Associate Professor of English
Joel B. Davis was reared in Wyoming, does his research in some of the great libraries of the world (the Bodleian, the British Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Huntington Library), and spends his free time outdoors. Most recently he has published "The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia and the Invention of English Literature" with Palgrave Macmillan. His book brings vivdly to life the variety, the quirkiness, and the behind-the-scenes conflicts at the center of the publishing business in Shakespeare's London, and it recovers for us the most important secular book of literature printed in English in the 16th century.
- Ph.D., English, University of Oregon
- M.A., English, University of Wyoming
- B.A., English, University of Puget Sound
People sometimes ask me, "who is this Philip Sidney guy you write about?" And I have to say: Philip Sidney is the paragon of the Elizabethan Age, that's who. Though Sidney lived only 32 years, he changed the course of English literature and a lot more. His unfinished "Arcadia" is an epic romance and rhetorical tour de force unmatched in any language and was the most popular work of secular literature in English for nearly two centuries after its publication in 1590. His sonnet sequence, "Astrophil and Stella," started the Elizabethan sonnet craze and is arguably the greatest sequence in English ("Shake-speares Sonnets" come nowhere near the formal variety and intricate design of Sidney's sequence). And Sidney's "Defence of Poesy" is the first full-bodied statement of literary aesthetics in English, a fascinating ethics of writing, and a subtle, urbane, witty rhetorical paradox. If anything, Sidney was more admired on the Continent than in England. The Dutch revere him to this day for all he did in their revolt against Spanish rule: he died of wounds suffered in a raid on Spanish supply lines outside Zutphen. Everybody should read some Sidney -- he's nourishment for the soul.
- Women Writers of the Renaissance
- Poetry and Poetics
- Renaissance Literature
- Vengeance and Paranoia
- Reading Lyric
- Introduction to Film
- Writing and Rhetoric
- College Writing
- Does Civilization Make us Crazy?
- "The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia and the Invention of English Literature," (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
- "'Thus I restless rest in Spayne': Engaging Empire in the Poetry of Sir Thomas Wyatt and Garcilaso de la Vega," Studies in Philology 107.4 (2010): 493-519.
- "Multiple Arcadias and the Literary Quarrel between the Countess of Pembroke and Fulke Greville." In Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke, Ashgate Critical Essays on Women Writers in England 1500-1700 series, vol. 2. Ed. Margaret P. Hannay. Ashgate: 2009, pp. 285-14. Reprinted from Studies in Philology 101 (2004): 401-429.
- "Paulina's Paint and the Dialectic of Masculine Desire in the Metamorphoses, Pandosto, and The Winter's Tale." In Shakespearean Criticism. Ed. Michelle Lee. Vol. 101. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Literature Resource Center. Reprinted from Papers on Language and Literature 39 (2003): 115-143.