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Brendan Prawdzik

Brendan Prawdzik

Assistant Teaching Professor of English
310 Burrowes Building
Mailroom: 430 Burrowes Building

Mailroom: 430 Burrowes Building

Brendan Prawdzik

Spring 2024 Office Hours

Curriculum Vitae


PhD, University of California-Berkeley, 2009
BA, Rutgers University, 2001
Roberta Holloway Postdoctoral Fellow (poetics), University of California-Berkeley, 2010-11
Ahmanson-Getty Postdoctoral Fellow (theology and media), UCLA, 2009-10
Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar, The University of St. Andrews, 2001-02

Professional Bio

Dr. Prawdzik specializes in early modern English literature and culture. His research explores relationships between poetic language and matter in historical perspective. Aspects of this interest include affect theory, history of the emotions, phenomenology, and the rhetoric of gesture. Prawdzik also considers the influence of emergent capitalism on landscape, perception, aesthetics, and consciousness. His research examines poetry, prose, and drama; political and religious texts; popular print culture; and visual culture.

He has published a book and several articles on the seventeenth-century poet, John Milton, author of Paradise Lost (1667).

His book, Theatrical Milton: Politics and Poetics of the Staged Body (Edinburgh University Press, 2017) explores the presence of theatrical rhetoric and structures in Milton and early modern culture. The paperback is now available (December 2018).

It demonstrates how Milton reflected aesthetically upon the body as an ethical vehicle. Through aa career-long interest in theater and its connections with rhetorical, political, and religious cultures.

Reviews of Theatrical Milton have appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, Renaissance Quarterly, Milton Quarterly, and Marvell Studies.

His article,"Inverted Catharsis in John Milton's Samson Agonistes" appears in Closet Drama: History, Theory, and Genre, ed. Catherine Burroughs (Routledge: 2018).

His article, "Naked Writhing Flesh: Rhetorical Authority, Theatrical Recursion, and Milton's Poetics of the Viewed Body" appears in With Wandering Steps: Generative Ambiguity in Milton's Poetics.

His article, "'Look on Me': Theater, Gender, and Poetic Identity-Formation in Milton's Maske," appeared in Studies in Philology (2013).

He has also published research on the poet Andrew Marvell.

His article, "Hunting the Hunter: Fowling and Interpretive Entrapment in Upon Appleton House," appears in the current issue of Marvell Studies.

His article, "Greenwashing Marvell," appears in special issue of Marvell Studies focused on "Theoretical Approaches to Andrew Marvell," 4.1 (2019).

His article, "'Til Eyes and Tears Be the Same Things: Marvell's Spirituality and the Senses of History," was awarded the Albert W. Fields Award for the most accomplished article published in Explorations in Renaissance Culture in 2015.

He has also just published the guide, Andrew Marvell: Poet, Polemicist, Politician, for the Gale Researcher (2018).

He is writing a second book, titled, A Time to Weep: Early Anthropocene Poetics, 1633-1688. This project considers how a politically and religiously diverse range of early modern authors responded to historical loss by turning to material systems that traverse "nature" and "culture." It explores a seventeenth-century catastrophe, which, unlike the earlier concept of a "general seventeenth-century crisis," understands the structural, geographical, aesthetic, and material abstractions that attend emergent industrial capitalist economics as formative of the modern experience; moreover, it establishes clear continuities between early modern and early anthropocene culture and consciousness. Can early modernity be rethought as early Anthropocene?

The book locates aesthetics at the center of history, poetics at the center of literature.

As a teacher, Prawdzik helps students to craft writing into an enabling vehicle of professional communication and thought. He trains students to examine language closely and to cultivate sensitivity to meanings generated through nuances of diction, syntax, and punctuation. He teaches not only literary history and genre, but also the ways that poetic structures derive meaning from cultural and historical contexts. He believes that the value of literary studies inheres in literature's unique capacity to synthesize and to put into conversation diverse discourses.

Prawdzik has taught at the University of California-Berkeley, The University of the Pacific, and Christian Brothers University. He has been at Penn State since Fall, 2015.

In the summer, he teaches courses in China on art history, English literature, public speaking, and advanced college writing: at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (June 2019) and at Beijing Jiaotong University (July 2019, 2020), through the AUIA program.

Prawdzik is President of and Webmaster for the South Central Renaissance Conference, an exceptionally rich conference of international scope, regional comfort, and conviviality.