Nigel Smith

William and Annie S. Paton Foundation Professor of Ancient and Modern Literature; Professor of English

Nigel Smith, Chair

(609) 258–4064


61 McCosh Hall


Nigel Smith is currently Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Books and Media at Princeton, to which he came from the University of Oxford, England, in 1999. He has published mostly on early modern literature, especially the seventeenth century; his work is interdisciplinary by inclination and training.

His interests have included poetry; poetic theory; the social role of literature; literature, politics and religion; literature and visual art; heresy and heterodoxy; radical literature; early prose fiction; women’s writing; journalism; censorship; the early modern public sphere; travel; the history of linguistic ideas. The authors he has covered include Shakespeare, Jonson, Donne, Herbert, Milton, Marvell, Hobbes, Margaret Cavendish, Katherine Philips.  His major works are Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon (Yale UP, 2010; pbk 2012), a TLS ‘Book of the Year’ for 2010, Is Milton better than Shakespeare? (Harvard UP, 2008), the Longman Annotated English Poets edition of Andrew Marvell’s Poems (2003, pbk 2007), a TLS ‘Book of the Year’ for 2003, Literature and Revolution in England, 1640-1660 (Yale UP, 1994) and Perfection Proclaimed: Language and Literature in English Radical Religion 1640-1660 (Oxford UP, 1989). He has also edited the Journal of George Fox (1998), and the Ranter pamphlets (1983; revised edn. 2013), and co-edited with Nicholas McDowell the Oxford Handbook to Milton (Oxford UP, 2009, pbk 2011). [paragraph]

New work, The State and Literary Production in Early Modern Europe, involves the comparison of English with literatures in other European (especially Dutch, German, French and Spanish) and some oriental vernaculars in the context of political and scientific transformation between 1500 and 1800. With Sara Poor he is editing Mysticism and Reform (Notre Dame UP), a collection of essays mapping the passage of mysticism from the medieval to the early modern worlds. [paragraph] He is also writing a study of the relationship between words and music, which grows in part from his work with Rackett (2004-2010), which he founded with Paul Muldoon, and Wayside Shrines, a new collaboration with Muldoon, Chris Harford, Ila Couch, Noriko Manabe, Tim Chaston and Ray Kubian.  See and FaceBook  for details of recordings, upcoming concerts and other information.

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