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Department of English Language and Literature


Esther Gilman Richey

Title: Professor Emeritus
Department: English Language and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-4203
Resources: English Language and Literature


PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, 1990
MA, University of Hawaii at Manoa
BA, University of California, Irvine

Areas of Specialization 

    17th Century Poetry and Prose
    Renaissance Literature
    Medieval Literature
    Women Writers in the Early Modern Period

Recently Taught Courses 

ENGL 288    Readings in Medieval and Early Modern Literature
ENGL 405    Shakespeare's Tragedies
ENGL 406    Shakespeare's Comedies and Histories
ENGL 715    17th Century Poetry and Prose

Professional Accolades 

Departmental Teaching Award: Virginia Tech, 1995.

Current Research Projects 

I am completing my second book, Strange Love: Luther and the Property of God in Early Modern England. My book challenges Calvin's place at the theological center of Early Modern subjectivity and political consciousness by arguing that a Lutheran embrace of Otherness found its fullest development during the reign of Elizabeth I and immediately thereafter. I argue that Luther's positive interpretation of Mary informs the Cult of the Virgin Queen, affecting social, economic, and ecclesiastical change by interrogating patriarchal conceptions of gender, property, and spiritual exclusion. No thorough analysis of the theological distinction between Luther and Calvin currently exists in Renaissance scholarship. Contemporary critics have either assumed that Calvin's theology was dominant in the art and literature of the age or that little distinction between Luther and Calvin exists. Neither is true. "The Intimate Other and Lutheran Subjectivity in Spenser, Donne, and Herbert," is forthcoming in Modern Philology, and "The Property of God: Luther, Calvin and Herbert's Sacrifice Sequence" is forthcoming in ELH. This past summer I finished two chapters, "Joint Property: Luther, Calvin, and Aemilia Lanyer's Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum," and "Translating Freely: Elizabeth's Theology in Marguerite de Navarre's The Glasse of the Sinfull Soule."

Selected Publications 

    The Politics of Revelation in the English Renaissance. University of Missouri Press, 1998.  

    "'Small Rent': Seventeenth Century Parable and the Politics of Redemption," Studies in Philology 92, 1 (1995):102-117. "'To Undoe the Booke': Cornelius Agrippa, Aemilia Lanyer, and the Subversion of Pauline Authority," English Literary Renaissance 27, 1 (1997):106-128.
    "The Political Design of Herbert's Temple," Studies in English Literature 37, 1 (1997):73-96.
    "The Trial of the Subject in Ben Jonson's Letters and Religious Lyrics," Studies in Philology 99, 1 (2002):81-104.
    "Herbert's Temple and the Liberty of the Subject," Journal of English and Germanic Philology 102, 2 (2003): 244-268.

Recent Presentations 

That which we call a rose: Romeo and Juliet and Domestic Intimacy: Shakespeare Association of America, 2008.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.