Elspeth joined the department in 2012. She works on twentieth-century poetry and prose, with persistent interests in science, organization, and disciplinary history. Her dissertation, Popular Science and Poetic Specimen, explores the influence of popular science writing on the poetry and criticism of Marianne Moore, T.S. Eliot, and I.A. Richards. She considers popular scientific books and articles not only as sources of scientific knowledge for modernist writers, but as examples of a distinct genre of writing in which metaphor mingles uneasily with objectivity. By examining the publishing history and context of these works, which were often included in series and magazines alongside more strictly literary material, Elspeth shows how their conventions and strategies came to shape the subjects and conventions of academic English study. During the academic year 2017-2018, her work is supported by the Charlotte Elizabeth Procter Fellowship.
In the fall of 2018, Elspeth is designing and teaching the seminar James Joyce’s Ulysses with Professor Joshua Kotin, as a part of Princeton’s Collaborative Teaching Initiative. She has previously taught courses on contemporary fiction and drama as an assistant in instruction at Princeton.
She is the project manager of Mapping Expatriate Paris, a digital platform representing Sylvia Beach’s records from her Paris book store, “Shakespeare and Company.” Beach’s lending records and logbooks have been transcribed and encoded such that the most salient information—expatriate subscribers, books borrowed, and subscriber addresses—are easily browsed, while the entire records remain text-searchable. Elspeth is familiar with TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) conventions and practices, and has experience coordinating between non-technical researchers and technical developers.
She served as the co-chair of the English department’s Graduate Action Committee from 2014-2016, and as the department’s representative to the Graduate Student Government during that time. From 2013-2014, she was a member of the department’s Working Group for Graduate Issues.