I was born and raised in South Australia. While studying French and German at the University of Adelaide, I developed a particular love of nineteenth-century French poetry, especially that of Baudelaire and Mallarmé. After earning a B.A. and M.A. I went to the University of Cambridge, England, to prepare my PhD under the direction of the great Baudelaire scholar Alison Fairlie. On completion of my doctoral thesis I was elected a fellow of New Hall (now Murray-Edwards College) Cambridge and the following year was appointed to the Modern and Medieval Languages faculty. While there, I was one of a team who introduced a new topic to the Cambridge curriculum, that of the interplay of literature and the fine arts. This experience strengthened a long-held fascination with painting, which is now an active part of my research interests. I taught at Cambridge for 12 years before moving to Indiana University. At IU the riches of the Lilly Library's collection of rare books and manuscripts allowed me to develop further interests, particularly in the area of artists' books. IU also gave me the opportunity to teach courses on Australian literature and fine arts, an area on which I have also published various articles, and which is a central part of my study of written still lifes. I retired in 2007 and now live in South Australia once again.
Shimmering in a Transformed Light: Writing the Still Life (Cornell, 2004)
Baudelaire's World (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2002), 288 pp.
Mallarmé: The Poet and his Circle (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1999), 258 pp.
Closer & Closer Apart: Jealousy in Literature (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1995), 205 pp.
The Land of Lost Content: Childhood in Nineteenth-Century French Literature (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1992), 217 pp.
Flaubert's Madame Bovary (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1990), 187 pp.
"Nature morte avec figures" in L'Œil écrit: Etudes sur des rapports entre texte et image: 1800-1940 (Geneva : Slatkine, 2005)
"Figuring Ned: Nolan's Kelly, Carey's Kelly and the Masking of Identity," Word & Image 19:4 (Oct-Nov 2003), 271-80.
"Façons de voir, façons de parler. Cliché, pastiche, parodie et jeu dans Le Spleen de Paris," Studi francesi, 126, 1999, 510-520.
"Fan Autographs: Unfolding Relationships," Australian Journal of French Studies, (1995), 380-389.