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Kristen Poole's intellectual interests range widely across the early modern period (the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries). She is particularly interested in the history of religion/theology, the history of science and the intersection of the two. She also enjoys thinking about the history of history itself, and how people past and present have conceptualized time and historical movement. She explores these ideas through lots of different early modern texts—the plays and poetry of well-known authors like Shakespeare, Marlowe, Milton and Spenser, of course, but also lesser-known pamphleteers, theologians and natural philosophers.
She has explored these varied interests in her academic publications. She is the author Radical Religion from Shakespeare to Milton: Figures of Nonconformity in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and Supernatural Environments in Shakespeare's England: Spaces of Demonism, Divinity, and Drama (Cambridge University Press, 2011). She has co-edited several essay collections: with Thomas Fulton, The Bible on the Shakespearean Stage: Cultures of Interpretation in Reformation England (Cambridge University Press, 2018); with Lauren Shohet, Early Modern British Literature in Transition 1557-1623 (Volume 1 of Early Modern British Literature in Transition, Stephen B. Dobranski, General Editor) (Cambridge University Press, 2019); and with Owen Williams, Early Modern Histories of Time: The Periodizations of Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019). She has published extensively on early modern literature, and her essay “'With Such Joy Surcharg'd': The Predicament of Satiety in Patristic Theology and Paradise Lost," Milton Quarterly 49.1 (2015) received The James Holly Hanford Award from the Milton Society of America. Her research has been supported by the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Huntington Library, the Penn Humanities Forum and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Professor Poole is currently working on a book about Philip Pullman's trilogies His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust and their relationship with seventeenth-century science, language, and religion; this book is under contract with Oxford University Press. She is also the general editor of Routledge Resources Online—The Renaissance World, an extensive digital platform that is currently under construction, with an anticipated launch in 2023.
Her interest in theology, ranging from the very early church to modern times, has led Professor Poole to an interest in the ethics of climate change. She has published Christianity in a Time of Climate Change: To Give a Future with Hope (Wipf and Stock, 2020).
At the undergraduate level she has taught courses on Renaissance literature, Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth, early modern women writers, Milton, the history of “Shakespeare," and literary theory. She especially enjoys teaching undergraduates at the nexus of the digital and the historic archive. At the graduate level she has taught seminars ranging from the Renaissance culture of dissection to sixteenth-century theories of time to forms of allegory.
Kristen Poole received her B.A. from Carleton College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. She also holds a Master of Sacred Theology (STM) from the United Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia, specializing in historical theology.
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