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Kenneth Borris

Position: 
Professor
Kenneth Borris
Office: 
Arts West 35
Phone: 
514-398-4400 Ext 09349
Email Address: 
kenneth [dot] borris [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Mailing Address: 

McGill University Department of English
853 Sherbrooke Street West
Arts Building
Montreal, QC H3A 0G5 CANADA

Degrees and Academic Title(s): 

B.A. (Victoria, B.C.); Ph.D. (Edinburgh), Professor

General Research Areas: 
Literature
Early Modern
Seventeenth Century
Teaching and Research Areas: 

Spenser, Milton, Shakespeare, Sidney; Renaissance thought, poetics, and culture; history of early modern science; theory of allegory; theory of Renaissance genres, especially epic and pastoral; emblematics and former theory of verbal and visual images; early modern representations of gender and sexuality, including, e.g., the sciences of the body and its constitutional implications.

Taught previously at: 

University of Victoria, University of Alberta

Awards and Fellowships: 
  • SSHRC Standard Research Grants, 1998-2001, 2004-2007, 2011-2014
  • Canada Research Fellow, 1987-92
  • Senior Fellowships at Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, University of Toronto
  • Isabel MacCaffrey Prize, 1990 (best essay on Spenser published that year)
  • McGill Humanities Research and Arts Legacy Grants.
  • SSHRCC Doctoral Fellow, 1982-85
  • Commonwealth Doctoral Fellow, 1980-83
Selected Publications : 

Monographs:

Allegory and Epic in English Renaissance Literature: Heroic Form in Sidney, Spenser, and Milton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), xii, 320 pp. Reissued in paperback by Cambridge, 2008. Look at the book online.

Spenser’s Poetics of Prophecy in “The Faerie Queene” V (Victoria, BC: University of Victoria Press, 1991), 93 pp. Look at the book online.

Edited collections:

Spenser and Platonism, ed. Kenneth Borris, Jon Quitslund, Carol Kaske, special guest-edited issue of Spenser Studies, XXIV (2009), viii + 526 pp.

The Sciences of Homosexuality in Early Modern Europe, ed. Kenneth Borris and George Rousseau (New York and London: Routledge, 2007), 296 pp. Look at the book online.

Same-Sex Desire in the English Renaissance: A Sourcebook of Texts, 1470-1650 (New York and London: Routledge, 2004), xvi, 424 pp. Look at the book online.

The Affectionate Shepherd: Celebrating Richard Barnfield, ed. Kenneth Borris and George Klawitter (Selinsgrove and London: Susquehanna–Associated University Presses, 2001), 388 pp. (collection of critical essays). Look at the book online.

Essays in Serials and Contributed Volumes:

"Hymnic Epic and The Faerie Queene's Original Printed Format: Canto-Canticles and Psalmic Arguments," Renaissance Quarterly 64.4 (2011):  1148-93. Co-authored with Meredith Donaldson Clark.

“Allegory, Symbol, Emblem,” The Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser, ed. Richard A. McCabe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 437-60.

“Introduction: Spenser and Platonism,” by Kenneth Borris, Jon Quitslund, and Carol Kaske, Spenser Studies, XXIV (2009), pp. 1-14.

“Platonism and Spenser’s Poetic: Idealized Imitation, Merlin’s Mirror, and the Florimells,” Spenser Studies, XXIV (2009), pp. 209-68.

“Reassessing Ellrodt: Critias and The Fowre Hymnes in The Faerie Queene,” Spenser Studies, XXIV (2009), pp. 453-80.

“Introduction: The Prehistory of Homosexuality in the Early Modern Sciences,” in The Sciences of Homosexuality in Early Modern Europe, ed. Kenneth Borris and George Rousseau (London: Routledge, 2008), pp. 1-40.

“Sodomizing Science: Cocles, Patricio Tricasso, and the Constitutional Morphologies of Renaissance Male Same-Sex Lovers,” in The Sciences of Homosexuality in Early Modern Europe, ed. Kenneth Borris and George Rousseau (London: Routledge, 2008), pp. 137-64.

“Sub Rosa: Pastorella’s Allegorical Homecoming, and Closure in the 1596 Faerie Queene,” Spenser Studies 21 (2006): 133-80.

“Flesh, Spirit, and the Glorified Body: Spenser’s Anthropomorphic Houses of Pride, Holiness, and Temperance,” Spenser Studies 15 (2001): 17-52.

“R[ichard] B[arnfield]’s Homosocial Engineering in Orpheus His Journey to Hell,” in The Affectionate Shepherd: Celebrating Richard Barnfield, ed. Kenneth Borris and George Klawitter (Selinsgrove and London: Susquehanna–Associated University Presses, 2001), pp. 332-60.

“‘Ile hang a bag and a bottle at thy back’”: Barnfield’s Homoerotic Advocacy and the Construction of Homosexuality,” in The Affectionate Shepherd: Celebrating Richard Barnfield, ed. Kenneth Borris and George Klawitter (Selinsgrove and London: Susquehanna–Associated University Presses, 2001), pp. 193-248.

“Milton’s Heterodoxy of the Incarnation and Subjectivity in De Doctrina Christiana and Paradise Lost,” in Living Texts: Interpreting Milton, ed. Charles Durham and Kris Pruitt (Selinsgrove and London: Susquehanna–Associated University Presses, 2000), pp. 264-82.

“Elizabethan Allegorical Epics: The Arcadias as Counterparts of The Faerie Queene,” Spenser Studies 13 (1999): 191-221.

“Union of Mind or in Both One Soul: Allegories of Adam and Eve in Paradise Lost,” Milton Studies, 31 (1995): 45-71.

“Geoffrey Whitney’s Choice of Emblemes: Anglo-Dutch Politics and the Order of Ideal Repatriation,” Emblematica, 8/1 (1994): 81-132.

“Allegory in Paradise Lost: Satan’s Cosmic Journey,” Milton Studies 26 (1991): 101-33. Nominated for the Hanford Award.

“‘Diuelish Ceremonies’: Allegorical Satire of Protestant Extremism in The Faerie Queene VI.viii.31-51,” Spenser Studies, 8 (1990): 173-207. Winner of the Isabel MacCaffrey Prize for the best Spenser article published internationally in 1990.

“Fortune, Occasion, and the Allegory of the Quest in Book Six of The Faerie Queene,” Spenser Studies, 7 (1987): 123-45, 301-9.

Notes:

“The ‘Problem’ of Homosexuality: Pietro d’Abano (Peter of Abano), Expositio Problematum Aristotelis (Mantua: per . . . Paulum Iohannis de Puzpach [i.e., Butzbach], 1475, Bibl. Osl. 245,” in 75 Books from the Osler Library, ed. Faith Wallis and Pamela Miller (Montreal: Osler Library of the History of Medicine, 2004), pp. 136-7.

“The Sacraments in The Faerie Queene, in “Spenser’s Theology: The Sacraments in The Faerie Queene,” Reformation, 6 (2002): 145-54.

“Critical Introduction: Barnfield’s Reception and Significance,” in The Affectionate Shepherd: Celebrating Richard Barnfield, ed. Kenneth Borris and George Klawitter (Selinsgrove and London: Susquehanna–Associated University Presses, 2001), pp. 13-24.

“Geoffrey Whitney,” in Sixteenth-Century Non-Dramatic Authors, Second Series, Vol. 136 of The Dictionary of Literary Biography, ed. David A. Richardson (Detroit: Bruccoli-Clark-Layman, 1994), pp. 336-40.

“Richard Barnfield,” in Sixteenth-Century Non-Dramatic Authors, Third Series, Vol. 172 of The Dictionary of Literary Biography, ed. David A. Richardson (Detroit: Bruccoli-Clark-Layman, 1996), pp. 10-16.

“Courtesy,” in The Spenser Encyclopedia (Toronto: Unversity of Toronto Press, 1990), pp. 194-5.

“Salvage Man,” in The Spenser Encyclopedia (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990), p. 624.

Current Research: 

Renaissance poetics, Spenser, Sidney, and other major early modern poets; skepticism and unbelief in early modern culture; former sex differences, sexual identities, and sexual dissidence; interactions of the former sciences with representations of gender, the body, and sexual affiliations; history of sexuality.

Areas of Graduate Supervision: 
  • Aspects of early modern English and continental literature, thought and culture: e.g., Shakespeare, Milton, Sidney, Spenser, Donne, Crashawe, Katherine Phillips, among others; Renaissance literary theory; literary implications of early modern physiology and the passions; skepticism, Stocisim, Neoplatonism; history of sexuality, topics including the former sciences.
  • Twentieth-century fantasy; queer fiction.