|Degrees:||B.A. Honours Trinity College, University of Toronto; M.A. and Ph.D., University of Toronto|
|Phone:||613-520-2600 x 1039|
|Office:||1922 Dunton Tower|
- Renaissance literature (especially Spenser); the classical tradition (especially Virgil, Ovid, and the reception and reinvention of classical texts and culture during the Middle Ages and Renaissance)
- Medieval literature (especially Dante, Chaucer)
- Epic, romance, tragedy
- Relations between literature and philosophy (especially Cavell, Wittgenstein, Heidegger)
My first monograph, Virgil’s Schoolboys: The Poetics of Pedagogy in Renaissance England (Oxford University Press, 2010) studied the ties that bind schoolmasters and schoolboys to the poems upon which they exercised their attentions in the grammar schools of Renaissance England. It advanced three central claims: that schoolmasters and commentators repeatedly confront the possibility that Virgil is always-already a serious theorist of the elusive exchanges we call instruction; that the interpretations these authorities cast as discoveries about the inner workings of Virgil’s poems are underwritten by humanist pedagogy’s fascination with the iconographic power of the physical presence of the master at the proving ground of his lessons; and that Virgil’s pedagogical afterlife testifies to the ways in which the day-to-day business of the grammar schools fostered in schoolboys a simultaneously timorous and eager relation to texts, interpretation, masters, and indeed to the concept of mastery itself.
I am currently completing a second monograph, titled The Fact of Rome. The book studies the cultural and intellectual stakes of Medieval and Renaissance Britain’s sense of itself as forever living under the shadow of Rome–that is, as forever living under the shadow of a city whose name could serve as shorthand both for the ancient, fallen, quintessentially human power that had once conquered and colonized Britain, and also for the alternately sanctified and demonized edifice of the Roman Church. In this project I argue that the idea and fact of Rome insinuate themselves not just into arts of rhetoric, rules of reason, or conceptions of nationhood and Christian discipline, but into the thinking subject’s relation to the self, and into the processes by which those subjects make themselves at home in what the philosopher Stanley Cavell calls “the ordinary.”
Virgil’s Schoolboys: The Poetics of Pedagogy in Renaissance England. Oxford University Press. 2010.
Taking Exception to the Law: Materializing Injustice in Early Modern English Literature, ed. Donald Beecher, Travis DeCook, Andrew Wallace, and Grant Williams (University of Toronto Press, 2015).
Published Essays and Book Chapters
“‘What’s Hecuba to him?’: Pain, Privacy, and the Ancient Text.” Ars Reminiscendi: Mind and Memory in Renaissance Culture, ed. Donald Beecher and Grant Williams (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009).
“Edmund Spenser and the Place of Commentary.” Spenser Studies 22 (2007): 153-170.
“Virgil and Bacon in the Schoolroom.” The Journal of English Literary History (ELH), 73 (2006): 161-185.
“Reading the 1590 Faerie Queene with Thomas Nashe.” Studies in the Literary Imagination. 38.2 (2005): 35-49.
“‘Noursled up in life and manners wilde’: Spenser’s Georgic Educations.” Spenser Studies 19 (2004): 65-92.
“Placement, Gender, Pedagogy: Virgil’s Fourth Georgic in Print.” Renaissance Quarterly 56 (2003): 377-407.
Forthcoming Essays and Book Chapters
Essay on “Education” for John Donne in Context, ed. Michaeld Schoenfeldt (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press)
Essay on “Pedagogy, Education, and Early Career” for Edmund Spenser in Context, ed. Andrew Escobedo (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press)
Essay on Edmund Spenser and Posthumanism, titled “Spenser’s Dead” (forthcoming, Spenser Studies)
“Affect, Allegory, and the Elizabethan Schoolroom.” Renaissance Society of America, Berlin, March, 2015.
“What do the Living Want from the Dead? Spenser and the Human Figure.” Renaissance Society of America, San Diego, March, 2013.
“Edmund Spenser and the Fact of Rome.” MLA Annual Convention, Boston, January 2013.
“John Milton and the Fact of Rome.” Canada Milton Seminar, Victoria College, Toronto, April 2012.
“England’s Grammar Schools and the Spectre of Rome.” MLA Annual Convention, Seattle, January 2012.
“After Rome.” Renaissance Society of America, Montreal, March 2011.
“Calling it Tragedy.” Renaissance Society of America, Venice, April 2010.
“What Does The Faerie Queene Want? Virgil, Spenser, and the Elizabethan Grammar School.” Renaissance Society of America, Los Angeles, March 2009.
“‘What’s Hecuba to him?’: Pain, Privacy, and the Ancient Text.” Renaissance Society of America, Miami, April 2007.
“Everyone Knows What Happened at Troy.” MLA Annual Convention, Philadelphia, December 2006.
“Forgetting Epic in Early Modern England,” “Ars Reminiscendi : Mind and Memory in Renaissance Culture,” Carleton University, June 2006.
“E.K and his Discontents: The Critical Moment in Early Modern England,” Fourth International Spenser Society Conference,” Toronto, May 2006.
“Pastoral and the Painful Schoolmaster,” ACCUTE, London, Ontario, May 2005.
“Virgil’s Schooldays: Culture and Translation in the Early Modern Schoolroom,” Renaissance Society of America, Cambridge, England, April 2005.
“‘Noursled up in life and manners wilde’: Practicing Instruction in The Faerie Queene,” Renaissance Society of America, New York, New York, May 2004.
“Text and Paratext in the 1590 Faerie Queene: Reading the Dedicatory Sonnets as Gloriana’s Feast,” International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 2003.
“What is Georgic?: The Poet’s Labours and the Georgic Metaphor in The Faerie Queene (1590),” Renaissance Society of America, Tempe, Arizona, April 2002.
“Nabokov’s Metamorphoses: Translation and Transformation in Ada,” Nabokov Centennial Panel II. MLA Annual Convention, Chicago, December 1999.
Recent Graduate Courses
ENGL 5303—Renaissance Studies: “Allegory and the Ordinary: Spenser’s Faerie Queene and Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations”
ENGL 5308—Renaissance Studies: “After Rome: Medieval and Renaissance Perspectives on Roman Britain”
ENGL 5308—Renaissance Studies: “Tragedy!”
ENGL 5308—Renaissance Studies: “The Afterlife of the Ancients: Classical Culture and the Origins of Modernity”
ENGL 5308—Renaissance Studies: “John Milton’s Poetry and Prose”
ENGL 5308—Renaissance Studies: “Renaissance Literature and the Renaissance Schoolroom”
Ph.D. Dissertation Committees
Alexander Grammatikos. Dissertation on British Romanticism and Nineteenth-Century Greece. In progress