Professor Listing


Carolyn Sale, PhD Stanford

Associate Professor


English and Film Studies

About Me

I am an associate professor in the Department of English and Film Studies, where I teach courses in Shakespeare, early modern drama, and early modern women writers, including courses in Shakespeare and the law and Shakespeare and political theory. My most abiding intellectual interest is in how we use language — whether it be on the page, in conversation, in the theatre, or at law — to advance social goods. This spurs my abiding interest in Shakespeare's drama, which represents both bloody and comic contests to which both uses of language and notions of 'commonweal' are central. My research tends to focus on the ways in which the Shakespearean drama engages the language and ideas of law during a transformational period in the English common law.

Increasingly, my time and attention are also devoted to the question of how we shape the social institution of the university, and the role that the university (as a site of free expression) and the humanities in particular (as the disciplines to which the study of language is central) need to play in Canadian culture. 

I welcome working not only with graduate students dedicating themselves to the study of early modern English literature, but also those studying intersections of literature and law, theories of law, theories of play, and/or drama in any period.

I run a blog, ArtsSquared, to which any member of the Faculty of Arts is welcome to contribute.



I am completing the book manuscript "The Literary Commons: The Law and the Writer in Early Modern England 1528-1628," and have started work towards a second book manuscript, "Shakespeare's Common Law." My most recent publications include a chapter on Measure for Measure and the early modern common law in Shakespeare and Judgment (Edinburgh University Press, 2016) and an open access on Hamlet and conscience published by La Société Française Shakespeare in its online journal (vol. 33, 2015). Forthcoming work includes "The Laws of Comedy" in the Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean Comedy, and "The Literary Thing: Isabella Whitney's Sweet Nosgay (1573)" in the Oxford Handbook of English Law and Literature, 1500–1700

Earlier work includes my article on the Lady Arbella Stuart's involvement in an early seventeenth-century Star Chamber trial (based on a historical discovery I made during my doctoral work). That was published in ELH 70.4 (2003). For companion paces on Hamlet's engagement with early modern jurisprudence see my articles in The Law in Shakespeare (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and Shakespeare and the Law (Hart Publishing, 2009). "Black Aeneas: Race, English Literary History, and the 'Barbarous' Poetics of Titus Andronicus" was published by Shakespeare Quarterly in 2011.

You'll find my article on the academic freedom concerns provoked by the firing in 2014 of Robert Buckingham, then Dean of the School of Public Health at the University Saskatchewan, in the Journal of Historical Sociology 29.1 (2016).