Melissa Walter
PhD (University of Wisconsin)

After teaching English at the high school level for four years, I began going to graduate school, first at a summer master’s degree program (The Bread Loaf School of English), and then at the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin. I spent a fellowship year in England, at the University of Warwick, researching and writing my dissertation, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Ph. D. in English (Renaissance Literature) in 2004. Before coming to UFV, I taught at Arizona State University, the University of Oregon, and Campion College at the University of Regina.

I am interested in cultural exchange and translation in literature, and in how literary and dramatic form engages with cultural issues. My research focuses on Renaissance drama and prose fiction. I’m especially interested in how English prose writers and dramatists (especially Shakespeare) used the formal strategies, plots, and imagery of French and Italian short stories (called novellas), such as the stories in Boccaccio’s Decameron and the Heptameron of Marguerite de Navarre. These stories got my attention because they are witty and funny, and also because they are often about how apparently disempowered characters can actually get what they want and win out. Shakespeare drew on the clever female characters in these stories when he was creating his comic heroines. In addition to my focus in Renaissance literature, I’m also interested in literature and the environment, medieval drama, all kinds of poetry, the evolving and ever-enriched English language, and the teaching of Shakespeare and other literature at the high school level.

I am a member of Theater Without Borders, a research collaborative studying early modern theatre and drama in a comparative and transnational perspective.

Teaching Philosophy
When you study writing and literature you are participating in a huge, diverse set of conversations about vital social, cultural, personal, and philosophical issues. You are in these conversations not only with the people in your class but also with all the writers who have thought about these issues before and have published books about their ideas. You are helping to extend, shape, and redirect these conversations.

The key, I think, is for you to make connections between the literature we are studying and your experiences, perspectives, and knowledge. When you do that, you not only learn something but you also help to create new knowledge and to enrich these big conversations we are engaged in. I am here to assist you by sharing my knowledge of Renaissance literature, the discipline of English, and of the writing of prose. I do that with lectures that set the stage for meaningful discussion, and with assignments that provide structures that help you to develop your thoughts and skills. I am also available to work individually with you on research and writing projects.

Selected Publications
"Translation and identity in the Dialogues in the English and Malaiane Languages." Indographies. Jonathan G Harris, ed. UK: Palgrave, 2012.

"Secret Interiors." The Duchess of Malfi. Christina Luckyj, ed. UK: Continuum, 2011. With Curtis Perry.

"Dramatic Bodies and Novellesque Spaces in Jacobean Tragedy and Tragicomedy." Transnational and Transcultural Exchange in Early Modern Drama: Theater Crossing Borders. Robert Henke and Eric Nichols, eds. London: Ashgate, 2008

"Drinking from Skulls and the Politics of Incorporation in Early Stuart Drama." At the Table: Metaphorical and Material Cultures of Food in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Juliann Vitullo and Timothy Tomasik, eds. Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance 18. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2007. 93-105

"Constructing Readers and Reading Communities: Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron 32 in England." Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme 27.1 (2003) 35-59.

Phone: 604-504-7441 x4490
Office: B372 Abbotsford

updated July 2012

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