AboutI am PhD candidate in Theology and Literature at the University of Nottingham and Graduate Fellow with the Northwestern University Research Initiative for the Study of Russian Philosophy and Religious Thought (NU RPRT Research Initiative). I also hold a dual appointment in the Department of English and College of Ministry at Northwest University. I have three main research interests: Vladimir Nabokov; the theological affordances of metafiction and self-conscious fiction; and the Inklings, particularly C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.
My doctoral thesis charts the theological contours of the textual performance of the dialectic of repetition and identity in Nabokov’s Pale Fire. My earlier work on eschatology and theurgy in Nabokov’s Lolita, in conversation with the thought of Nicolas Berdyaev, earned me the 2019 Dieter E. Zimmer Prize for Best Postgraduate Work from the International Vladimir Nabokov Society.
Before coming to Nottingham, I studied for the MLitt in Theology, Imagination and the Arts at the University of St Andrews, where I wrote my dissertation on the medieval sources of C.S. Lewis’ doctrine of theosis. As I look beyond my doctoral studies, I hope to consider the influence of the cult of St. Antony of Egypt in the development of the self-conscious impulse of modern fiction after Gustave Flaubert in the works of Jorge Luis Borges and Nabokov.
EducationPhD, Theology and Religious Studies | thesis pending
University of Nottingham
Thesis: “A Triptych of Bottomless Light: Repetition, Originality and Transcendence in Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire”
Specialization: Theology and Literature
Supervisors: Rev’d Canon Prof. Alison Milbank; Prof. Siggy Frank
MLitt, Theology, Imagination and the Arts, merit | 2018
University of St Andrews
Dissertation: “‘With Every Man He Has a Secret’: Liturgical Theōsis in the Thought of C.S. Lewis,” distinction
Supervisor: Prof. Judith Wolfe
MA, Biblical and Theological Studies, magna cum laude | 2015
Specialization: Exegetical Track (Biblical Languages)
BS, Business Administration | 2012
Warner Pacific University
- “The Mirror and the Icon: An Alternative Reading of Nabokov’s Pale Fire.” Partial Answers 22, no. 1 (Jan. 2024). Forthcoming.
- “Rereading the World: A Theological Appraisal of Vladimir Nabokov’s Metaliterary Eschatology.” Religion & Literature. Forthcoming.
- Organizer and participant. “Nabokov and Religion.” Roundtable discussion with Christopher A. Link, Mary Ross, Matthew Roth, and Michael Wood. Nabokov Online Journal 16. Forthcoming.
- “‘The Name of God has priority’: ‘God’ and the Apophatic Element in Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire.” Literature and Theology. 36, no. 3 (Sept. 2022): 298–315.
- “Do Not Be Angry at the Moon: Pale Fire and The Old English Boethius.” The Nabokovian 83 (Fall 2022): 1–13.
- “The Gist of Masks: Notes on Kinbote’s Christianity and Nabokov’s Authorial Kenosis.” Nabokov Online Journal 15 (2021): 1–29.
- “‘A green lane in Paradise’: Eschatology and Theurgy in Lolita.” Nabokov Studies 17 (2020–21): 35–60.
- “Confessing our Secrets: Liturgical Theōsis in the Thought of C. S. Lewis.” Journal of Inklings Studies 10, no. 2 (Oct. 2020): 115–38.
Unrefereed Articles, Essays, and Podcasts
- “In the Mirror of an Esoteric Saint: Towards a Poetic Trinitarian Ontology of Non-Identical Repetition after Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire.” In New Trinitarian Ontologies: Conference Proceedings from the New Trinitarian Ontologies Conference and Symposium, edited by John Milbank, Ryan Haecker, and Jonathan Lyonhart. (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2023). Forthcoming.
- “Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire.” Sacred & Profane Love. Podcast. Forthcoming.
- “‘Look at this tangle of thorns’: Lying with Lolita.” Transpositions. June 10, 2022.
- “The Passion of Meaning: Banville’s Gods and Nabokov’s ‘Signs and Symbols’.” The Noesis Review 8 (Dec. 2021): 72–81.
- “C. S. Lewis and His Medieval Mirror.” Edinburgh University Press Blog. June 21, 2021.
- “Why Poetry Is Meaningful to Us: Vladimir Nabokov and the Theology of Poetry.” Trinity House Review 2 (Eastertide 2021): 37–40. Commissioned.
- “Jeffrey Epstein’s Lolita?” Church Life Journal. November 15, 2019.
- “‘The Gods are Here, Invisible, Mischievous, Meddling’: Vladimir Nabokov and the Presence of God in John 19.” Transpositions. December 8, 2018.
- Dana Dragunoiu, Vladimir Nabokov and the Art of Moral Acts (Northwestern University Press, 2021). Nabokov Studies 18. Forthcoming.
- Michael John Halsall, Creation and Beauty in Tolkien’s Catholic Vision: A Study in the Influence of Neoplatonism in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Philosophy of Life as “Being and Gift” (Pickwick, 2020). Religion and the Arts 26, no. 4 (Sept. 2022): 534–37.
- Robert Alter, Nabokov and the Real World: Between Appreciation and Defense (Princeton University Press, 2021). Nabokov Online Journal 15 (2021): 1–4.
- John Webster, The Culture of Theology (Baker Academic, 2019). Theology 123, no. 3 (May–June 2020): 216–17
- Richard Harries, Haunted by Christ: Modern Writers and the Struggle for Faith (SPCK, 2018). Theology 122, no. 4 (July–August 2019): 301
ProjectsEditor and contributor, A Faint Phosphorescence at First: Vladimir Nabokov and Theology. In Progress. Contributors: Anne M. Carpenter, “‘For We Die Every Day’: A Reading of Balthasarian Temporality” — David Bentley Hart, “What Looks Back: Nabokov on Consciousness” — Christopher A. Link, “Saint Timofey: Hagiographic Aspects of Pnin and the Perennial Problem of Suffering” — Jennifer Newsome Martin, “‘Enchanted Hours! Rapture of Recollection!’: The Aesthetics and Erotics of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lepidoptera” — Matthew A. Rothaus Moser, “The True and False Contemplations of Humbert Humbert and Dante Alighieri” — Maxim D. Shrayer, Title TBD — Leona Toker, “Regression as a Metaphysical Motif in Nabokov’s Fiction” — Michael Wood, “The Title of Things.”
“Imagination, Desire, Eschatology: Reading Lolita with C.S. Lewis.” Journal of Inklings Studies. In revision.
“Haloed Hallucinations: Vladimir Nabokov’s Bend Sinister and the Cult of St. Antony.” Religion and the Arts. Under second review.
“Rereading the World: A Theological Appraisal of Vladimir Nabokov’s Metaliterary Eschatology.” Religion & Literature. Under review.
Upcoming Talks and Conferences“‘something else, something else, something else’; or, Nature Beyond the Natural Sense: Nabokov’s (Eco-)Theo-Semiotics”
Sixth International Vladimir Nabokov Conference
Lausanne, June 27–30, 2023
“‘It is as clear as the fact that it is raining’: Nabokov’s Theological Failures”
Inaugural Conference of the Northwestern University Research Initiative for the Study of Russian Philosophy and Religious Thought
Northwestern University, April 21–23, 2023
“Nabokov’s Religious Curiosity Shop”
Modern Language Association Annual Convention
San Francisco, January 5–8, 2023
MembershipsAmerican Academy of Religion (AAR); International Society for Religion, Literature and Culture (ISRLC); International Vladimir Nabokov Society (IVNS); Modern Language Association (MLA); Society for the Study of Theology (SST)