Arnaud Zimmern

Arnaud Zimmern


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

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

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

Arnaud is an English Department Postdoctoral scholar who will be working for the Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship during AY 2020-2021. His projects include digitizing John Keats’ facsimile copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio and mapping the rise of anatomical and chemical experimentation in early modern Europe with Prof. Evan Ragland. Arnaud is also a Responsible Innovation fellow with the Center for Technology Ethics.

As an early modernist, his primary research interests lie in the literary and narrative dimensions of medical thought and practice. His dissertation Promising Panaceas in Early Modern English Literature offers a first-ever literary history of panaceas, or universal remedies, in the 17th century. It shows that panaceas became literary devices, generic conventions, and devotional tropes before they ever became synonyms for fool’s errands and metaphors for false utopias. Setting canonical works by Bacon, Shakespeare, Margaret Cavendish, and Milton side-by-side with the writings of alchemists, naturalists, physicians, and scientists including Francis Anthony, Virginia Ferrar, Samuel Hartlib, Jan Baptist van Helmont, and Everard Maynwaring, it examines how writers imagined and articulated bold therapeutic promises and how they challenged narratives of medical progress.

Arnaud is an active collaborator on the Women Writers Project's Intertextuality Networks Research Initiative. His research reveals intertextualities between the plays of Margaret Cavendish and those of Jean-Baptiste Molière, especially in their depictions of learned women. As a co-founder of the Notre Dame Early Modern Circle, he helped organize “Employing Interdisciplinarity: Early Modern Legacies, Future Challenges.” He is a member of the executive committee of the John Donne Society and an organizing member of the International Margaret Cavendish Society.

Recent Scholarly Activity

Journal Articles

“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, Brepols, forthcoming.


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

Selected Presentations

Chair and Organizer with Ivana Bicak and Claire Preston: “Medical Verse Satire,” Scientiae, Amsterdam (June 2021).

“Christ and Incurability in Donne and Milton,” Renaissance Society of America, Dublin (Apr. 2021).

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

“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)