Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson
Associate Professor
Massey 323 (SSC31, 2018-2019)
(613) 541-6000
(613) 541-6405
Department of English

College Address

Royal Military College of Canada
PO Box 17000, Station Forces
Kingston, Ontario, CANADA
K7K 7B4


I received my PhD and MA degrees from McMaster University, and my BA from the University of Ottawa. Before coming to RMC, I held a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Queen's University, where I researched shifting meanings of "pride" (from chief cardinal sin to self-confidence and assertion) as this concept intersects with understandings of gender in the English Renaissance. This research emerged from my first book project on dramatic representations of women and the soul-body dynamic in the seventeenth century. Both projects share a sense that the particular inflections of gender they examine resonate, perhaps insidiously, in our own cultural moment. My current book project investigating martial identities and gender in early modern drama is supported by a SSHRC Insight Development grant. I am also working on representations of women in plays by John Fletcher, who was Shakespeare’s successor as playwright for the King’s Men. Since 2014 I have served as associate editor of the peer-reviewed journal Early Theatre.


Renaissance and medieval literature; Shakespeare; Fletcher; gender; women writers; feminist criticism; performance-based criticism


  • “Pride and Gender in Fletcher’s Bonduca.” Modern Philology 115.1 (2017): 80-104.
  • Review, “Donovan Sherman: Second Death: Theatricalities of the Soul in Shakespeare’s Drama.” Renaissance Quarterly 70.3 (2017): 1224-5.
  • The Three Ladies of [Sixteenth-Century] London in Twenty-First-Century Hamilton. Performance as Research in Early English Theatre Studies: The Three Ladies of London in Context. (2015).
  • Staging Women and the Soul-Body Dynamic in Early Modern England. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2014.
  • "The Female Body as Soul in Queen Anna's Masques." SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 53.2 (2013): 357-77.
  • Review of "Katherine Larson: Early Modern Women in Conversation." Early Theatre 16.1 (2013). 189-93.
  • "'A Spirit to Resist' and Female Eloquence in The Tamer Tamed." Shakespeare 7.3 (2011): 309-24.
  • "'Away, Stand off, I Say': Women's Appropriations of Restraint and Constraint in The Birth of Merlin and The Devil Is an Ass." Early Modern Literary Studies 15.1 (2009): 30 paragraphs.
  • "Female Bodies, Speech, and Silence in The Witch of Edmonton." Early Theatre 12.1 (2009): 69-91.
  • Play Review, "Rachel and Juliet." Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation 4.2 (2009): 12 paragraphs.
  • Five entries: "Anger, Jane," "Ladies-in-Waiting," "Masque," "Whitney, Isabella," and "Women" in the Encyclopedia of Tudor England. 3 vols. Ed. John A. Wagner and Susan Walters Schmid. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2012. 1.20-2, 2.681-2, 2.745-7, 3.1168-70, 3.1187-9.

Brief Teaching Philosophy

Some familiar metaphors about writing in the Renaissance liken texts to mirrors, feasts, contracts, and nosegays (bouquets). These ways of thinking about a text fit with some of my aims in the classroom: to examine what a text reveals about ourselves and our society, and conversely what we project onto it; to approach texts collaboratively and with an appetite, as well as with an expectation for development and growth; to consider what demands a text might make on us as readers, and what it means to read and write responsibly; and to cultivate our capacity to appreciate and take pleasure in texts as works of art.


  • ENE 100/110: Introduction to Literary Studies and University Writing Skills
  • ENE 210: Reading the Contemporary World
  • ENE 303: Studies in English Renaissance Literature I
  • ENE 317: Studies in Medieval Literature I
  • ENE 319: Studies in Medieval Literature II
  • ENE 427: Studies in Shakespeare I
  • ENE 429: Studies in Shakespeare II
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