Office: Faner, Room 2280
Patrick McGrath’s current work is located at the intersection of the aesthetic and religious turns in the humanities. He is particularly interested in the impact of the Reformation on literary aesthetics; and, more largely, the formal responsiveness of literature to cultural change, crisis, and climates. His book project, Renouncing Sex and the Self: Asceticism in Early Modern England, recovers a cultural and literary history of asceticism after the English Reformation, after the institutional moorings of asceticism (e.g. monasteries, clerical celibacy) had been dislodged. It argues for the construction of a series of analogies whereby the ascetic relationship between body and soul influences literature’s negotiation of form and content, literal and figurative, sign and signified. His project demonstrates the significance of this aesthetics of asceticism to the writings of Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Marvell, and Bunyan. In addition to these authors, Professor McGrath’s research and teaching interests include Marlowe, drama and performance studies, Caroline literature, women writers, and modern aesthetic theory. His work has appeared in Milton Quarterly, Prose Studies, The Andrew Marvell Newsletter, and Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatre Research. With Regina Schwartz, he is editing a collection of essays on sacramental poetics that includes contributions from literary scholars, theologians, and philosophers.