Reid Barbour

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Gillian T. Cell Distinguished Term Professor of English & Comp Literature (3225)

446 Greenlaw Hall
Campus Box 3520
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3520
919-962-0773 (phone)



B.A. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1982
M.A. University of Rochester, 1984
Ph.D. University of Rochester, 1988

Curriculum Vitae

Research And Teaching Interests

Reid Barbour is currently co-editing Sir Thomas Browne’s Religio Medici for the Oxford edition of his complete works (with Brooke Conti) and he is completing a biography of Sir Thomas Browne. His most recent book is John Selden: Measures of the Holy Commonwealth in Seventeenth-Century England (University of Toronto Press, 2003).  He is also the author of Literature and Religious Culture in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge University Press, 2002), English Epicures and Stoics: Ancient Legacies in Early Stuart Culture(University of Massachusetts Press, 1998) and Deciphering Elizabethan Fiction(1993). Dr. Barbour is the co-editor (with Claire Preston) of a volume of essays on Sir Thomas Browne, The World Proposed (Oxford University Press, 2009); and with David Norbrook of The Complete Works of Lucy Hutchinson, volume one: The Lucretius Translation (Oxford University Press, 2011).


An intellectual biography of Sir Thomas Browne (MS currently 1300 pages; under review at Oxford University Press)

An essay on the classical backgrounds of early modern discursive and philosophical poetry and prose, in The Oxford History of Classical Relations with English Literature, ed. Philip Hardie and Patrick Cheney (Oxford University Press)

Courses Offered (As Schedule Allows)

For current course listings, consult the Directory of Classes.


Graduate Seminar: Approaches to Renaissance Literature

Pro-seminar: Into the archives

Graduate Seminar: the transmission of ancient philosophy in the Renaissance

Graduate Seminar: faith, science, and imagination in the Renaissance

Graduate Seminar: Literature and Culture of the English Civil War

Graduate Seminar: The Age of Charles I

Pro-seminar: introduction to early modern studies

Graduate Seminar: Milton

Graduate Seminar: Seventeenth-Century Literature


Milton (English 230)

Seventeenth-Century Literature (English 228)

Shakespeare (English 225)

Introduction to British Literature, Medieval and Renaissance (English 120)

Unitas: a course in race & ethnicity;

First Year Composition.



Religio Medici, ed. with Brooke Conti, volume one of the Oxford University Press Edition of the Works of Sir Thomas Browne, forthcoming.

The Works of Lucy Hutchinson IV: The Lucretius Translation, ed. with David Norbrook, Oxford University Press, 2011. 778pp. 

The World Proposed: Essays on Sir Thomas Browne, ed. Reid Barbour and Claire Preston, Oxford University Press, 2008.  368pp.

John Selden: Measures of the Holy Commonwealth in Seventeenth-Century England, University of Toronto Press, 2003.  417pp.

Literature and Religious Culture in Seventeenth-Century England, Cambridge University Press, 2001.  282pp.

English Epicures and Stoics: Classical Legacies in Early Stuart Culture,Massachusetts Studies in Early Modern Culture, University of Massachusetts Press, 1998.  312pp.

Deciphering Elizabethan Fiction, University of Delaware Press, 1993. 175pp. (chapter 2, “Greene Discovering,” reprinted in Robert Greene, ed. Kirk Melnikoff [Ashgate, 2011]


“Anonymous Lucretius,” Bodleian Library Record 23 (2010): 105-11.

“Dean Wren’s Religio Medici: Reading in Civil War England,” Huntington Library Quarterly 73 (2010): 263-72.

“Thomas Browne, A Letter to a Friend, and the Semiotics of Disease,”Renaissance Studies 24 (2010): 407-19.

“Monsters, Atheists and Jews: Weeds and Tares in the Garden of Thomas Browne’s Padova, 1632,” in Writing and Religion in England, 1558-1689: Studies in Community-Making and Cultural Memory, ed. Roger Sell and Anthony Johnson (Ashgate Press, 2009), 327-46.

“Thomas Browne and the Hieroglyphics of Skin,” in World Proposed (seeBooks), 2008, 279-85.

“Introduction,” in World Proposed (see Books), co-authored with Claire Preston, 2008, 1-10.

“Discipline and Praxis: Thomas Browne in Leiden,” in Contexts for the Study of Sir Thomas Browne, ed. Richard Todd and Kathryn Murphy (Brill, 2008), 15-47.

“The Subject of Sir Thomas Browne’s Dissertation,” Notes & Queries 252 (Winter 2007), 38-9.

“Moral and Political Philosophy: Readings of Lucretius from Virgil to Voltaire,”Cambridge Companion to Lucretius, ed. Stuart Gillespie and Philip Hardie (Cambridge UP, 2007), 149-66.

“Charity, Halifax, and Utopia: The Disadvantageous Setting of Thomas Browne’s Religio Medici,” Renaissance Papers (2007), 1-17.

“Bacon, Atomism and Imposture: The True and the Useful in History, Myth and Theory,” in Francis Bacon, ed. Julie Solomon and Catherine Martin (Ashgate, 2005), pp. 17-43.

“Recent Studies in Early Modern Literary Republicanism,” English Literary Renaissance, 34 (2004), 387-417.

“George Peele,” in the New Dictionary of Literary Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004)

“Barnabe Riche,” Tudor England: An Encyclopedia, ed. Arthur F. Kinney (Garland, 2001), 602-3.

“Thomas Deloney,” Tudor England: An Encyclopedia, ed. Arthur F. Kinney (Garland, 2001), 184-85.

“The Caroline Church Heroic: The Reconstruction of Epic Religion in Three Seventeenth-Century Communities,” Renaissance Quarterly 50 (Autumn 1997), 771-818.

“Lucy Hutchinson, Atomism, and the Atheist Dog,” in Women, Science and Medicine 1500-1700, ed. Lynette Hunter and Sarah Hutton (Alan Sutton, 1997), 122-37.

“Recent Studies of Prose Fiction, 1603-1660, Including Sidney’s Arcadia,”English Literary Renaissance, 26 (1996), 167-97.

“Thomas Nashe,” Dictionary of Literary Biography 167 (1996), 142-59.

“Recent Studies in Elizabethan Prose Fiction,” English Literary Renaissance 25 (1995), 248-76.

“Between Atoms and the Spirit: Lucy Hutchinson’s Translation of Lucretius,”Renaissance Papers (1994), 1-16.  (reprinted in Mihoko Suzuki, ed., Anne Clifford and Lucy Hutchinson [Ashgate, 2009], 333-48).

“Thomas Stanley,” Dictionary of Literary Biography 131 (1993), 258-71.

“The Early Stuart Epicure,” English Literary Renaissance 23 (1993), 170-200.

“Remarkable Ingratitude: Bacon, Democritus, Prometheus,” Studies in English Literature 32 (1992), 72-90. (Reprinted by the Gale Group.)

“Liturgy and Dreams in 17th-Century England,” Modern Philology 88 (1991), 227-42.

“Recent Studies in John Ford,” English Literary Renaissance 21 (1991), 102-17.

“John Ford and Resolve,” Studies in Philology 86 (1989), 341-66.

“Wee, of th’adult’rate mixture not complaine’: Thomas Carew and Poetic Hybridity,” John Donne Journal 7 (1988), 91-113.


Review of Nandini Das, Renaissance Romance: The Transformation of English Prose Fiction, 1570-1620, forthcoming in Renaissance Quarterly

Review of Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern; and Alison Brown, The Return of Lucretius to Renaissance Florence, forthcoming in Philological Quarterly

Review of David Hopkins, Conversing with Antiquity: English Poets and the Classics from Shakespeare to Pope, forthcoming in International Journal of the Classical Tradition

Review of  David Rollison, A Commonwealth of the People: Popular Politics and England’s Social Revolution, 1066-1649, forthcoming in the American Historical Review

Review of G Toomer, John Selden: A Life in Scholarship, in Milton Quarterly 45 (2011): 135-38

Review of Jason P. Rosenblatt, Renaissance England’s Chief Rabbi: John Selden, in Journal of British Studies 46 (2007): 153-55.

Review of Claire Preston, Thomas Browne and the Writing of Early Modern Science; and Elizabeth Spiller, Science, Reading and Renaissance Literature, inMinerva 44 (2006): 112-17.

Review of Christopher Celenza, The Lost Renaissance, in Renaissance Studies(2005): 26-29.

Review of Ramie Targoff, Common Prayer: The Language of Public Devotion in Early Modern England, in Shakespeare Studies 31 (2003): 307-12.

Review of Paul J. Voss, Elizabethan News Pamphlets: Shakespeare, Spenser, Marlowe and the Birth of Journalism, in The Sixteenth-Century Journal 34 (2003): 215-16.

Review of Karl Enenkel, et al., ed., Recreating Ancient History: Episodes from the Greek and Roman Past in the Arts and Literature of the Early Modern Period, in The Sixteenth-Century Journal 33 (2002): 484-85.

Review of Graham Rees, ed., The Oxford Francis Bacon, XIII: The Great Instauration, Last WritingsThe Sixteenth-Century Journal 32 (2001): 827-29.

Review of Michael Kiernan, ed., The Oxford Francis Bacon, IV: The Advancement of Learning, in The Sixteenth-Century Journal 32 (2001): 511-12.

Review of Maryanne Cline Horowitz, Seeds of Virtue and Knowledge, inRenaissance Studies 14 (2000): 385-88.

Review of John Rogers, The Matter of Revolution: Science, Poetry, and Politics in the Age of Milton, in 1650-1859: Ideas, Aesthetics and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era 5 (2000): 339-43.

Review of Arthur F. Kinney, ed., Classical, Renaissance and Postmodernist Acts of the Imagination, in Shakespeare Quarterly 49 (1998): 230-32.

Review of Margaret Peterson, Wallace Stevens and the Idealist Tradition, inThe Wallace Stevens Journal 8 (1984): 118-19.