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Stephen Dobranski

Distinguished Professor

Ph.D., University of Texas


Milton, Renaissance Literature,
Textual Studies


Dr. Dobranski teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in John Milton, early modern literature, and textual studies as well as introductory courses in British and world literature. His primary goal as an instructor is to help students think more critically by analyzing the subtlety and complexity of literary works within their cultural and historical contexts. Students can discover a poem or play’s multiple implications through slow, deliberate analysis of its metaphors, material form, and meter. Relying on discussion—usually as a class but also in small groups—Dr. Dobranski challenges students to arrive at their own interpretations and to support their readings with carefully selected textual details.

Dr. Dobranski is the author of Readers and Authorship in Early Modern England (2005), winner of the SAMLA Studies Award; Milton, Authorship, and the Book Trade (1999); and A Variorum Commentary on the Poems of John Milton: “Samson Agonistes” (2009), winner of the John T. Shawcross Award. He also co-edited Milton and Heresy (1998) and edited Milton in Context  (2010), both winners of the Irene Samuel Memorial Award. He has received both a Pforzheimer Fellowship from the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center and a Seminar Fellowship to the Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies. Most recently, he completed The Cambridge Introduction to Milton (2012). His articles on early modern literature have appeared in various multi-authored collections as well as ELRMilton QuarterlyMilton StudiesModern Philology, PMLA, RESThe Seventeenth Century, and SEL.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Dr. Dobranski is a die-hard Phillies, Springsteen, and Washington football fan.  He lives with his brilliant wife Shannon and their amazing daughter Audrey.
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Political Turmoil: Early Modern British Literature in Transition, 1623-1660. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. Editor.

Milton’s Visual Imagination: Imagery in “Paradise Lost.” Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

The Cambridge Introduction to John Milton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Published simultaneously in hardback and paperback.

Milton in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Editor.

A Variorum Commentary on the Poems of John Milton: “Samson Agonistes.” Intro. Archie Burnett.  Ed. Paul Klemp.  Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2009.

Readers and Authorship in Early Modern England.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Reprinted in a paperback edition, 2009.

Milton, Authorship, and the Book Trade.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Reprinted in paperback edition, 2008.

Milton and Heresy.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Co-editor John Rumrich. Reprinted in a paperback edition, 2009.


“Clustering and Curling Locks: The Matter of Hair in Paradise Lost.” PMLA 125 (2010): 337-53.

“What Fielding Doesn’t Say in Tom Jones.” Modern Philology 107 (2010): 632-53.

“Recent Studies in the English Renaissance.”  SEL: Studies in English Literature 49 (Winter 2009): 197-280.

“The Birth of the Author: The Origins of Early Modern Printed Authority.”  In Authority Matters: Rethinking the Theory and Practice of Authorship.  Ed. Stephen Donovan, Danuta Fjellestad, and Rolf Lundén.  Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2008.  23-45.

“Editing Milton: The Case Against Modernisation.”  The Review of English Studies 59 (2008): 392-408.

“Simmons’s Shell Game: The Six Title Pages of Paradise Lost.”  In “Paradise Lost: A Poem Written in Ten Books: Essays on the 1667 First Edition. Ed. Michael Lieb and John T. Shawcross.  Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2007.  57-78, 240-44.

“Milton and Textual Studies: Teaching ‘On Shakespeare’ as a Work in Progress.”  InApproaches to Teaching Milton’s Shorter Poetry and Prose.  Ed. Peter Herman. New York: Modern Language Association, 2007.  54-61.

“Seizures, Free Will, and Hand-Holding in Paradise Lost.”  In Milton, Rights, and Liberties.  Ed. Christophe Tournu and Neil Forsyth.  Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, 2007.  269-82.

“Pondering Satan’s Shield in Milton’s Paradise Lost.”  English Literary Renaissance 35 (Autumn 2005): 490-506.

“Milton’s Ideal Readers.”  In Milton’s Legacy.  Ed. Kristin A. Pruitt and Charles W. Durham.  Selinsgrove, PA: Susquehanna University Press, 2005.  191-207.

“Text and Context for Paradise Regain’d and Samson Agonistes.”  In Altering Eyes: New Perspectives on “Samson Agonistes.”  Ed. Joseph Wittreich and Mark R. Kelley.  Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2002.  30-53.

“Jonson’s Poetry Lost.”  English Literary Renaissance 30 (Winter 2000): 77-94.

“Burghley’s Emblem and the Heart of Milton’s Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio.” Milton Quarterly 34 (May 2000): 33-48.

“Milton’s Social Life.”  In The Cambridge Companion to Milton.  2nd ed.  Ed. Dennis Danielson.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.  1-24.

“Children of the Mind: Miscarried Narratives in Much Ado about Nothing.”  SEL: Studies in English Literature 38 (Spring 1998): 233-50.  Reprinted in Vol. 55 of Shakespearean Criticism.  Ed. Michelle Lee.  Detroit: Gale, 2000.  268-76.

“Licensing Milton’s Heresy.”  In Milton and Heresy.  Ed. Stephen B. Dobranski and John Rumrich.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.  139-58.

“Samson and the Omissa.”  SEL: Studies in English Literature 36 (Winter 1996): 149-69.

“Letter and Spirit in Milton’s Areopagitica.”  Milton Studies 32 (1995): 131-52.

“‘Where Men of Differing Judgements Croud’: Milton and the Culture of the Coffee Houses.”  The Seventeenth Century 9 (Spring 1994): 35-56.