People

Professor Sarah Knight

Professor of Renaissance Literature

School/Department: Arts, School of

Email: sk218@leicester.ac.uk

Profile

I teach, translate, edit and write about sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature, especially English and Latin works. My B.A. is in Classics and English and my M.A. and Ph.D. are in Renaissance Studies. I am interested in early modern student life across Europe, and in how educational processes imaginatively and intellectually shape literary writing. I usually focus on authors who read and wrote in other languages as well as their own, and this multilingualism has led to interests in translation, cosmopolitanism, and different kinds of cultural encounter and linguistic contact with the wider world. Much of my undergraduate and postgraduate teaching reflects these research interests. I am a former President of the national Society for Neo-Latin Studies and Chair of the Academic Advisory Board of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Neo-Latin Studies in Innsbruck. With Prof. Hugh Adlington (Birmingham) I co-convene the British Milton Seminar. I was a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow in 2014, became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2018, and was invited in 2019 to become a Fellow of the English Association.

Research

I have edited and translated a number of Latin works, including Leon Battista Alberti’s prose satire Momus (I Tatti Renaissance Library, Harvard University Press) and several accounts of Elizabeth I’s travels for the new edition of John Nichols’s Progresses (5 volumes, Oxford University Press). I have co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin and three essay collections on the European contexts of Ramism, the Elizabethan Progresses, and the early modern Inns of Court. Thinking about how early modern students were taught poetry and rhetoric has resulted in my work on literature and drama written at or about institutions of learning (schools; universities; Inns of Court). I am increasingly interested in how multilingual authors learned about other ancient and contemporary cultures and language groups and how that learning informed their writing. These various interests cohere around my two main research projects: a new edition and translation of John Milton's student Latin speeches (the Prolusiones) and his Latin letters (the Epistolae Familiares); and a new edition of Fulke Greville's tragedies Alaham and Mustapha (both for Oxford University Press). My research has been variously funded by the AHRC, the British Academy and the Renaissance Society of America.

Publications

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'Pyrrhus and the Tiger', MLN 135.5 (December 2020; Comparative Literature Issue): 1062-1077.

'Eleganter fabulata est Antiquitas: Le problème de l'autorité classique dans l'écriture de Milton étudiant', in Inqualifiables fureurs - poétique des invocations inspirées aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles, ed. by Anne-Pascale Pouey-Mounou (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2019), pp. 335-345. ISBN 9782406090328.

The European Contexts of Ramism, ed. by Sarah Knight and Emma Annette Wilson (Turnhout: Brepols, 2019). Late Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 27. ISBN 9782503574998.

'Not with the Ancient, nor yet with the Modern': Greville, Education and Tragedy', in Fulke Greville and the Culture of the English Renaissance, ed. by Russ Leo, Katrin Röder and Freya Sierhuis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 195-209. ISBN 9780198823445.

'How the Young Man Should Study Latin Poetry: Neo-Latin Literature and Early Modern Education', in A Guide to Neo-Latin Literature, ed. by Victoria Moul (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 52-65. ISBN 9781107029293.

The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin, ed. by Sarah Knight and Stefan Tilg (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). ISBN 9780199948178. Paperback 2018. 

John Nichols, The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth I: A New Edition of the Early Modern Sources. General Editors: Elizabeth Clarke, Elizabeth Goldring, Faith Eales, Jayne Elisabeth Archer; Associate General Editors: Gabriel Heaton, Sarah Knight (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). 5 vols. ISBN 9780199205066. 

'Milton's Forced Themes', Milton Quarterly 45 (3) (October 2011), pp. 145-60.

The Intellectual and Cultural World of the Early Modern Inns of Court, ed. by Jayne Elisabeth Archer, Elizabeth Goldring, Sarah Knight (Manchester University Press, 2011). ISBN 9780719082368. Paperback 2013.

Leon Battista Alberti, Momus, trans. and co-ed. with Virginia Brown (I Tatti Renaissance Library No. 8, Harvard University Press, 2003). ISBN 0674007549.

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Supervision

I have supervised a range of PhD projects based within the disciplines of English, Classics, Italian and Translation Studies. I welcome applications and enquiries from prospective postgraduate students interested in working on Renaissance and early modern literature and culture, especially:

  • Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century drama and poetry
  • Comparative literature (English, French, Greek, Italian, Latin)
  • Multilingualism and language-learning
  • Literature and education: schools, universities, Inns of Court
  • Translation and adaptation
  • The reception of classical texts and ideas 

Teaching

I teach across all years of the B.A. In the first year, I teach 'Reading English'; 'Renaissance Drama: Shakespeare and his Contemporaries', and I teach 'Renaissance Literature'; 'English and Education' and 'The Latin World: Ancient, Medieval and Modern' (a cross-College module) in the second year. In the final year, I supervise undergraduate dissertations and offer two optional modules, 'Classical Worlds: Translation and Reception' and 'Tragedy'. I teach on the MA in English Studies on the following modules: 'Editing and Textual Cultures'; 'Authorship and Authority'; and 'Roman Remains: Classical Antiquity in the Drama of Shakespeare and his Contemporaries'. 

Press and media

I was a consultant on fifteenth- and sixteenth-century literary and historical sources on the University of Leicester's Richard III project, and gave a series of interviews, broadcasts, and public talks, many in collaboration with my colleague Dr. Mary Ann Lund. More recently, I have been interviewed on BBC Radio 3 in relation to a collaborative research project with Dr. Hannah Crawforth (King's College London) on difficulty in early modern literature.

Qualifications

PhD in Renaissance Studies, Yale University
M.A. in Combined Historical Studies (The Renaissance), Warburg Institute, University of London
B.A. in Classics and English, University of Oxford

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