I write most often about American literature, women’s roles, and intentional or “utopian” communities. Whether concerned with people of the past or present, such as Philadelphia food writer Eliza Leslie, the Federation of Damanhur in Italy’s Piedmont, New England Puritans or the celibate Shakers, my words on these topics push us to consider our own social situations.
My most recent publications discuss Philadelphia news correspondent in Rome, Anne Hampton Brewster, utopian food practices, and American literature and culture before 1865. Brewster is one of three women central to my current project on 19th-century Americans in Italy. In addition to Brewster, Caroline Crane Marsh and Emily Bliss Gould each went abroad at mid-life, following what I refer to as their “later vocations.” These callings they felt after their early years took them to new cultures, where they continued to learn, grow and change.
As an author I draw from historical examples but underscore contemporary concerns. People long to be part of communities even though they see their flaws. I brings forward ideas from the past–still pressing today–not only in my writing but also through lectures, group workshops, and educational trips. Posts on this site and links to books, articles, and reviews provide a glimpse of these activities. Subscribe to my blog here or follow me on your preferred platform.