Medieval and Early Modern English studies at the UW cover literary and language interests from Old and Middle English through the Renaissance and Seventeenth Century. The size of its faculty enables the English department to offer a rich array of graduate courses in these areas every quarter.Recent and current seminars have included: "Women Writers, Readers, and Printers in the Early Modern Period," the "disciplining" of Early Modern culture, and "Renaissance Colonialisms," as well as more traditional offerings in Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Beowulf, epic, and history of English. These courses are complemented every term by medieval offerings in Germanics, Classics, and History. In addition to these individual courses, the department has recently launched a unique interdisciplinary Textual Studies Program to foster work on original texts. The collection of electronic text databases is also being enhanced to facilitate rigorous work in the history of the language.
Diverse specialties of the faculty in Medieval and Early Modern English studies, including literary, linguistic, and theoretical approaches to the field, allow graduate students access to informed guidance on their research, and the collaborative efforts of faculty and graduate students promote work that crosses traditional temporal and disciplinary boundaries. The faculty are particularly interested in supporting scholarly endeavors initiated by graduate students, such as the Colloquium on Medieval and Early Modern English studies, which meets regularly throughout the academic year, and also informal lunches and discussions.
Current graduate students represent a wide range of backgrounds and interests. Recent and ongoing dissertation projects include "Images of America in Shakespeare, Spenser, and Montaigne," a critical edition of medieval vernacular sermons and of Pierre Daniel Huet’s De Optimo Genere Interpretandi, and "‘Evil Women’: Patrilineal Fantasies in Early Modern Drama."
Major Research Interests
Jeffrey Knight: Renaissance literature, Shakespeare, history of the book, textual studies
Paul Remley: Medieval Germanic and Celtic texts, textual criticism, electronic methods of research
William Streitberger: Renaissance literature, drama, and culture, textual criticism, paleography
Miceal Vaughan: Medieval literature (esp. Chaucer, Piers Plowman), textual studies
John Webster: Renaissance literature and aesthetics, literary theory, linguistics, history and rhetoric