Professor Sarah Knight

Sarah Knight 2015Professor of Renaissance Literature

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2631



Personal details

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

My academic background is in Classics and English, and my 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 my research and teaching.

I have edited and translated 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).

I am currently working on an edition and translation of John Milton's student Latin speeches, the Prolusiones; an edition of Fulke Greville's plays Alaham and Mustapha; and an edition of the student play The New Moone, performed at the Venerable English College, Rome. I co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin with Prof. Dr. Stefan Tilg (Freiburg), which was published in 2015.


My 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)
  • Director of Student-Staff Committees (2015-)
  • Member of the School Management Committee (2016-)
  • Member of the School Athena SWAN Committee (2016-)
  • Co-Director of Studies for Modern Languages and French Section Co-ordinator (2017)
  • Chair of the Staffing Group (2017-)


MA: I teach on the MA in the Country House and on the MA in English Studies.



The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin, ed. by Sarah Knight and Stefan Tilg (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). ISBN 9780199948178.

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 vols. 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.

For the Nichols edition, I edited and/or translated the following sections: Queen Elizabeth's Visit to the University of Oxford, 1566 (vol. 1, pp. 466-672); Accounts of Dinners Held for the Court of Exchequer at Westminster Hall, 1573-1574 (vol. 2, pp. 94-125); Baron Łaski’s Visit to the University of Oxford, 1583 (vol. 3, pp. 168-180); and Queen Elizabeth's Second Visit to the University of Oxford, 1592 (vol. 3, pp. 622-679).

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

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

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

Articles and book chapters

'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, 2017), pp. 52-65. ISBN 9781107029293.

‘Enriching the Judgement: Fulke Greville and Didactic Drama’, Parergon 33.3 (2016), pp. 145-160. Special issue: Poetry, the Arts of Discourse and the Discourse of the Arts: Rethinking Early Modern Poetic Theory and Practice, guest edited by Zenón Luis-Martínez, Attila Kiss and Sonia Hernández Santano.

'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.

'University', in The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin, ed. by Sarah Knight and Stefan Tilg, pp. 233-248 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).

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

'"Et spes et ratio studiorum in Caesare tantum": Robert Burton and patronage', in The Early Modern Cultures of Neo-Latin Drama, ed. by Philip Ford and Andrew Taylor, Supplementa Humanistica Lovaniensia XXXII (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2013), pp. 175-188. ISBN 9789058679260.

'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.

'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. 145-60.

'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.

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

'Milton's Student Verses of 1629', Notes and Queries, Vol. 255 No. 1 (March 2010), pp. 37-39.

'"Goodlie anticke apparrell?": Sophocles’ Ajax at early modern Oxford and Cambridge', Shakespeare Studies 37 (September 2009), pp. 25-42.

‘Fantastical Distempers: The Psychopathology of Early Modern Scholars’, in Early Modern Academic Drama, ed. by Jonathan Walker and Paul D. Streufert (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), pp. 129-152. ISBN 9780754664642.

'"It was not mine intent to prostitute my Muse in English": Academic Publication in Early Modern England', in Print and Power in France and England, 1500-1800, ed. by David Adams and Adrian Armstrong (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), pp. 39-52. ISBN 0754655911.

'"He is indeed a kind of Scholler-Mountebank": Academic Liars in Jacobean Satire', in Shell Games: Studies in Scams, Frauds, and Deceits (1300-1650), ed. by Mark Crane, Richard Raiswell, Margaret Reeves (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies Publications, 2004), pp. 59-80. ISBN 0772720231.

Other 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.

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

'John Day', 'Nicholas Grimald', 'William Horman', 'Robert Whittington' in The Encyclopaedia of English Renaissance Literature, ed. by Garrett A. Sullivan Jr. and Alan Stewart (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). ISBN 9781405194495.

Queen Elizabeth’s Book of Oxford, ed. by Louise Durning, translated by Sarah Knight (Latin) and Helen Spurling (Hebrew) (Oxford: Bodleian Library Publications/Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006). ISBN 9781851243150.

Europa Triumphans: Court and Civic Festivals in Early Modern Europe. General Editors: J.R. Mulryne, Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly, Margaret Shewring; Associate General Editors: Elizabeth Goldring, Sarah Knight (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004). 2 vols. ISBN 9780754638735.

'Thomas Farnaby', 'Barten Holyday', 'Michael Maittaire' in The Dictionary of British Classicists, 1500-1960, General Editor: Robert B. Todd (Bristol: Thoemmes/Continuum Press, 2004). ISBN 1855069970.

I have written reviews for Cahiers Élisabéthains, The Canadian Journal of History, The Classical Review, Milton Quarterly, Neo-Latin News, ReformationRenaissance Journal, The Review of English Studies, The Journal of British Cinema and Television and the Times Literary Supplement.


With Dr. Hugh Adlington (Birmingham), I co-convene the British Milton Seminar, which meets twice yearly. I am a former President of the Society for Neo-Latin Studies, and continue to oversee the online publication of a teaching anthology of neo-Latin texts. I am a member of the Centre for Translation and Interpreting Studies at Leicester.

I sit on the Board of Advisors for the journal Renaissance Studies and am a member of the AHRC Peer Review College and of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Neo-Latin Studies. In 2014, I was a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow.

With Dr Mary Ann Lund, I have worked for several years on the University's Richard III project. Since 2011, Dr Lund and I have organised a rhetoric and performance workshop on Shakespeare's Richard III as part of the first-year Renaissance Drama module, in collaboration with two local theatre companies (1623 and Lostboys).


I welcome applications and enquiries 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

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