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  • Miranda Wilson
    Associate Professor
    Associate Chair
    University of Delaware
    Department of English
    120 Memorial Hall
    Newark, DE 19716
    (302) 831-1970


    ​Miranda Wilson received her BA from Carleton College and her MA and PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Prior to her arrival at UD, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas – Arlington. 

    Dr. Wilson specializes in the literature and culture of the English Renaissance, with particular interests in the material intersections of technology, law, and medicine. Her current book project, Dark Works: Poisoning, Epistemology, and Doubt in Early Modern England, argues that by forcing new interpretations of physical objects and actions, depictions of poisoning and poisoners in the period call into question the means whereby individuals know and understand the world around. Along with her work on poisoning, Dr. Wilson has published on Margaret Cavendish’s use of architectural theories, horticultural grafting in Shakespeare, and Renaissance fantasies of bodily and temporal regulation.

    Professor Wilson’s research and teaching interests include material cultural, gender and sexuality studies, the history of science and medicine, and the distinctions between the inanimate and the animate in early modern England.


  • Ph.D., Renaissance Literature, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, 2003
  • M.A., English, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, 1996
  • B.A., English, Carleton College, 1990

Research Projects 


  • Poison’s Dark Works in Renaissance England
    Wilson, Miranda
    Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2013.

    Poison's Dark Works in Renaissance England considers the ways sixteenth- and seventeenth-century fears of poisoning prompt new models for understanding the world even as the fictive qualities of poisoning frustrate attempts at certainty. Whether English writers invoke literal poisons, as they do in so many revenge dramas, homicide cases, and medical documents, or whether poisoning appears more metaphorically, as it does in a host of theological, legal, philosophical, popular, and literary works, this particular, “invisible” weapon easily comes to embody the darkest elements of a more general English appetite for imagining the hidden correlations between the seen and the unseen.

    This book is an inherently interdisciplinary project. This book works from the premise that accounts of poisons and their operations in Renaissance texts are neither incidental nor purely sensational; rather, they do moral, political, and religious work which can best be assessed when we consider poisoning as part of the texture of Renaissance culture. Placing little known or less-studied texts (medical reports, legal accounts, or anonymous pamphlets) alongside those most familiar to scholars and the larger public (such as poetry by Edmund Spenser and plays by William Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton) allows us to appreciate the almost gravitational pull exerted by the notion of poison in the Renaissance. Considering a variety of texts, written for disparate audiences, and with diverse purposes, makes apparent the ways this crime functions as both a local problem to be solved and as an apt metaphor for the complications of epistemology.

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