Michael D. Slater, Ph.D.

Main Page Content

Michael D. Slater, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
(585) 395-5931
Office: 222 LAB

Teaching and Creative Interests: Shakespeare (incl. Shakespeare and Film), Renaissance Drama, Renaissance Poetry and Prose, Magic and Monsters, Science and Literature



BA, Trinity University
MA, University of Colorado
PhD, Northwestern University


“Literary and Scientific Revolutions in Early Modern England”

Committee: Wendy Wall (chair), Kasey Evans, Jeffrey Masten, and Laurie Shannon

This project contends that historical changes in early modernity we generally regard in scientific terms had implications for, and were implicated in, changes in literary structure. It demonstrates that the “scientific revolution” was also a literary revolution, a profound reorientation of the aesthetic modes that dominated early modern culture. In addition to widespread contests over the legitimacy of specific tropes and figures—from personification to metaphor to typology— this reorientation included as one of its clearest manifestations a remarkable devaluation of narrative allegory. I show that such drastic changes in literary ideals were possible only in conjunction with revised concepts of motion, and that revised concepts of motion were themselves a product of debates about the value of literary figures.


“The Ghost in the Machine: ‘Emotion’ and Mind-Body Union in Hamlet and Descartes.” Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts (forthcoming).

“Spenser’s Poetics of ‘Transfixion’ in the Allegory of Chastity.” SEL: Studies in English  Literature 1500-1900 54.1 (February 2014): 41-58.

“‘Invoking’ Donne: A Grammatical Reconstruction of ‘The Canonization.’” Notes and Queries 53.2 (June 2006): 159-64.

Honors and Fellowships

Jean H. Hagstrum Prize for Best Dissertation of the Year, English Department, Northwestern University, 2014.

Graduate School University Fellowship, Northwestern University, 2012-2013.

Presidential Fellowship, Northwestern University, 2010-2012.

Associated Student Government Faculty Honor Roll, Northwestern University, 2011.

Karin Strand Prize for Best Essay, English Department, Northwestern University, 2008.

Papers and Presentations

“Surprised by Science: The Original ‘Errors’ of Paradise Lost.” Early Modern Colloquium, Northwestern University. Evanston, November 2013.

“The Fable of Sound and Visions of the Moon: Allegory in Galileo’s Assayer.” Shakespeare Association of America. Boston, April 2012.

“‘When Everything Seems Double’: Dreaming in Gary Griffin’s Midsummer.” Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Chicago, March 2012.

“Sapphic Desire and ‘Nature’s Law’: The Social Anxiety of ‘Insignificance’ in Donne’s ‘Sappho to Philaenis.’” Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference at CUNY’s Graduate Center. New York, November 2011.

“Order and Disorder in the Cosmos: Hamlet’s New Astronomy.” Society of Fellows, Northwestern University. Evanston, October 2011.

“The Theater of the World: Performing Gender and Identity in Gary Griffin’s As You Like It.” Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Chicago, January & February 2011.

“A Rose by Any Other Name: Economies of Exchange in Gale Edward’s Romeo and Juliet.” Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Chicago, October & November 2010.

“Allegory and Physics: Literature and the Scientific Revolution.” Invited Talk, Northwestern English Department. Evanston, March 2010.

“A ‘foul and pestilent congregation’: Hamlet and the New Astronomy.” Newberry Library’s Center for Renaissance Studies Graduate Student Conference. Chicago, January 2010.

“A Poetics of ‘Transfixion’: Rape and Allegory in Faerie Queene III.” International Congress on Medieval Studies. Kalamazoo, May 2009.

Teaching and Research Interests

British Literature to 1800
Shakespeare (incl. Shakespeare and Film)
Renaissance Drama
Renaissance Poetry and Prose
Magic and Monsters
Science and Literature

Professional Service and Activities

Curriculum Committee, The College at Brockport, August 2014-present.

PreAmble Scholar, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, May 2010–April 2012.

Co-Chair, Northwestern University Early Modern Colloquium, Fall 2009–Spring 2010.


Reading proficiency in Latin

Professional Memberships

Modern Language Association
Shakespeare Association of America
Renaissance Society of America

Curriculum Vitae

Last Updated 10/12/17

Close mobile nav