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Biography

I am Professor of English at York University in Toronto, Canada. I was born in Vancouver and raised in Toronto, where I attended the University of Toronto Schools. I received my B.A. in English and Religious Studies from the University of Toronto, M.Phil in Medieval English Studies from Oxford University, and Ph.D. in English from Stanford University. In 2003, I won the John Charles Polanyi Prize for Literature, and I have received research fellowships from Trinity College, Cambridge, Clare Hall, Cambridge, the Huntington Library, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. I am currently holding a SSHRC Insight Research Grant for my research on Renaissance girlhood, and recently received a Killam Research Fellowship from the Canada Council for the Arts, which will support two years of full-time research on this project. In November 2017, I was inducted to the Royal Society of Canada in the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Last August, I was a Alice Griffin Visiting Fellow in Shakespearean Studies at the University of Auckland. I am currently a Visiting Fellow at the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto.

My research focuses on Medieval and Renaissance literature, especially Shakespeare. I am the author of The French Fetish from Chaucer to Shakespeare (Cambridge, 2004), which won the Roland H. Bainton Prize for best book in literature from the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference. I am co-editor, with Ananya Jahanara Kabir, of Postcolonial Approaches to the European Middle Ages: Translating Cultures (Cambridge, 2005), co-editor, with Kaara Peterson, of The Afterlife of Ophelia (Palgrave, 2012). I have published scholarly articles on a wide range of topics, including Anglo-French literary relations, Shakespeare adaptations, the history of feminist scholarship, medievalisms, and the reception of classical and medieval literature in the Renaissance.

My current research is devoted to early modern girlhoods. Shakespeare and the Performance of Girlhood (Palgrave, 2014) was published in Palgrave’s Shakespeare Studies series. In 2015, I edited a special issue of the award-winning online journal Borrowers and Lenders: the Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation, on “Girls and Girlhood in Adaptations of Shakespeare,” and organized a colloquium on Anne Boleyn’s girlhood music book at the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies at the University of Toronto. I have recently published a new collection of articles, Childhood, Education, and the Stage in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2017), co-edited with Richard Preiss. Currently I am at work on a new book entitled Renaissance Girl Cultures.

Follow these links to learn more about my work:

A special journal issue on Girls and Girlhood in Adaptations of Shakespeare:

www.borrowers.uga.edu/1366/show

Colloquium on Anne Boleyn’s music book:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxhLs6cqarY

http://crrs.ca/event/anneboleyn/

A newspaper article:

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=12106699

Video interviews about my research on girlhood:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwIj3iBBAMo&t=13s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FM0CNMKHHes

Podcasts:

On Shakespeare and Girlhood:

https://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/girlhood

On Shakespeare’s Ophelia:

https://player.fm/series/shakespeares-shadows/ophelia-episode-8

On Shakespeare and France:

http://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited-episode-25

Radio Interview:

https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/2018658677/professor-deanne-williams-looking-for-shakespeare-s-girls