Writer and Academic
I publish in the field of English studies. I am particularly drawn to the ways in which women use writing as a form of questing after wisdom. I seek to publish accessible and enjoyable writing which is both wide-ranging and also personal, focusing on the lives and work of writers from the late-Victorian era to the present day, with a particular concentration in the period between 1910 and 1960. My academic philosophy and approach to life is personalist, valuing and focusing on the concrete existential worlds of specific human beings.
I've called myself a number of things over the years: feminist, humanist, Christian, personalist, but personalist has stuck as a 'label' more than any other.
Inspired by the profound and challenging philosophy of Nikolai Berdyaev and other nineteenth-century Russian religious thinkers, my personal philosophy rests on the belief in the truth and value of the human personality. In line with postmodern ideas but drastically superseding them, personalism recognises that we are not born as fully formed people--that we have to become a person.
However, personalists believe in spiritual and personal freedom and that the spirit enables us to be creative in transforming and overcoming some of the limitations imposed on us by biology and our environment. In short: personalists are not determinists.
Personalists do not shy away from or try to explain into deconstructed fragments the paradoxes and darkness of human being. Like Dostoyevsky, we turn our face to the extremes and oscillations of human personalities as much as we receive beauty where we find it. We hope for, we work towards, a transfiguration of people and the rest of the world, including the 'natural world'.
Personalists are not afraid to speak of God, and the importance of the God-man as uniting humans with the divine, created with Creator.
Personalists are not individualists. We do not subscribe to a philosophy of me, myself, and I. Personalists are communitarian and believe that our personalities only fully grow in communion with other people.
Personalists are often passionate, highly creative and intuitive people of both sexes who have called out ways in which society limits the freedom of people by imposing restrictive ideologies.
By believing in the primacy of embodied personality--humans as whole beings--personalism avoids the reductionism inherent in any philosophy which limits the human to one defining feature, such as their sex or sexuality, class and economic position, or race or ethnicity. Personalism is interested in the whole person and their growth in the world.
I was born in Vatra Dornei, Romania , in 1989 and came to live in the UK when I was 10-months old. My birth parents are of Ukrainian-Russian, Serb, Moldavian, and Itlaian descent, and my adoptive parents Scottish and English.
I grew up in Wiltshire and became fascinated by the Bloomsbury Group. Between 2008 and 2011 I studied History and Sociology at the University of Exeter before I moved to Leeds to complete an MA in Victorian Studies, writing my dissertation on the personal creativity of Lady Ottoline Morrell (1873-1938) and how her Victorian upbringing intersected with her engagement with modernist personalities such as Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield.
From 2014-17 I was a Midlands3Cities PhD student at De Montfort University, researching the role and value of literary experiences in the quest for wisdom. I worked with the writing of the modernist author Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) and the literary theorist Louise Rosenblatt to develop my own vocabulary and vision for literary studies, where academics and students can factor life experiences much more explicitly into their studies, responding to cultural representations in personal, creative ways. Since then I have developed my project into my first monograph, The Butterfly Hatch: Literary Experience in the Quest for Wisdom--Uncanonically Seating H.D.
In 2017 I worked as an Academic Consultant to Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, where I researched and designed several literary salons based on Ottoline Morrell's innovative get-togethers in the early twentieth century.
Since finishing my first book I have held teaching positions at University of Leicester, Edge Hill University, Coventry University, and the University of Valencia. I also worked as a research impact officer at the University of Leicester and De Montfort University.
From 2019-20 I am Impact Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, and I am beginning work on a new project which explores the way British women writers in the twentieth century developed a rhetoric of Mediterranean wisdom in their nonfiction. Particular writers under investigation are Elizabeth David, Vernon Lee, and Ottoline Morrell.
A person cannot be self-sufficient; they must emerge from themselves towards other people, towards the human and towards the world at large, and towards God. Ego-centrism, being locked up within oneself and being absorbed by oneself, disintegrates the person.
You can contact me about any aspect of my work.