Caryn O'Connell


Graduation Year: 


Dissertation Title: 

"Vegetal Life from Bacon to Milton: Incarnate Science"


  • "Milton's Earthbound Bodies: Genesis, Physics, Aesthetics," Milton Studies 58 (2017).
  • “Genius London,” in Tensions in Renaissance Cities: March 27th to June 9th 2017, University of Chicago Library, Special Collections Research Center (Chicago: University of Chicago Library, 2017), 39-47.
  • "Bacon's Hints: The Sylva Sylvarum's Intimate Science," Studies in Philology 113, no. 3 (2016) 634-667.
  • “Mapping a Brook in Premodern Law and Hamlet” in Mapping the Premodern: Selected Proceedings of the Newberry Library Center for Renaissance Studies Twenty-Sixth Graduate Student Conference, ed. Karen Christianson (Chicago: The Newberry Library, 2008), 29-37.


My scholarship focuses on early modern literature and the history of science, medicine, and technology. I am additionally interested in book history, media studies, environmental humanities, health humanities, and urban planning. At bottom, my work is energized by a commitment to public engagement. I take my research and my teaching as occasions for entering into broad conversations about matters of ongoing and immediate concern. At Chicago, I have had the pleasure of teaching a wide range of courses, from introductory courses in literature and philosophy to special topics courses on ideas about nature and biological life in the Renaissance. Recent lectureships include Paradise and Parks: Art, Science, Politics and Media Aesthetics: Image, Text, Sound. My awards and honors include the Milton Society of America's Albert C. Labriola award, the Francis X. Kinahan Award for Excellence in Teaching Writing, a Nicholson Center Graduate Travel Fellowship, the Evan Frankel Dissertation Fellowship, and an Italian Cultural Institute Scholarship. I hold an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Boston University and a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.