College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Robert I Matz

Robert I Matz

Robert I Matz


Literature: Early modern literature, Shakespeare and Renaissance drama, gender and sexuality

Robert Matz (PhD, Johns Hopkins University, 1993) is a professor of English and senior associate dean in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. His field is Renaissance Literature. He has published essays on Shakespeare and on Renaissance poetry and poetic theory, as well as two books, Defending Literature in Early Modern England: Renaissance Literary Theory in Social Context (Cambridge UP, 2000) and his most recent, The World of Shakespeare's Sonnets: An Introduction (McFarland, 2008), which was selected as a 2008 Choice Outstanding Academic Title. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Association of Departments of English (ADE). Matz teaches courses on sixteenth and seventeenth-century English literature, and on Renaissance drama, including Shakespeare.

Current Research

Writings on early modern marriage

Selected Publications

"The Scandals of Shakespeare's Sonnets."  ELH 77 (2010): 477-508

The World of Shakespeare's Sonnets: An Introduction.  McFarland, 2008.  Selected as a 2008 Choice Outstanding Academic Title.

Defending Literature in Early Modern England: Renaissance Literary Theory in Social Context, Cambridge University Press, 2000.

"Slander, Renaissance Discourses of Sodomy, and Othello," ELH 66 (1999): 261-76.

"Poetry, Politics and Discursive Forms: The Case of Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie," Genre 30 (1997):  195-214.

Expanded Publication List


“‘To serve, love and obey’: The Taming of the Shrew and Early Modern Marriage.” Approaches to Teaching Taming of the Shrew. Ed. Margaret Dupuis and Grace Tiffany. MLA, 2013.

“Speaking What We Feel: Torture and Political Authority in King Lear,” Exemplaria 6 (1994): 223-41.


“Two Early Modern Marriage Sermons: Henry Smith’s A Preparative to Marriage (1591) and William Whately’s A Bride-Bush (1623).” Edition. Forthcoming, Ashgate Press.

“‘Who is Speaking Here?’:Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Modern Authorship and the Contemporary University,” in World-Making in Early Modern Literature, ed. Marcie Frank, Jonathan Goldberg and Karen Newman. Fordham University Press, forthcoming.

“Theories and Philosophies of Poetry,” Blackwell Companion to Renaissance Poetry, ed. Catherine Bates. Blackwell Press, forthcoming.


Review of Kasey Evans, Colonial Virtue: The Mobility of Temperance in Renaissance England. Renaissance Quarterly 65 (2012)

Review of Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespeare’s Freedom. Journal of British Studies 51 (2012).

Review of Sean Keilen, Vulgar Eloquence: On the Renaissance Invention of Literature. Shakespeare Quarterly 60 (2009).

Courses Taught

ENGL 401: Sixteenth-Century Poetry and Prose

ENGL 402: Seventeenth-Century Poetry and Prose

ENGL 472: Spenser

ENGL 335: Shakespeare: Histories and Comedies

ENGL: 336: Shakespeare: Tragedies and Romances

ENGL 473: Special Topics in Shakespeare: Shakespeare's Sonnets

ENGL 630: Early Modern Literature

In the Media

"Valentine's Day Truths about Shakespeare."  Inside Higher Ed.  February 14, 2008

"Shakespeare's Sonnets" Turns 400.  With Good Reason.  August 15, 2009

"Dear Garrison Keillor: Stop Making Jokes about English Majors."    Inside Higher Ed.  February 5, 2012