Epic Graduate Conference

Schedule For Graduate Conference in Epic Writing

Generously sponsored by the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies. We would like to thank Professor Sharon O’Dair for supporting this event, and for Catherine Winn and Lacee Nisbett for all their help in logistics.

Location: Morgan Hall, room 301

Date: Friday 4 December 2015, 10:00am-4:00pm


10:00-10:05am: Welcome (coffee and cookies)


Panel 1: Logic, Rhetoric, and Reason in the “Big Three”: Spenser, Milton, and Shakespeare

Haden Bell, ‘It Will End In Blood: A Comparison of the Role of Agency in The Faerie Queene and Phantastes

Matt Smith, ‘The Paradigm of Temptation in Paradise Lost’

Arwen Hutchison, ‘Reason and Passion in Areopagitica: A Foreshadowing of the Necessity of Eve’s Fall in Paradise Lost

Emily Donahoe, ‘Imitation, Innovation, and Imperium: The Grammar School Education of Lear’s Daughters’


Panel 2: Politics and Power Dynamics in Milton and Spenser

Caleb Luikham, ‘The Nature of Satan’s Evil: The Rebellion in Heaven as a Simulacrum of Truth in Paradise Lost

D. Geoffrey Emerson, ‘Through Merlin’s Mirror: Science and Politics in Spenser’s Faerie Queene


Lunch served in room 301, Morgan Hall


Panel 3: Imitation and Echoes in The Faerie Queene

Mark Hulse, ‘From Odyssey to Ovidian Fantasy: Rhyme and Reason in The Faerie Queene Book III’

Jacob Crawford, ‘Epic Imitation in The Faerie Queene

Andrew Ash, ‘Wandring in Spenser’s Faerie Queene


Panel 4: Milton and Spenser’s Sacred and Secular Places

M. K. Foster, ‘Rustick Horrour Picture Show: Spectacular Monstrosity, Performativity, and Trauma in the Natural World of Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene featuring Book 1, Canto 2, Stanzas 28-45’

William Roudabush, ‘Early Modern English Epic: Reversing Secular into Sacred’

Barry Cole, ‘The Mocked Hearth: Jesus’ Home as Shunned Space in Paradise Regained


Plenary Speaker:

Professor Elizabeth Skerpan-Wheeler, Texas State University

Title: The Marginalization of Ramism, Its Consequences for Milton Studies, and Why It All Matters Today


The work of Petrus Ramus deeply influenced educational thought and practice in England and western and central Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This fact was widely acknowledged by scholars of English literature in the last century. Nevertheless, a significant number of studies in the poetry and prose of John Milton seem to be completely unaware of this major intellectual movement, despite Milton’s own Ramist publication The Art of Logic (1672). In this paper, Elizabeth investigates some of the reasons for this serious omission, and demonstrate how an understanding of Ramist invention may affect our interpretation of Samson Agonistes.

Plenary Biography:

Educated at Miami University (Ohio) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Elizabeth Skerpan-Wheeler is Professor of English at Texas State University, where she teaches sixteenth-, seventeenth-, and eighteenth-century literature and history of rhetoric. Her most recent publications include “The First ‘Royal’: Charles I as Celebrity” (PMLA 2011) and “The Logical Poetics of Paradise Regained” (HLQ 2013). She is completing a book–Mean Seasons: Milton and the Poetics of Risk–from which, in part, this presentation derives.


Conference Closes. Thanks to all participants, and to the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies and the Department of English for supporting this event.