Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson

PhD, McMaster University

Contact Information

Office: Watson 539
Office Hours: By appointment

Research Interests

16th- and 17th-century literature (drama, poetry, and prose), Shakespeare, literature and gender, women writers, feminist criticism, the body and the soul in literature, performance-based criticism, early modern religious discourse, early modern subjectivity, early modern rhetoric, scholarly editing.


  • Staging Women and the Soul-Body Dynamic in Early Modern England (Ashgate, forthcoming 2014).
  • “The Female Body as Soul in Queen Anna’s Masques,” SEL Studies in English Literature 1500–1900 53.2 (2013): 357–77.
  • Review of “Katherine Larson: Early Modern Women in Conversation,” Early Theatre 16.1 (2013): 189–93.
  • “ ‘A Spirit to Resist’ and Female Eloquence in The Tamer Tamed,” Shakespeare 7.3 (2011): 309–24.
  • “ ‘Away, Stand off, I Say’: Women’s Appropriations of Restraint and Constraint in The Birth of Merlin and The Devil Is an Ass,” Early Modern Literary Studies 15.1 (2009): 30 paragraphs.
  • “Female Bodies, Speech, and Silence in The Witch of Edmonton,” Early Theatre 12.1 (2009): 69–91.
  • “Rachel and Juliet,” play review, Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation 4.2 (2009): 12 paragraphs.
  • Five entries: “Anger, Jane,” “Ladies-in-Waiting,” “Masque,” “Whitney, Isabella,” and “Women,” Encyclopedia of Tudor England, ed. John A. Wagner and Susan Walters Schmid, 3 vols (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2012), 1: 20–2, 2: 681–2, 2: 745–7, 3: 1168–70, 3: 1187–9.


My forthcoming book, Staging Women, explores how early modern conceptualizations of the soul-body relationship influenced dramatic portrayals of women. Emerging from this work, my current research examines shifting literary depictions of “pride” (from chief cardinal sin to positive forms of self-confidence and assertion) as this concept intersects with gender in the English Renaissance. Both projects share a sense that the particular inflections of gender they trace resonate, perhaps insidiously, in our own cultural moment. I am also working on a co-edited essay collection that reassesses Renaissance ideas and literary treatments of the soul, and since March 2011 I have served as Assistant Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Early Theatre.