Katherine R. Larson

Professor of English; Vice-Dean Teaching, Learning, and Undergraduate Programs; Graduate Faculty; Undergraduate Instructor

On Leave

July 01, 2023 to June 30, 2024
Humanities Wing, Room 322, 1265 Military Trail, Scarborough, ON M1C 1A4. Jackman Humanities Building, Room 829, 170 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5R 2M8. 1A4.


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • Early Modern Literature
  • Renaissance Literature


Katherine Larson’s research and teaching are rooted in feminist practices and focus on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century women’s writing; gender, language, and embodiment; and music and song. Her most recent book, The Matter of Song in Early Modern England: Texts in and of the Air (Oxford University Press, 2019; pbk. 2022), integrates her training as a singer through an open access online companion recording.

As an academic leader, Professor Larson has been actively involved in equity-related work and responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. At the University of Toronto Scarborough, she established the Working Circle, a group of faculty, staff, students, and community members collectively leading a campus-wide curriculum review; the Working Circle’s report, with 56 recommended actions, was released in 2022. Prior to her current appointment as Vice-Dean Teaching, Learning, and Undergraduate Programs, she served as Chair of the Department of English at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Professor Larson’s work has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Connaught Foundation, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Bodleian Library, the Renaissance Society of America, and the Jackman Humanities Institute. A Member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, she is the recipient of the John Charles Polanyi Prize for Literature and a Rhodes Scholarship.



The Matter of Song in Early Modern England: Texts In and of the Air (Oxford University Press, 2019; pbk. 2022).

Re-Reading Mary Wroth (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Co-edited with Naomi J. Miller.

Gender and Song in Early Modern England (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014; rpt. London: Routledge, 2016). Co-edited with Leslie C. Dunn.

Honourable Mention for Best Collaborative Project of 2014, Society for the Study of Early Modern Women.

Early Modern Women in Conversation (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011; pbk. 2015).

Journal Articles

“Recent Studies of Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke,” English Literary Renaissance (Spring 2022): 289-314. Co-authored with Claire Duncan and Margaret Hannay.

“Playing at Penshurst: The Songs and Musical Games of Mary Wroth’s Love’s Victory,” Sidney Journal 34.1 (2016): 93-106.v

Recent Studies of Mary Wroth,”English Literary Renaissance 44.2 (Spring 2014): 328-59.

‘Blest pair of Sirens…Voice and Verse’: Milton’s Rhetoric of Song,”Milton Studies 54 (2013), 81-106.

Death in Venice and Beyond: Benjamin Britten’s Late Works,” University of Toronto Quarterly 81.4 (Fall 2012): 893-908. Co-authored with Kimberly F. Canton, Amelia DeFalco, Linda Hutcheon, Michael Hutcheon, and Helmut Reichenbächer.

“‘A local habitation and a name’: Britten Adapts Shakespeare,” University of Toronto Quarterly 79.3 (Summer 2010): 899-921. Co-authored with Lawrence Wiliford.

Conversational Games and the Articulation of Desire in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost and Mary Wroth’s Love’s Victory,” English Literary Renaissance 40.2 (Spring 2010): 165-90.

Silly Love Songs: The Impact of Puccini’s La Bohème on the Intertextual Strategies of Moulin Rouge!,” The Journal of Popular Culture 42.6 (December 2009): 1040-52. 

Politics, Creativity, and the Aging Artist: Narrativising Richard Strauss’s Last Years,” Life Writing 6.2 (August 2009): 211-27. Co-authored with Kimberly F. Canton, Amelia DeFalco, and Helmut Reichenbächer.

Reading the Space of the Closet in Aemilia Lanyer’s Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum,” Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal 2 (2007): 73-93.

“From Inward Conversation to Public Praise: Mary Sidney Herbert’s Psalmes,” Sidney Journal 24.1 (2006): 21-43.

Resistance from the Margins in George Elliott Clarke’s Beatrice Chancy,” Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review 189 (Summer 2006): 103-18. 

Book Chapters

“The Songscapes of Early Modern Women,” The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Women’s Writing, ed. Danielle Clarke, Sarah C. E. Ross, and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022), 143-56.

“Translation and Transformation in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Music, ed. Christopher R. Wilson and Mervyn Cooke (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022), 926-49. Co-authored with Lawrence Wiliford.

“‘Locks, bolts, bars, and barricados’: Song Performance and Spatial Production in Richard Brome’s The Northern Lass,” Beyond Boundaries: Rethinking Music Circulation in Early Modern England, ed. Linda Austern, Candace Bailey, and Amanda Eubanks Winkler (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017), 79-93.

“The Sidneys and Music,” The Ashgate Research Companion to the Sidneys, 1500-1700, vol. 1, ed. Margaret P. Hannay, Michael G. Brennan, and Mary Ellen Lamb (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015; rpt. London: Routledge, 2016), 317-27.

“Voicing Lyric: The Songs of Mary Wroth,” Re-Reading Mary Wroth, ed. Katherine R. Larson and Naomi Miller, with Andrew Strycharski (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 119-36.

“A Poetics of Song,” The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 104-22.
“Margaret Cavendish’s Civilizing Songs,” The Public Intellectual and the Culture of Hope, ed. Jason Haslam and Joel Faflak (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013), 109-34.

“‘Certein childeplayes remembred by the fayre ladies’: Girls and Their Games,” Gender and Early Modern Constructions of Childhood, ed. Naomi Miller and Naomi Yavneh (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), 67-87. 

Journal Issues

Operatics: The Interdisciplinary Workings of Opera, special issue of the University of Toronto Quarterly 81.4 (Fall 2012). Co-edited and introduction co-authored with Sherry D. Lee, Caryl Clark, and Linda Hutcheon. 

Gendering Time and Space in Early Modern England, special issue of Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme 35.1 (Winter 2012). Co-edited and introduction co-authored with Alysia Kolentsis. 

The Song Is You: Opera, Lyrics, and Literary Studies, special issue of the University of Toronto Quarterly 79.3 (Summer 2010). Co-edited with Andrew DuBois.

Digital Initiatives

Early Modern Songscapes. Co-developed with Scott Trudell (University of Maryland) and Sarah Williams (University of South Carolina). Beta version released in 2019.


BA, St. Olaf College
BMus, St. Olaf College
MPhil, University of Oxford
MSt, University of Oxford
PhD, University of Toronto

Administrative Service

  • Vice-Dean Teaching, Learning, and Undergraduate Programs (2020-present)
  • Chair, Department of English, University of Toronto Scarborough (2017-2020)