Regular Faculty Member

Dr. Gary Kuchar

Dr. Gary Kuchar

Dr. Gary Kuchar specializes in English Renaissance literature.

His primary research area is seventeenth-century religious poetry and prose. He is particularly interested in the relations among literature, religion, and society in post-reformation England.

Secondary areas of research include intellectual history; Shakespeare and religion; literary/critical theory, especially psychoanalysis; phenomenology; and hermeneutics.

Professor Kuchar was a keynote lecturer at the Pacific Northwest Renaissance Society (Spokane, 2011) and a plenary speaker at the Shakespeare Association of America (Washington D.C., 2009). He has also given invited lectures at the Canada Milton Seminar (Toronto, 2014), The Clark Library (Los Angeles, 2007) and The Canadian Mennonite University (Winnipeg, 2012). He has contributed to the Broadview Anthology of British Literature 2nd ed. (2010) and the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Renaissance Literature (2012).

Dr. Kuchar is currently writing a book that is tentatively titled George Herbert and The Mystery of The Word: Poetry, Prayer, and Discovery in Seventeenth-Century England

Selected Awards: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Grants and Fellowships (Doctoral, Post-Doctoral, Faculty); Canadian Association of Graduate Studies and University Microfilm Distinguished Dissertation Award (2003); Humanities Faculty Research Award (2010).

Undergraduate Courses Taught Include: 365 Seventeenth-Century Poetry and Prose; 369 John Milton; 366B Shakespeare: Histories and Tragedies; 366C Shakespeare: Comedies, Problem Plays and Romances; 392 John Donne.

Graduate Courses Include: 530 Poetry and Religion in Seventeenth-Century England; 520 Literature and Catholicism in Early Modern England; 530 Prayer and the Literary Imagination in Early Modern England; 530 Poetry, Drama, and Religion in Post-Reformation England.

Dr. Kuchar welcomes inquiries from prospective graduate students interested in working on early modern literature.

As the Department's Graduate Program Advisor, Dr. Kuchar encourages applications from prospective students interested in joining the Department's outstanding graduate programs.

Selected Faculty Publications

The Poetry of Religious Sorrow in Early Modern England

Cambridge University Press, 2008.

In early modern England, religious sorrow was seen as a form of spiritual dialogue between the soul and God, expressing how divine grace operates at the level of human emotion. Through close readings of both Protestant and Catholic poetry, Kuchar explains how the discourses of "devout melancholy" helped generate some of the most engaging religious verse of the period. From Robert Southwell to John Milton, from Aemilia Lanyer to John Donne, the language of "holy mourning" informed how poets represented the most intimate and enigmatic aspects of faith as lived experience. In turn, "holy mourning" served as a way of registering some of the most pressing theological issues of the day. By tracing poetic representations of religious sorrow from Crashaw's devotional verse to Shakespeare's weeping kings, Kuchar expands our understanding of the interconnections between poetry, theology, and emotion in post-Reformation England.

Purchase Here


Divine Subjection: The Rhetoric of Sacramental Devotion in Early Modern England

Duquesne University Press, 2005.

Combining theoretically engaged analyses with historically contextualized close readings, Divine Subjection posits new ways of understanding the relations between devotional literature and post-reformation English culture. Shifting the critical discussion from a "poetics" to a "rhetoric" of devotion, Kuchar considers how a broad range of devotional and meta-devotional texts in Catholic and mainstream Protestant traditions register and seek to mitigate processes of desacralization -- the loss of legible commerce between heavenly and earthly orders. This shift in critical focus makes clear the extent to which early modern devotional writing engages with some of the period's most decisive theological conflicts and metaphysical crises.


The Return of Theory in Early Modern English Studies Vol 2. eds. P. Cefalu, G. Kuchar, B. Reynolds.

Palgrave, 2014.

Scholars and students interested in the use of current critical theories will find this collection of original essays indispensable. A companion volume to The Return of Theory in Early Modern English Studies: Tarrying with the Subjunctive, the essays in this volume are organized into four categories: posthumanism, ecocriticism, historical phenomenology, and historicism now. Original essays by leading early modern scholars not only provide valuable insights into leading theoretical interventions, but also provide close readings of key early modern texts, including Shakespearean drama, the work of Philip Sidney, George Herbert and John Donne, John Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, Margaret Cavendish's The Blazing-World, and the early modern reception of Empedocles in the work of Marlowe's Tamburlaine and others.


Exegesis and Experience in Herbert and Calvin: A Review Essay of Daniel W. Doerksen Picturing Religious Experience: George Herbert, Calvin, and the Scriptures (Newark: Delaware UP, 2011). George Herbert Journal 34.1-2 2010/11. 119-136.


Robert Southwell. Blackwell Encyclopedia of English Renaissance Literature eds. Garrett A. Sullivan Jr. et al. (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).


Sounding The Temple: George Herbert and the Mystery of Hearkening in Poetry and Religion: Figures of the Sacred . eds. Ineke Bockting, Jennifer Kilgore-Caradec, and Cathy Parc. Peter Lang: 2013.


Alchemy, Repentance, and Recusant Allegory in Robert Southwell's St. Peters Complaint in Redrawing the Map of Early Modern English Catholicism ed. Lowell Gallagher. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012.


A Greek in The Temple: Pseudo-Dionysius and Negative Theology in Richard Crashaw's 'Hymn in the Glorious Epiphany.' Studies in Philology. Spring 108.2 (2011).


Love's Best Habit: Eros, Agape, and the Psychotheology of Shakespeare's Sonnets. Renaissance Literature and the Return to Theory. eds. Paul Cefalu and Bryan Reynolds. New York: Palgrave, 2011.


Ceremony and the Politics of Decorum in Titus Andronicus. Shakespeare and Religion: Historical and Post-Modern Perspectives. eds. Ken Jackson and Arthur Marotti. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2011.


Prayer Terminable and Interminable: George Herbert and the Art of Estrangement. Religion and Literature. Forum on Poetry and Devotion ed. Hannibal Hammlin.42.3 (2010): 132-143.


Ecstatic Donne: Conscience, Sin, and Surprise in the Sermons and the Mitcham Letters. Criticism. Fall 50.4 (2008). Reprinted in John Donne and the Metaphysical Poets ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 2010.


Gender and Recusant Melancholia in Robert Southwell's Mary Magdalene's Funeral Tears in Catholic Culture in Early Modern England. eds. Ronald Corthell, Frances E. Dolan, Christopher Highley, and Arthur F. Marotti. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2007.


Petrarchism and Repentance in John Donne's Holy Sonnets. Modern Philology. February 105.3 (2008).


Andrew Marvell's Anamorphic Tears. Studies in Philology. Spring 103.3 (2006).


Aemilia Lanyer and the Virgin's Swoon: Theology and Iconography in Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum. English Literary Renaissance. 37.1 (2007).


Embodiment and Representation in John Donne's Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions. Prose Studies. 24.2 August (2001).


Traherne's Specters: Self-Consciousness and Its Others in Re-Reading Thomas Traherne. ed. Jacob Blevins. Renaissance and Medieval Texts Series: Arizona State University Press, 2007.


Rhetoric, Anxiety, and the Pleasure of Cuckoldry in the drama of Ben Jonson and Thomas Middleton. Journal of Narrative Theory. 31.1 (2001).


Henry Constable and the Question of Catholic Poetics: Affective Piety and Erotic Identification in the Spirituall Sonnettes" Philological Quarterly. 85.2 (2006).


Henry James and the Phenomenal Reader: Consciousness and the Variation of Style in The Wings of the Dove. Henry James Review 21.2 2000, 170-185. Reprinted in The Wings of the Dove, A Norton Critical Edition. Eds. J. Donald Crowley and Richard A. Hocks. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2003. 548-561.


Typology and the Language of Concern in the Work of Northrop Frye. Canadian Review of Comparative Literature. 27.1-2 (2000).