Arnaud Zimmern

Arnaud Zimmern


Areas of Interest 
Early Modern literature, medicine, science, and religion

PhD, English, University of Notre Dame (August 2020)

Southern Methodist University, B.A. in English, World Languages (French & German), and Mathematics (Pure)

Arnaud is an English Department Postdoctoral scholar who will be working for the Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship during AY 2020-2021.

As an early modernist, his primary research interests lie in literature, medicine, and science. His first book project The Cure of All: Panaceas and Progress from Shakespeare to Milton offers a first-ever literary history of panaceas, tracing a new understanding of the desire for universal remedies and the quest for immortality that drove 17th-century medical innovation. Before they ever became synonyms for fool’s errands and false utopias, panaceas were first literary devices and generic conventions, political metaphors and devotional tropes used to examine questions of sovereignty, both God’s, natures’, and humanity’s. Setting canonical works by Bacon, Shakespeare, Margaret Cavendish, and Milton side-by-side with the writings of alchemists, naturalists, and physicians, from Francis Anthony to Virginia Ferrar, from Jan Baptist van Helmont to Isaac Newton, the book recovers early modern literature’s forgotten but timely alternatives to the now predominant narrative of techno-therapeutic progress and the biomedical industry’s culture of bold promises.

Arnaud is a member of the executive committee of the John Donne Society and an active organizer for the International Margaret Cavendish Society. He has collaborated with the Women Writers Project's Intertextuality Networks Research Initiative and is currently a member of the International Network for Comparative Humanists. He helped co-found Notre Dame’s Early Modern Circle and organized “Employing Interdisciplinarity: Early Modern Legacies, Future Challenges.” His ongoing interdisciplinary digital projects include digitizing and annotating the unpublished manuscripts of the English polymath Thomas Harriot and mapping the global spread of William Harvey’s discovery of blood circulation.

Arnaud is concurrently a Research Fellow (2020-21) of the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine and a Responsible Innovation fellow (2020-21) with the ND Technology Ethics Center, where he works to identify socio-ethical risks and opportunities for biopharmaceutical start-ups.


Recent Scholarly Activity

Journal Articles

“Silkworms and Panaceas: Margaret Cavendish, Infinite Nature, and the Progress of Utopia,” English Literary History, forthcoming.

“Staging the Learned Lady: Dialogue and Interruption in Margaret Cavendish and Jean-Baptiste Molière,” Women Writers in Context, Women Writers Project, Northeastern University, forthcoming.

"Upright in the Void: When John Donne Arrives in Heaven," John Donne Journal 36, forthcoming.

"Pariah and Parvenu: Reading 'Cyclops' Two Ways with Hannah Arendt," James Joyce Quarterly 58.1, forthcoming.

"Bad Math and Poor Eyesight: Reconfiguring Dante’s Hellscape." Clarion Review (March 2014). Web.

 Book Chapters

"One-World Ambitions: Reading Donne's Globalism Otherwise Post-9/11," in Marginal Figures in the Global Middle Ages and Renaissance, edited by Meg Lota Brown, Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Press, forthcoming.


"The Digital Cavendish Project," Spenser Review 48.3.11 (Fall 2018)

Selected Presentations

“Precedents for Sovereign Prescription,” International Health Humanities Consortium Conference (Mar 2021)

“Things that Look Like Plague, Things that Feel Like Cures,” Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare in a Time of Plague, (Jul. 2020).

“Christ and Incurability in Donne and Milton,” The Milton Conference, Birmingham Alabama (2019).

“Incurables: What The Faerie Queene has to offer Sexaholics Anonymous,” Western Michigan University Medical Humanities Conference. Kalamazoo, Michigan (Sep. 2018).

 “John Donne and the Posture of Humanity,” Space, Place, and Image in Early Modern English Literature Conference, Lausanne, Switzerland (May 2017).

“Inexpressible Agony and Ecstasy: Wojtyla’s Love and Responsibility and Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde,” 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI (May 2016).

Braiding Red Riding Hood,” TEDxSMU. Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX (Spring 2014)