Professor Sarah Knight

Sarah Knight 2015B.A. (Oxford), M.A. (Warburg Institute), Ph.D. (Yale)

Professor of Renaissance Literature

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Research Interests

Sarah Knight's academic background is in Classics and English. Her main interests are in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English and Latin literature, particularly works written at or about early modern institutions of learning (schools, universities, Inns of Court). Questions of why and how classical texts and ideas informed, animated and complicated Renaissance literature are central to her research and teaching.

Professor Knight is the editor and translator of several Latin works, including Leon Battista Alberti's prose satire Momus (1440s) for the I Tatti Renaissance Library (Harvard University Press) and the accounts of Elizabeth I's visits to the University of Oxford (1566 and 1592) for the new critical edition of John Nichols's Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth I (Oxford University Press). She is currently working on an edition and translation of John Milton's Prolusions, and two editions of English drama: Fulke Greville's plays Alaham and Mustapha; and the student play The New Moone, performed at the Venerable English College, Rome. The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin, which she co-edited with Prof. Dr. Stefan Tilg (Freiburg), was published last year.


With Dr. Hugh Adlington (Birmingham), she co-convenes the British Milton Seminar, which meets twice yearly. She is a former President of the Society for Neo-Latin Studies, and continues to oversee the online publication of a teaching anthology of neo-Latin texts. She sits on the Board of Advisors for the journal Renaissance Studies and is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. In 2014, Professor Knight was awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship to work on the Fulke Greville edition.

With Dr Mary Ann Lund, Professor Knight has worked for several years on the University's Richard III project. This collaboration has resulted in a jointly authored article for the Times Literary Supplement, and in several conference presentations, public talks, and schools visits. Since 2011, they have organised a rhetoric and performance workshop on Shakespeare's Richard III, held at Bosworth Heritage Site as part of the first-year Renaissance Drama module, in collaboration with two local theatre companies (1623 and Lostboys).

Postgraduate Supervision

Applications and enquiries are welcomed from prospective postgraduate students interested in Renaissance and early modern literature and culture, especially:

  • Drama and poetry
  • Comparative literature (English, French, Greek, Italian, Latin)
  • Educational institutions: schools, universities, Inns of Court
  • Translation and adaptation
  • The reception of classical texts and ideas


Teaching and Administration

MA: Professor Knight teaches on the MA in the Country House and on the MA in English Studies.

Administration: Her main administrative responsibilities have included: Director of Admissions (2007-8); Director of Syllabus Review (2009-12); Chair of the Learning and Teaching Committee (2009-12); School representative, College Academic Committee (2009-2012); Director of Teaching (2012-14); member of the School Management Group (2012-14). She is currently Convenor of the Student-Staff Consultative Committee.

Selected Publications

Latin Drama, Religion and Politics in Early Modern Europe. Special issue of Renaissance Studies 30.4 (2016), guest edited by Sarah Knight and Elizabeth Sandis.

'How the Young Man Should Study Latin Poetry: Neo-Latin Literature and Early Modern Education', in A Guide to Neo-Latin Literature, ed. by Victoria Moul (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017), pp. 52-65. ISBN 9781107029293.

'Neo-Latin Literature'. Oxford Bibliographies. British and Irish Literature. 2016.

'A fabulis ad veritatem: Latin Tragedy, Truth and Education in Early Modern England', in Politics and Aesthetics in European Baroque and Classicist Tragedy, ed. by Jan Bloemendal and Nigel Smith (Leiden: Brill, 2016), pp. 239-259. ISBN 9789004323421.

'Exact Latinity and Excellent English: Milton’s Early Poetry', in A New Companion to Milton, ed. by Thomas Corns (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), pp. 282-290. ISBN 9781118827826.

'Texts Presented to Elizabeth I on the University Progresses', in A Concise Companion to the Study of Manuscripts, Printed Books, and the Production of Early Modern Texts: A Festschrift for Gordon Campbell, ed. by Edward Jones (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015), pp. 21-40. ISBN  9781118635292.

The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin, ed. by Sarah Knight and Stefan Tilg (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). ISBN 9780199948178. Read more about Latin as a world language here

'University', in The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin, pp. 233-248.

John Nichols's The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth I: A New Edition of the Early Modern Sources. General Editors: Elizabeth Clarke, Elizabeth Goldring, Faith Eales, Jayne Elisabeth Archer; Associate General Editors: Gabriel Heaton, Sarah Knight (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). 5 volumes. ISBN 9780199205066. Awarded the 2015 MLA Prize for a Scholarly Edition and the 2015 Roland H. Bainton Book Prize for Reference by the Sixteenth Century Society.

(Co-written with Mary Ann Lund), 'Richard Crookback', Times Literary Supplement (February 8, 2013), pp. 14-15.

'Milton and the Idea of the University', in Young Milton: The Emerging Author, 1620-1642, ed. by Edward Jones (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 135-156. ISBN 9780199698707. Collection awarded the Irene Samuel Memorial Award from the Milton Society for 2013.

'Juvenes Ornatissimi: The Student Writing of George Herbert and John Milton', in Neo-Latin Poetry in the British Isles, ed. by Luke Houghton and Gesine Manuwald (London: Bloomsbury Academic/Bristol Classical Press, 2012), pp. 51-68. ISBN 9781780930145.

'The Niniversity at the Bankside: Robert Greene's Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay', in The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama, ed. by Thomas Betteridge and Greg Walker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 355-370. ISBN 9780199566471.

'Milton's Forced Themes', Milton Quarterly 45 (3) (October 2011), pp. 145-160.

'Flat dichotomists and learned men: Ramism in Elizabethan drama and satire', in Ramus, Pedagogy and the Liberal Arts, ed. by Steven J. Reid and Emma Annette Wilson (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 47-68. ISBN 9780754667940.

The Intellectual and Cultural World of the Early Modern Inns of Court, ed. by Jayne Elisabeth Archer, Elizabeth Golding and Sarah Knight (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011; paperback 2013). ISBN 9780719082368.

'Royal Milton', Times Literary Supplement (February 5, 2010), p. 15.

The Progresses, Pageants, and Entertainments of Queen Elizabeth I, ed. by Jayne Elisabeth Archer, Elizabeth Goldring, Sarah Knight (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007; paperback 2014). ISBN 9780199291571. Long-listed for the William MB Berger Prize for British Art History.

Leon Battista Alberti, Momus, trans. and co-ed. with Virginia Brown (I Tatti Renaissance Library No. 8) (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003). ISBN 0674007549.

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