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headshot of John Kuhn

John Kuhn

Assistant Professor

English, General Literature and Rhetoric


Kuhn's research focuses on seventeenth-century Anglophone literature and culture, broadly defined. He is at work on a monograph, tentatively entitled Making Pagans: Theatrical Practice and Comparative Religion in Early Modern England, which examines the connections between the theatrical staging of "pagan" rituals, both Amerindian and ancient, and the developing study of comparative religion in seventeenth-century England. This is based on his dissertation, which won an Honorable Mention for the J. Leeds Barroll dissertation prize from the Shakespeare Association of America in 2017. A portion has recently appeared in Early Theatre (2017).

Kuhn also has an abiding interest in the poetry of George Herbert and its political and generic contexts. He has published on the links between Herbert's poetry, English colonial expansion, and millenarianism (in the edited collection Prophecy and Eschatology in the Atlantic World, 2016); his poetry's relationship to the poverty crisis in Caroline Wiltshire (ELR, 2017); and his place in the tradition of the neo-Latin miniature epic (with Lindsay Gibson, Humanistica Lovaniensia, 2018). He is currently at work on a fourth piece, on Herbert's lyric and early seventeenth-century epitaphic forms.

In addition to these projects, Kuhn is working on two smaller items: a cultural and material history of the hammock's first centuries in Europe and a piece on the ubiquitous trope of death by "broken heart" in seventeenth-century drama.

In 2019-2020, Kuhn will be on leave, as a long-term fellow at the Folger Library in Washington, DC.


  • PhD,Columbia University
  • BA, University of Kansas (summa cum laude)

Research Interests

  • 16th- and 17th-century English literature and history

Teaching Interests

  • Drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries
  • Seventeenth-century poetry
  • Literature and history of early European expansion into the Atlantic