Leah Knight

Associate Professor

PhD, Queen’s University

Office: GLA 137
905 688 5550  x5379
lknight@brocku.ca

I study early modern English poetry, prose, and the culture they emerge from, with special interests in the literary and cultural history of books, writing, and reading in Renaissance England.

I am the author of two award-winning monographs, Of Books and Botany in Early Modern England: Sixteenth-Century Plants and Print Culture (2009) and Reading Green in Early Modern England (2014). Each explores different aspects of the historically-specific intersections between the green world and textual culture in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

My more recent research, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, contributes to the history of reading and early modern women’s cultural studies. This work began with an investigation of the wide range of evidence for the reading materials, habits, and experiences associated with Anne Clifford (1590-1676). It has since led me to co-edit, with Micheline White (Carleton) and Elizabeth Sauer (Brock), a collection of related scholarly essays, Women’s Bookscapes in Early Modern Britain: Reading, Ownership, Circulation (University of Michigan Press, 2018). I am also developing a web site (in progress), Fragments of a Renaissance Reader: Text Lives of Early Modern Women, which will represent the reading experiences of Anne Clifford and contemporary female readers.

My interest in women’s textual interventions in early modern England has also led me to the long-neglected manuscript verse of Hester Pulter (1605-1678). I am currently editing her poems with Wendy Wall (Northwestern) as part of The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making. The web site associated with this project — launched in 2018 and selected as that year’s best project in digital scholarship, new media, or art on women and gender by the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender — encompasses a still-proliferating array of representations of Pulter’s lyrics and emblems, including photographic facsimiles, transcriptions of the manuscript pages, and multiple kinds of editions produced by a growing global team of collaborators, as well as exhibits of contextualizing verbal and visual materials about this poet, her poems, and her world. The site was awarded the 2020 Modern Language Association Prize for Collaborative, Bibliographical, or Archival Scholarship (for projects published in 2018 and 2019).

I would be pleased to discuss supervision of undergraduate and graduate students with interests in related aspects of early modern English literature and textual culture.

The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, with Wendy Wall (launched 2018; expansion ongoing in 2021).

  • Winner of the 2020 MLA Prize for Collaborative, Bibliographical, or Archival Scholarship (for projects published in 2018 and 2019)
  • Awarded Best Project in Digital Scholarship, New Media, or Art on Women and Gender prize, 2019, by the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender
  • Nominated for 2019 Digital Humanities Awards (Best Use of DH for Data Visualization)

Leah Knight, “Digital Editions, or Handmade Tales: Remembering What Counts in Early Modern Women’s Manuscripts,” Palgrave Encyclopaedia of Early Modern Women’s Writing in English, gen. ed. Rosalind Smith and Patricia Pender (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).

Leah Knight, “Hester Pulter’s Marriage: Facts and Fiction” (2020), Exploration in The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, edited by Leah Knight and Wendy Wall (2018).

Leah Knight, “Lark Mirrors” (2019), Curation for Poems 46 and 81 in The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, edited by Leah Knight and Wendy Wall (2018).

Women’s Bookscapes in Early Modern Britain: Ownership, Circulation, Reading, ed. Leah Knight, Elizabeth Sauer, and Micheline White (University of Michigan Press, 2018).

“Reading Proof: Or, Problems and Possibilities in the Text Life of Anne Clifford,” in Women’s Bookscapes in Early Modern Britain: Reading, Ownership, Circulation, ed. Leah Knight, Elizabeth Sauer, and Micheline White (University of Michigan Press, 2018), pp. 253-73.

“Anne Clifford.” Private Libraries in Renaissance England: A Collection and Catalogue of Tudor and Early Stuart Book-Lists, gen. ed. R. J. Fehrenbach, vol. ed. Joseph L. Black (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2017), pp. 347-63.

“Margaret Clifford.” Private Libraries in Renaissance England: A Collection and Catalogue of Tudor and Early Stuart Book-Lists, gen. ed. R. J. Fehrenbach, vol. ed. Joseph L. Black. (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2017), pp. 157-61.

“Reading Across Borders:
The Case of Anne Clifford’s ‘Popish’ Books,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, vol. 25, no. 2 (2015): pp. 27-56.

Reading Green in Early Modern England. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2014.

  • Awarded British Society for Literature and Science Book Prize, 2015
  • Nominated for European Association for the History of Medicine and Health Prize, 2015

Of Books and Botany in Early Modern England: Sixteenth-Century Plants and Print Culture. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2009.

  • Awarded British Society for Literature and Science Book Prize, 2010