John Wesley

John WesleyAssociate Professor and Associate Chair, English

BA, University of British Columbia, 2003
PhD, University of St Andrews, 2008

John Wesley’s primary area of research and teaching is early modern English literature, with secondary specializations in the histories of rhetoric and the English language. He teaches courses on Shakespeare, Milton, the Bible as literature, and the history of the English language, as well as first-year seminars in the Honors Program.

His research focuses on the intersection of classical rhetorical delivery and early modern performance, language, and education: A recent article, “Original Gesture: Hand Eloquence on the Early Modern Stage” (Shakespeare Bulletin, 2017), argues that Shakespeare’s actors capitalized on the inherent polyvalence of any one gesture, and that this is observable in illustrations found in the Longleat manuscript and John Bulwer’s treatise on natural and rhetorical gesture, Chirologia…Chironomia. His other published work includes essays on how rhetorical delivery altered early modern perceptions of the English language (Renaissance Quarterly, 2015); the inseparability of performance and interpretation in the sermons of Lancelot Andrewes (Renaissance Studies, 2009); the relationship between athletics and rhetoric in Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene (Review of English Studies, 2009); and the influence of rhetorical delivery on early modern orthography (Oral Tradition, 2009). He is currently at work on a critical edition of Richard Mulcaster’s Elementarie, and an essay on Thomas Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy.

Professor Wesley earned his BA in Honors English from the University of British Columbia, and a PhD from the University of St Andrews, where he studied as a Commonwealth Scholar. Prior to taking up a position at Puget Sound, he was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto.