Fellow in English
I am an English faculty member, but I’m also a published historian.
How can that be? Much of my research is about fitting texts together to make the picture of the past more complex; some of the fragments count as literature, others don’t.
I have an ongoing interest in early modern witchcraft, and am working on a project in that area, and I also work on the English Civil War, on which I’ve just published two books. But my current research projects are on the history of food in Britain and how it affects and is affected by everything else that happens here, and on the dissolution of the monasteries, and above all what difference it made to the people of England.
I’m also one half of a published children’s author called Tobias Druitt. The other half is my son Michael, who is twelve years old. As a result I have a renewed interest in both classical myth and in British children’s literature, especially the influence of folklore.
Because I believe very strongly that academics have a responsibility to communicate with a public beyond the walls of the university, I review regularly for the broadsheet press, and make frequent radio and occasional tv appearances. But I’d rather be in the Bodleian.