Dr. Paul A. Marquis

Nicholson Tower
(902) 867-2169


  • Ph.D. (Queen's University)
  • M.A. (Queen's University)
  • B.A. Honours (Trent University)

Research Activities and Teaching Interests: Tudor Verse Anthologies; Sidney, Spenser, and Shakespeare, Isabella Whitney; Textual Editing; Developments in early modern science, music, math and poetry.

Current Activities: I have several projects on the go. One involves popular verse anthologies in the English Renaissance. Why were a few very popular and many not? Those that were popular were reprinted numerous times; those that were not, were never reprinted, or perhaps just once. When popular anthologies were reprinted, they were revised; poems were added, some omitted, and the sequences of verse were rearranged. The key to their popularity may have been in the way they were revised and rearranged, but this has never been fully examined. My working hypothesis is that in the redesign of the most popular works editors intensified the relations of the lyrics to the cultural context in which they emerged and to which they allude. When lyrics are placed in a sequence, the personalized voices of personae which readers are meant to overhear can acquire polyphonic intensity that resonates far beyond the particular text into the political and cultural community. Such is the case with popular verse anthologies in this period. It is no coincidence then that many of the editors of popular anthologies were musicians or composers, or simply printers who understood that poems could reach a greater audience if they could be accompanied by melodies which were circulating in song books in the period.

The political and cultural relevance of the lyrics, along with their musicality, would in part account for the success in the market place of Clement Robinson’s A Handful of Pleasant Delights (1566, 1575, 1584 and 1595), the title page of which proclaims that each poem in the compilation had been written to be sung to popular tunes of the day. Not so with Barnabe Googe’s Eglogs, epytaphes, and sonettes (1563), George Turbervile’s Epitaphes, epigrams, songs and sonnets (1566, 1570), Thomas Proctor’s A Gorgeous Gallery of Gallant Inventions (1578), and Nicholas Breton’s Bowre of Delights (1591, 1597). These anthologies remain the work of individuals bent on establishing their skill as poets and editors as a way to further their positions in court and society. The anthologies lack the centrifugal reach necessary to achieve popularity and success in the market place. Anthologists experimented with sequential design by arranging motifs in clusters of lyrics, which as a whole could orchestrate a chorus of human concerns ranging from the personal to the political. Richard Edwards’s A Paradise of Dainty Devices (1576, 1578, 1580, 1584, 1590, 1596, and 1600) and Francis Davison’s Poetical Rhapsody (1603, 1608, 1611, and 1621) are examples of two compilations whose revised sequential designs reflect an increased awareness of how politics and religion could provide the anthology with an increased social relevance. There was also the flourish of anthologizing around the turn of the 16 century in England, as Elizabeth grew more disaffected in her life, and the Essex became more of a concern. The popular anthologies published during that period reflect these anxieties. 

My second project involves the cross over between theories of textuality and those of science in the early 20th century. Since that time literary scholars have seen the activities involved in the analysis of texts as parallel to those occurring in the scientific laboratory. Each discipline functioned through a process of induction according to the principles of a Newtonian world order. With the rigorous examination of detail the bibliographer, for example, held that the observer could discover the genealogy of patterns and how they came to be what they were. Scientists in the laboratory were equally convinced that a study of the objective world would reveal the underlying plan of the natural world. Something happened when the quantum world was discovered at the turn of the 20th century. An objective, knowable, verifiable world seemed to give way to the random and irrational, which complicated the world of both the humanist and the scientist. I am interested in how scholars and textual critics respond to this situation, especially evident in commentaries on Shakespeare’s texts. How does the study of Shakespeare’s texts change in the 20th century? How are bibliographers and editors of his works influenced by the apparent crisis in the scientific world? Is there validity in the call for a new paradigm in textual studies or are we merely where we have always been, in a position of seeking knowledge in a world much larger than ourselves?

Courses taught:

  • ENGL 492 Selected Topics: Shakespeare and the Brain (2014-2015)
  • ENGL 445 Contemporary Literary Theory and Criticism
  • ENGL 397 Selected Topics: Romantic Poetry and the Science of Impulse (2016-2017)
  • ENGL 305 The Later Elizabethan Renaissance
  • ENGL 304 The Early Tudor and Elizabethan Renaissance
  • ENGL 239 Shakespeare's Later Works
  • ENGL 237 Shakespeare
  • ENGL 215 Principles and Practices of Literary Criticism
  • ENGL 100 Introduction to Literature and Critical Writing


Recent Publications


Richard Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes: The Elizabethan Version (Tempe, AZ.: Medieval and Renaissance Textual Studies for the Renaissance English Text Society). Introduction xv–lxx. Text (2007) pp. 1–314. 

Selected Articles 

“Printing History and Editorial Design in Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes” in Songes and Sonettes: Tottel’s Miscellany in Context (ed.) Richard Hamrick (Burlington, VT.: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 1-40. 

“Editing Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes: An Idea and its Fruition.” New Ways of Looking at Old Texts (Tempe, AZ.: Arizona Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Textual Studies or the Renaissance English Text Society), pp. 1-20. 

“Editing and Unediting Richard’s Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes.” The Book Collector, vol. 56, no. 3 (2007): 353-375. “Politics and Print: The Curious Revisions to Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes.” Studies in Philology Spring, 97.2. (2000): 145-164.