Frank L. Sulzberger Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus Department of English Divinity School
Richard Strier's scholarship brings together two modes of literary study that have traditionally been seen as antagonistic: formalism and historicism. He is interested in the intellectual history of the early modern period, especially theological and political ideas, but is interested not only in the ideas themselves but how they find their way into English and American literature in the period. His book, Love Known: Theology and Experience in George Herbert's Poetry, demonstrates how the central ideas of Reformation theology are at work in the intricate tonal and structural details of the lyrics. His most recent book, Resistant Structures: Particularity, Radicalism, and Renaissance Texts, brings together methodological and historical concerns. It critiques and tries to work free of various critical and historical schemes and presuppositions; it refuses to idealize “devout humanism,” and it refuses to see the thought-world of early modern England as fundamentally conservative and deferential to authority. Professor Strier works with Donne, Shakespeare, Herbert, Dickinson, Petrarch, Descartes, Cavell, T.S. Eliot and other poets and literary critical thinkers.