Loyola University Chicago

Department of English

Medieval and Renaissance Literature

(Image: Public Domain Image of the Book of Kells depicting the four evangelists: Matthew the Man, Mark the Lion, Luke the Calf, and John the Eagle)

The PhD in Medieval studies at Loyola University is designed for graduate students with a variety of research interests.  The Medieval faculty are versed in fields such as Early Modern Culture, Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama, Chaucer, Reception Theory, Milton, Textual Studies, Paleography and Manuscript Studies, and Medieval English and continental literature. 

Requirements:

MedRen PhD Checklist

  • English 400: Introduction to Graduate Study
  • English 402: Teaching College Composition
  • Five courses in Medieval and Renaissance literature
  • Two courses in critical theory
  • One course in nineteenth-century literature
  • One course in modern literature and culture 
  • English 502: Independent Study for Doctoral Qualification
  • Electives to fulfill the 60-hour requirements

Faculty:

James Biester

Ian Cornelius

Verna Foster

Christopher Kendrick

James A. Knapp

Virginia Lee Strain

Edward Wheatley

Sample Courses:

A list is available here.

Featured Faculty Books:

Reconstructing Alliterative Verse: The Pursuit of a Medieval Meter
by Ian Cornelius

The poetry we call 'alliterative' is recorded in English from the seventh century until the sixteenth, and includes Caedmon's 'Hymn', Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Piers Plowman. This book explains the distinctive nature of alliterative meter, explores its differences from subsequent accentual-syllabic forms, and advances a reformed understanding of medieval English literary history. The startling formal variety of Piers Plowman and other Middle English alliterative poems comes into sharper focus when viewed in diachronic perspective: the meter was in transition; to understand it, we need to know where it came from and where it was headed at the moment it died out.

Legal Reform in English Renaissance Literature
by Virginia Lee Strain

This book investigates rhetorical and representational practices that were used to monitor English law at the turn of the seventeenth century. In readings of Spenser's 'Faerie Queene', the 'Gesta Grayorum', Donne's 'Satyre V', and Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and The Winter's Tale, Strain argues that the terms and techniques of legal reform provided modes of analysis through which legal authorities and literary writers alike imagined and evaluated form and character. 


Image Ethics in Shakespeare and Spenser
by James Knapp

This book is a study of the connection between visuality and ethical action in early modern English literature. Focusing on works by Shakespeare and Spenser, it details varying attitudes toward the development of ethical human subjectivity at a moment when basic assumptions about perception and knowledge were breaking down.‌

 


Stumbling Blocks Before the Blind: Medieval Constructions of a Disability
by Edward Wheatley

This book presents the first comprehensive exploration of a disability in the Middle Ages, drawing on the literature, history, art history, and religious discourse of England and France. It relates current theories of disability to the cultural and institutional constructions of blindness in the eleventh through fifteenth centuries, examining the surprising differences in the treatment of blind people and the responses to blindness in these two countries.


Utopia, Carnival, and Commonwealth in Renaissance England
by Christopher Kendrick

In a detailed reading of Thomas More's Utopia, Kendrick argues that the uncanny dislocations, the incongruities and blank spots often remarked upon in Book II's description of Utopian society, amount to a way of discovering uneven development, and that the appeal of Utopian communism stems from its answering the desire of the smallholding class (in which are to be numbered European humanists) for unity and power.