Department of English

University of Toronto

Blake, Liza

Liza Blake Liza_Blake
Associate Professor; Graduate Faculty; Undergraduate Instructor, University of Toronto Mississauga 
Office Phone: 905-828-3728
UTM Office Location: MN 5246
UTSG Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street, Room 631
Office Hours and/or Leave Status: On leave July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020

Teaching and Research Interests: Medieval and Renaissance literature, including drama, poetry, and prose; medieval and early modern dramatic literature and theater practices; poetics; literature and science; literature and philosophy; the history of materialism; critical theory; post-structuralism.

B.A., English (The George Washington University), M.Phil., Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Cambridge University), M.A., Ph.D., English (New York University)

My work attends to the connections among literature, science, and philosophy in pre-modernity, early modernity, and modernity. My book project, Early Modern Literary Physics, argues that early modern authors such as Arthur Golding, Edmund Spenser, George Chapman, John Donne, Ben Jonson, and Margaret Cavendish used literary techniques and forms to explore the central concepts of philosophies of nature. I argue for the coherence in the English Renaissance of the idea of physiologia, a philosophy of nature encompassing the basic makeup of the material world and the rules governing it. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries developed a large and varied collection of new interpretations of the physical world, and my project embraces that multiplicity. My chapters demonstrate that literary texts were just as concerned with physics as were treatises, manuals, and other recognizably scientific or proto-scientific forms of writing, and that literary studies has, accordingly, an important role to play in the histories of science and philosophy.



Lucretius and Modernity: Epicurean Encounters Across Time and Disciplines. Ed. Jacques Lezra and Liza Blake. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. [edited collection]

Scholarly Editing 

Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. Margaret Cavendish’s Poems and Fancies: A Digital Critical Edition. Ed. Liza Blake. Website published May 2019.

Arthur Golding’s A Moral Fabletalk and Other Renaissance Fable Translations. Ed. Liza Blake and Kathryn Vomero Santos. Tudor and Stuart Translations Series. Cambridge, UK: Modern Humanities Research Association, 2017. [scholarly edition of Aesopian fables translated by William Caxton, Robert Henryson (trans. Richard Smith), Arthur Golding, John Brinsley, and John Ogilby]

Special Issue of Journal Forthcoming

Teaching Women Writers Today. Ed. and intro. Liza Blake. Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching 28, no. 2 (forthcoming 2021).

Articles and Chapters Published and Forthcoming

"The Physics of Poetic Form in Arthur Golding's Translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses." English Literary Renaissance 51 (forthcoming 2021).

"Teaching (Un)Editing in the Women Writers Classroom." Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching 28, no. 2 (forthcoming 2021).

"Margaret Cavendish's Forms: Literary Formalism and the Figures of Margaret Cavendish's Atom Poems." In Feminist Formalisms. Ed. Lara Dodds and Michelle M. Dowd. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, forthcoming 2021.

"Editing Early Modern English Women's Printed Work." In The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Early Modern Women's Writing. Chem, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2021.

"Hester Pulter's Particle Physics and the Poetics of Involution." JEMCS 20, no. 2 (2020): 71-98.

"After Life in Margaret Cavendish's Vitalist Posthumanism." Criticism 62, no. 3 (2020): 433-56.

"What Does the Wolf Say?: Animal Language and Political Noise in Coriolanus." By Liza Blake and Kathryn Vomero Santos. In The Routledge Handbook on Shakespeare and Animals. Ed. Karen Raber and Holly Dugan. New York: Routledge, 2020. 150-62.

"Lyric and Scientific Epistemologies: Bacon and Donne." In Gathering Force: Early Modern British Literature in Transition, 1557-1623. Volume I. Ed. Kristen Poole and Lauren Shohet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. 199-214.

"Pounced Corrections in Oxford copies of Cavendish's Philosophical and Physical Opinions; or, Margaret Cavendish's Glitter Pen." New College Notes 10 (2018), no. 6: 1-11.

"The Grounds of Literature and Science: Margaret Cavendish's Creature Manifesto." In The Palgrave Handbook of Early Modern Literature and Science, ed. Evelyn Tribble and Howard Marchitello. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. 3-26.

"Allegorical Causation and Aristotelian Physics in Henry Medwall's Nature." SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 55 (2015): 341-63.

"Recipe for Disaster: Practical Metaphysics." In Speculative Medievalisms: Discography. Ed. The Petropunk Collective (Eileen A. Joy, Anna Klosowska, Nicola Masciandaro, and Michael O'Rourke). New York: Punctum Books, 2013. 201-06.

"Dildos and Accessories: The Functions of the Early Modern Strap-On." In Ornamentalism: The Art of Renaissance Accessories. Ed. Bella Mirabella. Ann Arbor: Michigan University Press, 2011. 130-55.

"Posthuman Physics." postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 1 (2010): 39-45.

Research Blog Posts and Online Publications (non-peer-reviewed)

“Locating Margaret Cavendish’s Books: Database, Map, and Analysis.” Post for the Digital Cavendish website on libraries that hold original copies of Margaret Cavendish’s texts, including a downloadable chart with data, mapped visualizations, and analysis. Published November 14, 2018.

“What is an Aesopian Fable? The Case of the Renaissance Catwoman.” Blog post for the Folger Shakespeare Library’s blog “Collation” about Renaissance printed Aesop collections, including massive chart on early Aesops available for free download. Published Nov. 8, 2018. 

Pedagogical Blog Posts and Online Publications (non-peer-reviewed)

“Teaching Editing in an Undergraduate Women Writers Classroom.” Blog post and reflective report on three linked assignments introducing editorial methods and practice to undergraduates. Report published Dec. 17, 2018.
Blog post published Dec. 19, 2018.

“Teaching Transcribathons.” Blog post about the UTM Transcribathon of March 2018. Published on EMROC blog Aug. 21, 2018.
Reposted on Recipes Project blog Sept. 4, 2018.

Works in Progress
Monograph in Progress, “Early Modern Literary Physics.”

Multi-modal monograph in progress, “Choose Your Own Poems and Fancies: A Re-arrangeable Digital Edition and Monograph.” Under contract with Electric Press.

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