I teach in the Music Department as well as the English and Comparative Literature Departments of Harvard University. I’m particularly interested in the ways in which artistic media–poetry, music, painting–interact with one another; in 2000, my book Untwisting the Serpent: Music, Literature, and the Visual Arts won the Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship. At Harvard I teach two Core Curriculum courses: the first called Putting Modernism Together, which studies (for example) Impressionism through works by Monet, Debussy, and Joseph Conrad, or Surrealism through works by Apollinaire, Stravinsky, and Magritte; the second is The History of the English Language. I also teach courses on opera, drama, Shakespeare, Modernist poetry and fiction, and the relation of physics to literature.
I enjoy scuba diving and cooking simple French recipes, though not at the same time. I love travel, and on my recent sabbatical year (2012-2013), in addition to being a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, I managed to chalk up travels to 19 different countries, giving a lecture series in Shanghai, and talks in Seoul, Berlin, Heidelberg, as well as on a ship full of Harvard Alumni somewhere off the coast of Scotland!