Joshua Calhoun

Joshua Calhoun
Assistant Professor
6161 Helen C. White Hall
E-mail Joshua Calhoun
Renaissance Lyric Poetry, Renaissance Drama, Poetics, Shakespeare, Spenser, Donne, Gascoigne, Media, the History of Reading, the Natural History of Texts, Papermaking, Historical Formalism, Miscellanies and Anthologies, Paleography, the Atlantic World

Selected Publications

  • “The Word Made Flax: Cheap Bibles, Textual Corruption, and the Poetics of Paper.” PMLA 126.2 (March 2011): 327-44.
  • “Ecosystemic Shakespeare: Vegetable Memorabilia in the Sonnets.” Shakespeare Studies 39 (2011): 64-73. (Invited submission for a “Shakespeare and Ecology” forum.)
  • “Book Review: Living Through the End of Nature: The Future of American Environmentalism.” Environmental Philosophy 8.1 (Spring 2011): 11-14.
  • “‘Toilet paper is the new scroll. :P’” In Media Res: A Media Commons Project. 3 June 2010.
  • Images of Robin Hood: Medieval to Modern. Essay collection co-edited with Lois Potter.  (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2008).

Current Project

My current research explores ecologies of writing and reading, especially the poetic interplay between literary ideas and the physical forms they are made to take as sixteenth- and seventeenth-century texts. Made from recycled clothes, slaughtered animals, and felled trees, poetic texts in Renaissance England were filled with visible traces of ecological matter. I argue that the flora and fauna from which a text was made were legible, significant elements of its poetic form.


At UW-Madison, I teach Shakespeare, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century lyric poetry, and the history of media. Most recently, I have led a "Organic Poetry: Leaves, Love, and Lyrics in Renaissance England" (ENGL401), which met regularly in the university's Special Collections and a course on Shakespeare's Second Tetralogy called "Making History" (ENGL417). I also lead hands-on workshops on the history of papermaking, and I occasionally teach a community education course called "Shakespeare Out Loud."