Photo of Travis DeCook

Travis DeCook

Degrees:B.A. Honours, M.A. (University of Victoria), Ph.D. (University of Toronto)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 1367
Office:1800 Dunton Tower

Research Interests

  • Early Modern literature
  • Religion and Theology
  • Intellectual and Cultural History
  • Theories of Secularity and Modernity
  • The Bible

Current Research

My research critically engages concepts of modernity and secularity in light of cultural and religious activity in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the period commonly appealed to as secular modernity’s historical source.  I am currently completing a book manuscript titled Revelation’s Bounds: The Nature of the Bible, Secularity, and the Early-Modern Theological Imagination which seeks to challenge prevailing ways of conceiving the Bible’s relationship to modernity’s fundamental religious transformations. This project examines how claims about the relationships between the Bible’s divine origins and human transmission were mobilized across early modern culture, philosophy, and religion. Such claims were enmeshed in inquiries into forms of social and political organization, examinations of the self and the limits and possibilities of the human, and explorations of the relationship between theology and the studying and harnessing of the natural world. Revelation’s Bounds reflects on the implications of this overlooked dimension of the early modern Bible’s history for theories of secularity in our own time.

Honours and Awards

  • FASS Research Award for Junior Faculty 2010
  • FASS Research Grant 2010
  • SSHRC Institutional Research Grant 2009
  • Izaak Walton Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship 2006


Co-edited, with Donald Beecher, Andrew Wallace and Grant Williams, Taking Exception to the Law: Materializing Injustice in Early Modern English Literature (University of Toronto Press, 2015).

Co-edited, with Alan Galey, Shakespeare, the Bible, and the Form of the Book: Contested Scriptures (Routledge, 2011).

Recent Publications

“The Extrinsic Bible:  Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, Concepts of Scripture, and the Question of Secularity.” Religion and Literature (forthcoming 2015).

“Francis Bacon’s ‘Jewish Dreams’: The Specter of the Millennium in New Atlantis.” Studies in Philology 110.1 (2013).

“Northrop Frye and the Book as Metaphor and Material Artifact.” University of Toronto Quarterly 81.1 (2012).

“Scriptural Negotiations and Textual Afterlives,” co-authored with Alan Galey, Shakespeare, the Bible, and the Form of the Book.

“Apocalyptic Archives: The Reformation Bible, Secularity, and the Text of Shakespearean Scripture.” Shakespeare, the Bible, and the Form of the Book.

“Unearthing Radical Reform: Antiquarianism against Discovery.” The Invention of Discovery, 1500-1700. Ed. James Dougal Fleming. Ashgate, 2011.

“The Ark and Immediate Revelation in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis.” Studies in Philology 105.1 (2008): 103-122.

“Utopian Communication.” Studies in English Literature 48.1 (Winter 2008): 1-22.

“Temporality and the Text of Scripture in Thomas More’s Religious Polemics.” Moreana 169 (2007): 226-248.

“The History of the Book, Literary History, and Identity Politics in Canada.” Studies in Canadian Literature 27.2 (2002): 71-87.

Recent Presentations

De Doctrina Christiana, Miltonic Freedom, and the Providential Immanence of the Bible’s Textual History.”  Canada Milton Seminar, University of Toronto, May 2014.

“The Political Theology of Biblical Production:  Milton, Hobbes, Spinoza.”  Renaissance Society of America Conference, New York, March 2014.

“Tyndale’s Theology of Scripture and the Subject of Secularity.”  Sixteenth Century Conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 2013.

“‘Divinity, Adieu!’: Doctor Faustus’s Secular Bible.”  Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies, University of Victoria, June 2013.

“The Suspension of Providence: Textual Contingency in Thomas More’s Attack on Sola Scriptura.”  Renaissance Society of America, San Diego, CA, April 2013.

“Early Modern Secularity and Francis Bacon’s Theology of Revelation.”  Renaissance Society of America, Washington, DC, March 2012.

Recent Graduate Courses

ENGL 6000: The Production of Literature

Graduate Supervisions

  •  DRP supervisor for Ali Ahmed. DRP title: “Poetic Truth: Lewis, Barfield, and the Karamazovs”
  • 2012-13. MA Thesis supervisor for Christopher Jenkins. Thesis title: “The Cross Pressure of Flannery O’Connor”