Edward Geisweidt, Ph.D.

Edward Geisweidt Headshot Lecturer

English Department
College of Arts and Sciences

Ph.D., The University of Alabama

Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies

B.A., Washington College

About Edward

I teach courses in the First-Year Writing Program and in my area of research—British literature. I am committed to fostering students’ intellectual capacities for analysis, synthesis, application, and evaluation, deeming that it is as important for students to be able to wield the words and ideas of others as it is for them to improve their own writing and critical thinking skills. Too often, students assume professional and creative writing is the product of genius and they doubt their abilities to comprehend it or to aspire to it. My approach in all of my English classes is to demonstrate that great writing is not (entirely) vatic inspiration but a skillful weaving of habits of thought and formal conventions, both of which students can learn to recognize in others’ writing and to cultivate in their own. My goal is for my students to develop their mastery of language as they become critical readers and writers in English.

My research focuses on vitality and the various, unusual places it could be found in early modern literature, natural philosophy, and medical texts.  My work has taken me from the textual traces of horse hairs that turn into serpents (in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, for instance), to the grave in John Donne’s “The Relic” (in which a bracelet of hair reunites two lovers’ souls in the afterlife), to the theater, where puppets seemingly come to life even as they give life to Shakespeare’s poem, Venus and Adonis. In keeping with my interest in ecocriticism and the multiple forms life takes in nature, I am currently researching the ways in which the early modern English attitudes toward rapid population growth correspond with modern anxieties over demographic shifts.

Selected Publications

“The Bastard Bomb: Illegitimacy and Population in Thomas Middleton’s Chaste Maid in Cheapside.” Eco-Approaches to Early Modern English Texts. Eds. Jennifer Munroe, Edward J. Geisweidt, and Lynne Bruckner. Ashgate, 2014.

“The Erotic Life of Objects: Venus and Adonis in the Puppet Theater.” The Hare: An Online Journal of Brief Essays and Untimely Reviews in Renaissance Literature 1.2 (2013).

“‘The Nobleness of Life’:  Spontaneous Generation and Excremental Life in Antony and Cleopatra.” Ecocritical Shakespeare.Eds. Lynne Bruckner and Daniel Brayton. Ashgate, 2011.

Selected Conferences

“Quickening Hairs:  An Evolutionary Perspective on the Shakespearean Body,” World Shakespeare Congress 2011 paper panel, “Crawl, Adapt, Vary:  New Evolutionary Paths in Shakespeare Criticism” (Charles University, Prague, July 2011).

“Soul Food:  Excremental Aesthetics and Early Modern Organic Affiance,” Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE) (University of Victoria, British Columbia, June 2009).

“Of Bears and Wild Men:  Staging the Border-Figures of the Human in Mucedorus,” Shakespeare Association of America seminar, “Shakespeare and the Limits of the Human” (Washington, D.C., April 2009).

“‘I have not Placed all my Treasures in One Bottom’:  Triangulated Desire and Queer Kinship in The Merchant of Venice,” invited speaker for the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies Symposium, “Shakespeare’s Love Triangles” (Tuscaloosa, October 2008).

“Horticulture of the Head:  The Vegetable Life of Hair in Early Modern English Thought,” Shakespeare Association of America seminar, “Flora’s Court” (Dallas, March 2008).

Courses Taught
  • ENGL 1105 Composition
  • ENGL 1110 Composition & Literature
  • ENGL 2211 Early British Writers
  • ENGL 2212 Modern British Writers
  • ENGL 4481 ST: Power and Poetry in Seventeenth-Century England
  • UNIV 1175 The Future of Food
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