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 and Renaissance Literature studies at Loyola University is designed for graduate students with a variety of research interests. The Medieval and Renaissance 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.

Field-Specific Requirements 

  • 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

Medieval and Renaissance Faculty

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.‌