH110 – Literatures in Time: Texts and Contexts from the Eighth to the Sixteenth Century
- ESH283 – Arthurian Literature from Geoffrey of Monmouth to Game of Thrones
- ESH6029 – Heroes and Outlaws in History and Fiction, 1100-1600
- Medieval alchemy
- Nature in medieval literature
- Manuscripts and their readers
- Knowledge and desire
Recent and On-Going Research
I research medieval literature associated with alchemy written in both England and France. I have a particular interest in how alchemy was understood by novices, detractors, and armchair alchemists. At the heart of my research is a collection of largely anonymous poems written in a difficult and bombastic English, each claiming to teach their readers the secrets of alchemy.
The monograph I am currently working on, Understanding the Philosophers’ Stone: Literary Alchemies of the Late Middle Ages, looks at how various readers grappled with the linguistic obscurity of such poems. I am also working on an edited collection of previously unpublished alchemical literature.
‘Alchemy and Translation’, in A Companion to Medieval Translation, ed. Jeanette Beer (Leeds: Arc Humanities Press, 2019), pp. 142-152
My alchemical alter ego, Theophrastus Bombastus, has been spreading news about my research to churches and folk festivals across the country since 2016.
I directed ‘The Resurrection’ at the 2019 Oxford Medieval Mystery Cycle at St. Edmund Hall and will be directing ‘The Crucifixion’ in 2020.