Susannah Monta


Glynn Family Honors Associate Professor of English

Specialty: Renaissance/Reformation literature

Degrees: B.A., B.S., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; M.A., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Susannah Monta's research focuses on the relationships between Reformation-era religious changes and literary culture. Her first book, Martyrdom and Literature in Early Modern England (Cambridge UP, 2005, hardback, and 2009, paperback; winner, Book of the Year award from the MLA-affiliated Conference on Christianity and Literature), studies the impact of competing Protestant and Catholic martyrologies on major (Shakespeare, Donne) and traditionally non-canonical (Southwell, Copley) authors. Her second book, Anthony Copley’s A Fig for Fortune: A Catholic Reads the Faerie Queene (Manchester UP, 2016), provides a study and scholarly edition of the first published response to Spenser's epic poem. Her current monograph project, Sacred Echoes: Repetitive Prayer in Reformation-Era Poetics, examines the devotional and aesthetic uses of repetition in early modern prayer, poetry, and rhetoric, arguing that contestations over repetitive devotions illuminate early modern understandings of the nature of authentic prayer, the boundaries and character of Catholicism, the recuperation or rejection of the religious past, and literary creativity itself.  With Earle Havens and Elizabeth Patton of Johns Hopkins University, she is currently finishing the first scholarly edition of the Lives of Philip and Anne Howard, Earl and Countess of Arundel. She is the co-editor (with Margaret W. Ferguson) of Teaching Early Modern English Prose (New York: Modern Language Association, 2010) and editor of two special issues of Religion and Literature; she served as editor of the journal from 2008 to 2015.  She has published articles on topics such as history plays, early modern women writers and patronesses, martyrology, hagiography, devotional poetry and prose, and providential narratives. Other research interests include early modern accounts of reported miracles.  Essays in progress include a co-authored article (with Thomas S. Freeman) on Foxe’s use of Prudentius and an article on psalm pastiche in the Reformation.  She currently serves as a co-editor of Spenser Studies and on the editorial board of British Catholic History (Cambridge University Press).

Selected Publications

  • “'A sweetness ready penn’d’?  English Religious Poetics in the Reformation Era,” forthcoming in the Blackwell Companion to Renaissance Poetry, ed. Catherine Bates (27 pp.)

  • “John Austin’s Devotions: Voicing lyric, voicing prayer,” forthcoming in Early Modern English Catholicism: Identity, Memory, and Counter-Reformation (Brill, 2017), ed. James E. Kelly and Susan Royal (28 pp.)

  • Anthony Copley’s A Fig for Fortune: A Catholic Reads the Faerie Queene (Manchester UP, 2016)

  • “Repetition,” in Cambridge Companion to Religion and Literature, ed. Susan Felch (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2016), 132-148

  • “Saints, Legends, Calendars,” in Spenser in Context, ed. Andrew Escobedo (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2016), 313-322

  • “Representing Martyrdom in Tudor England,” in The Oxford Handbook to Tudor Literature, online edition (published 2016), ed. James Simpson (30 pp.)

  • “’Oh, let that last will stand!’: Reading Religion in Donne’s Holy Sonnets,” in the Routledge Companion to Religion and Literature, ed. Mark Knight (Routledge, 2016), 389-399

  • “Religion, History, and Faithful Reading,” in Theology and Literature After Postmodernity, eds. Peter Hampson, Zoe Lehmann Infeld, and Alison Milbank (Bloomsbury: 2015), 15-33.

  • “Genre and the Joining of Literature and Religion: A Question of Kinds,” co-authored with Ann W. Astell, in Religion and Literature 46.2-3 (printed 2015 for 2014)

  • “Rendering unto Caesar: The Rhetorics of Divided Loyalties in Tudor England,” in Martyrdom and Terrorism, ed. Dominic Janes and Alex Houen (Oxford UP, 2014), 26pp.

  • “Foxe’s Prose,” co-authored with Thomas S. Freeman, in The Oxford Handbook to Early Modern English Prose, ed. Andrew Hadfield (Oxford UP, 2013), 522-543

  • “Foxe and Holinshed,” co-authored with Thomas S. Freeman, in The Oxford Handbook to Holinshed, eds. Ian Archer, Felicity Heale, and Paulina Kewes (Oxford UP, 2012), 217 -234

  • “Uncommon Prayer? Robert Southwell’s Short Rule for a Good Life and Catholic Domestic Devotion in Reformation England,” in Redrawing the Map of Early Modern English Catholicism, ed. Lowell Gallagher (University of Toronto Press, 2012), 232-257

  • “Ford Madox Ford’s The Fifth Queen and the Modernity of Henry VIII,” co-authored with Anthony Monta, in Henry VIII and History, eds. Thomas Betteridge and Thomas S. Freeman (Ashgate, 2012), 179-194

  • Henry VIII and Hampton Court,” Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare Appropriation 5:2 (published 2011 for fall/winter 2010), 1-11

  • “’It is requir’d you do awake your faith’: Belief in Shakespeare’s Theatre,” in Religion and Drama in Early Modern England, eds. Jane Hwang Degenhardt and Elizabeth Williamson (Ashgate, 2011), 115-138

  • “Anne Dacre Howard, Countess of Arundel, and Catholic Patronage,” in English Women, Religion, and Textual Production, 1500-1625, ed. Micheline White (Ashgate, 2011), 59-82

  • “Spenser, Wolfram, and the Reformation of Despair,” co-authored with Lisi Oliver, Journal of Literary Onomastics 1 (new series; 2011), 9-30



Honors and Awards

  • 2017: Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
  • Executive committee, Modern Language Association Literature and Religion Division (2010-2015)

  • 2014-2015: Fellow, Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study

  • 2011-2012: American Philosophical Society fellowship

  • 2010: American Council of Learned Societies fellowship

  • 2005: Book of the Year prize, Conference on Christianity and Literature


Contact Information
355 Decio Hall
(574) 631-7201

Postal address
Department of English
233 Decio Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556