Jay Zysk

Associate Professor

English & Communication


Office of Faculty Development



Liberal Arts 343



Claire T. Carney Library 215


2011Brown UniversityPhD
2007Brown UniversityMA
2005Stonehill CollegeBA


  • Shakespeare
  • Early English drama
  • Late medieval and early modern literature
  • The English Reformation
  • Literary theory





A foundation course for all English majors, examining traditions and innovations in literature and in the study of literature in English. Students develop writing and research skills in the discipline and improve their knowledge of literary terms and forms, literary history and conventions, literary influence, and new and emerging forms and approaches. Genres studied include poetry, drama, fiction, and literary (creative) non-fiction. The course also examines key issues in the profession of literary studies, such as the development of departments of literature, canon formation, and the relationship of literary theory to literary practice.

A study of British literature from Beowulf to 1798, with attention given to the cultural and historical context.

A chronological overview of the major literary works, themes, and genres of the English Renaissance from Caxton and the inception of printing through Milton and the last of the great Renaissance epics. The course focuses on the development of poetic genres and on representative prose forms. Writers studied include Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare, Donne, Herbert, Vaughn, and Milton.


Research Activities

  • Participant, Folger Shakespeare Library Colloquium on "Teaching Medieval Drama and Performance"
  • Short Term Fellow, Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Subject Editor, "British Isles and Northern Europe," Routledge Encyclopedia of the Renaissance World


Research Interests

  • Shakespeare
  • medieval early modern literature
  • Reformation history and culture
  • history of the body
  • periodization studies

Select publications

  • Jay Zysk (2017).
    Shadow and Substance: Eucharistic Controversy and English Drama across the Reformation Divide; University of Notre Dame Press
  • Brokaw, Katherine Steele and Jay Zysk. (2019).
    Sacred and Secular Transactions in the Age of Shakespeare
    Northwestern University Press
  • Jay Zysk (2015).
    Relics and Unreliable Bodies in The Changeling
    English Literary Renaissance, 45.3, 400-424.

Jay Zysk received his Ph.D. in English literature from Brown University. His research and teaching focus on early British literature, Shakespeare, early modern drama, and medieval drama. His current work focuses on intersections between theology and drama, as well as between religion and secularity, across the medieval/early modern divide. He is the author of Shadow and Substance: Eucharistic Controversy and English Drama across the Reformation Divide (University of Notre Dame Press, 2017), and co-editor (with Katherine Steele Brokaw) of Sacred and Secular Transactions in the Age of Shakespeare (Northwestern University Press, 2019).

In addition, Professor Zysk has published several essays on Shakespeare and early modern drama in Christianity and Literature, English Literary Renaissance, postmedieval, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and a number of edited book collections. In 2014, he received a short-term fellowship from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, and in 2016 participated in a yearlong colloquium on “Teaching Medieval Drama” at the Folger. He is currently subject editor ("British Isles and Northern Europe") for the Routledge Encyclopedia of the Renaissance World. He also serves as Director of the Office of Faculty Development at UMass Dartmouth.

External links

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