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Paul Zajac
  • Associate Professor of English

Paul Zajac

Contact Prof. Zajac

Though it may seem odd for someone who has spent his adult life studying English Renaissance literature, I didn’t read much growing up. I certainly didn’t spend much time reading the classics that I was supposed to appreciate at that age. Even so, I was obsessed with *stories.* I would pore over their every detail in television shows, movies, comics, and games. I re-told these stories to anyone who would listen, and I wrote my own as imitations.

When I was pressured to read novels or short stories, I favored works about characters and worlds that I had already encountered in other media. Well before the Marvel Cinematic Universe took popular culture by storm, I was interested in the connections between works, and in long-term narrative arcs that could only be developed with time and care. This interest eventually (and unexpectedly) fostered a passion for early period literature. I was fascinated by how Shakespeare’s retelling of English history spanned multiple plays, which nevertheless held up as self-contained dramatic texts. I enjoyed tracing the adventures of Arthurian knights across medieval and Renaissance works. Finally, I fell in love with sprawling English epics and their larger-than-life heroes. My path has helped me draw connections from sixteenth and seventeenth century literature to contemporary concerns and culture, which has shaped my teaching on the Hill.


Ph.D. and M.A., The Pennsylvania State University
B.A. in English, Loyola University Maryland

Research Interests

  • Shakespeare

  • Spenser

  • Milton

  • English Renaissance drama and poetry

  • Literature and religion

  • The history of emotions

  • Literature and popular culture

Recent Courses

  • FYS 1232: Shakespeare's Game of Thrones

  • ENG 2231: Renaissance and Revolution

  • ENG 2265: Frenemies of Shakespeare

Selected Publications

  • Distant Bedfellows: Shakespearean Struggles of Intimacy in Winterson's The Gap of Time. Critique 59.3 (2018): 332-45

  • Containing Petrarch with Pastoral: Spenser's Allegory of Literary Modes in Faerie Queene VI. Philological Quarterly 95.2 (Spring 2016): 201-226.

  • The Politics of Contentment: The Passions, Pastoral, and Community in Shakespeare's As You Like It. Studies in Philology 113.2 (2016): 306-336.

  • Suckling's Fragmenta Aurea and the Construction of Cavalier Authorship. Studies in English Literature 55.1 (Winter 2015): 125-249.

  • Reading through the Fog: Perception, the Passions, and Poetry in Spenser's Bower of Bliss. English Literary Renaissance 43.2 (June 2013): 211-238.

Clubs and community involvement

  • Faculty Advisor, McDaniel Free Press

  • Faculty Sponsor, McDaniel chapter of English Honor Society

  • Organizer of McDaniel's Annual "Shakespeare in the Square" Celebration

Paul Zajac

Contact Prof. Zajac