Elizabeth B. Bearden
- Associate Professor
- 7147 Helen C. White Hall
- E-mail Elizabeth B. Bearden
- Early modern prose and poetry, Reception of Antiquity, Comparative Literature, formal and philosophical approaches to literary study, Disability Studies
Degrees and Institutions
Ph.D. (2006), Comparative Literature, NYU
A.B. (1998), Comparative Literature, Princeton
Bearden’s first book, The Emblematics of the Self: Ekphrasis and Identity in Renaissance Imitations of Greek Romance, was published by the University of Toronto Press in November 2011. She has published articles in PMLA and JEMCS and has work forthcoming in Ancient Narrative Supplementum. She has also directed a digital humanities project documenting the funeral of Sir Philip Sidney. Her next book project, tentatively titled Monstrous Kindes: Body, Space, and Narrative in Early Modern Literary Representations of Disability, considers formal and philosophical depictions of physical disability in early modern experimental literature.
Research and Teaching Interests
Bearden’s interests include early modern literature; the reception of antiquity; early modern genre debates; hermeneutics; Neolatin, Siglo de Oro and transatlantic literatures; translation studies; travel writing; the history of rhetoric; natural law, the beginnings of international human rights law, and Neostoic cosmopolitanism; the history of science and medicine; digital humanities; as well as theoretical approaches including New Formalism, narratology, New Historicism, visual culture studies, cultural studies, queer and gender studies, and New Philology. Bearden teaches a variety of grad and undergrad classes on early modern literature, rhetoric, the reception of antiquity, poetry and prose, word-image relations, and disability studies. She worked as an Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Maryland, College Park before joining the UW Madison English faculty in fall of 2011. She looks forward to teaching graduate seminars on the Sidney Circle, Ekphrasis: word and image from antiquity to the Renaissance; and disability in early modern literature. She also enjoys postmodern novels, science fiction and fantasy, the OuLiPo, cooking, fine wine, tandem cycling, Latin dancing, and Bolero, though she doesn’t claim to have expertise in these categories.
University of Toronto Press
The ancient Greek romances of Achilles Tatius and Heliodorus were widely imitated by early modern writers such as Miguel de Cervantes, Philip Sidney, and Mary Wroth. Like their Greek models, Renaissance romances used ekphrasis, or verbal descriptions of visual representation, as a tool for characterization. The Emblematics of the Self shows how the women, foreigners, and non-Christians of these tales reveal their identities and desires in their responses to the ‘verbal pictures’ of romance.