Jay Zysk


Jay Zysk, PhD

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




Online and Continuing Education Courses

A careful reading of Shakespeare's plays selected from the comedies, tragedies, and histories. The course explores Shakespeare's development as a dramatist, the reasons for his reputation as the greatest poet in the language, and the manner in which his plays reflect Elizabethan custom, attitudes, and beliefs. Some outside readings required in Shakespearean criticism and in the background of the period.
Register for this course.


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.

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