Department of English
241 Shanks Hall
181 Turner Street NW
Blacksburg, VA 24061
I specialize in English Renaissance literature with a particular interest in the writings of Edmund Spenser. My broader research agenda focuses on the ways 16th-century English writers navigated the cultural and intellectual upheavals at the threshold of early modernity. This interest took shape in my first book, published by Manchester University Press (June, 2022). This book offers a novel account of Edmund Spenser as a moral theorist, situating his ethics at the nexus of moral philosophy's profound transformation in the early modern era, and the English colonization of Ireland in the turbulent 1580's and 90's. It revises a scholarly narrative describing Spenser's ethical thinking as derivative, nostalgic, or inconsistent with one that contends him to be one of early modern England's most original and incisive moral theorists, placing The Faerie Queene at the center of the contested discipline of moral philosophy as it engaged the social, political, and intellectual upheavals driving classical virtue ethics' unraveling at the threshold of early modernity. My newest project seeks to understand the historical emergence of capitalism in early modern England through the works of writers such as More, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton. I am particularly interested in the ways works like Spenser’s View of the Present State of Ireland, Milton’s Areopagitica and Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice explore (we we would now call) “the market” not simply as a concrete and bounded space of negotiated mercantile exchange, but as an abstracted normative mechanism governing value and judgment in society writ large.
Before coming to Virginia Tech, I was an associate professor of English at Oklahoma State University, where I was awarded the Regents’ Distinguished Teaching Award. I am an associate editor of Milton Quarterly, and have served on the executive committee of the International Spenser Society.
- Premodern poetics
- History of moral philosophy
- History of capitalism
- PhD in English, University of Rochester
- MA in English, University of Rochester
- BA in Religious Studies, St. Lawrence University
- Associate Editor, Milton Quarterly
- Member, Sixteenth Century Society
- Member, International Spenser Society
- Member, Renaissance Society of America
- Regents’ Distinguished Teaching Award, Oklahoma State University
- William H. Gilman Memorial Prize for Outstanding Ph.D. Candidate in English or American Literature, University of Rochester
Spenser’s Ethics: Empire, Mutability, and Moral Philosophy in Early Modernity (Manchester University Press, June 2022) https://manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9781526165435/spensers-ethics/
“’But were it not…’: Spenser, Appiah, and the Counterfactual Imagination,” Spenser Studies (forthcoming)
“Attributing and Dating the Manuscript Miscellany of Elizabeth Newell, Beinecke Library Osborn MS. b49,” The Library 18.3 (September, 2017): 305-15.
“Framing Civil Life in Elizabethan Ireland: Bryskett, Spenser, and the Discourse of Civill Life,” Renaissance Studies 30.3 (June 2016).
“Spenser, Harvey, and the Strange Poetics of The Shepheardes Calender,” College Literature 42.3 (Summer 2015): 420-41.
“Which Edition of Homer did Spenser Read?” Notes & Queries 62.1 (March 2015): 74-77.
“Milton’s Spenser: Eden and the Work of Poetry,” SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 55.1 (Winter 2015): 175-96.
“Spenser, Tasso, and The Ethics of Allegory,” Modern Philology 111.3 (February 2014): 365-83
“OkstateShakspeare: Bringing Special Collections and Digital Humanities Into the Undergraduate Classroom,” Collaborating for Impact: Special Collections and Liaison Librarian Partnerships, ed. Kristen Tottelben and Lori Birrel (ACRL, 2016), 221-36.
- Oklahoma Humanities Council Research Travel Grant, “Lodowick Bryskett’s A Discourse of Civill Life,” Houghton Library, Harvard University.
- Newberry Library Travel Grant, “Gabriel Harvey's Marginalia in Thomas Hoby's Courtyer.”
- Newberry Library Travel Grant, “Figurations of Courtesy in the Elizabethan Garden.”
- “Spenser, Gentili, and the Invention of Colonial Justice: Lord Grey at Smerwick,” Renaissance, Society of America, Dublin, Ireland, March, 2022.
- “Capitalism, Ideology, and the Political Thought of Edmund Spenser,” Sixteenth Century Society Conference, October, 2020.
- “Civility and Political Violence in Spenser and Shakespeare,” Sixteenth Century Society Conference, St. Louis, MO, October, 2019.
- “Spenser’s Machiavellian Virtue,” Symposium of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO, June 2018.
- “Opening the Archives: Digital Humanities Research in the Undergraduate Classroom,” DH@OU#4 Digital Humanities Symposium, The University of Oklahoma, September 5, 2017. (Invited)
- “Spenser's Theatrical Virtues,” Spenser, Poetry, and Performance, Research in Action Symposium at Shakespeare's Globe, London, UK, June 12-13, 2017. (Invited)
- “The Ethics, Poetics, and Politics of Compost in Spenser’s Faerie Queene,” International Spenser Society, Renaissance Society of America Conference, Chicago, April 2017.
- “Undergraduate Research: The Road to Publication Begins with Research” Roundtable Panel, MLA International Bibliography Advisory Committee, MLA Convention, Philadelphia, PA, January 2017. (Invited)
- “Digital Humanities and Special Collections in the Undergraduate Classroom,” THATCampOK, Stillwater, OK, May 2016.
- “The Place of Forgetting in Spenser’s Ethics,” International Spenser Society, Dublin, Ireland (June, 2015).
I teach a range of undergraduate and graduate-level classes in topics including Shakespeare; Renaissance, Medieval, and Classical literature; and literary theory. The developing centerpiece of my teaching has been undergraduate research projects linking classroom instruction with emergent methodologies in the digital humanities. In these courses, students develop basic research skills, a deeper knowledge of Renaissance literary culture, and a range of widely applicable skills in archival and database navigation, basic web development, and web design.
I have worked with graduate students on a range of early modern and medieval topics, and I am happy to advise students committed to a rigorous engagement with the literary cultures of the premodern era. At Oklahoma State University, I served as the English Department’s director of graduate studies and served on the University’s Graduate Faculty Council and as the humanities chair on the Graduate Academic Program Committee.
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