Kevin Killeen, "The Unknowable in Early Modern Thought: Natural Philosophy and the Poetics of the Ineffable" (Stanford UP, 2023)


Today’s guest is Kevin Killeen whose new monograph, The Unknowable in Early Modern Thought: Natural Philosophy and the Poetics of the Ineffable, has just been published by Stanford University Press. This monograph gathers together a range of early modern sources including the mystic Jacob Boehme, the poet and radical John Milton, the writer and royalist Margaret Cavendish, and the prophet Anna Trapnel. Taken together, these chapter offer a vibrant picture of literary culture’s engagements (sometimes critical, sometimes appreciative) of that which can’t quite be understood by the mind, language, or theology.

Kevin Killeen is Professor of English at the University of York. His previous books are the monograph, The Political Bible in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press, 2017), and the Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, c. 1530-1700 (2015), co-edited with Helen Smith and Rachel Judith Willie. Kevin also is the editor of the journal Renaissance Studies.

John Yargo is Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Boston College. He earned a PhD in English literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, specializing in the environmental humanities and early modern culture. In 2023, his dissertation won the J. Leeds Barroll Prize, given by the Shakespeare Association of America. His peer-reviewed articles have been published or are forthcoming in the Journal for Early Modern Culture Studies, Early Theatre, Studies in Philology, and Shakespeare Studies.

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John Yargo

John Yargo is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities at Boston College. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His specializations are early modern literature, the environmental humanities, and critical race studies. His dissertation explores early modern representations of environmental catastrophe, including William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Aphra Behn's Oroonoko, and John Milton's Paradise Lost. He has published in Early Theatre, Studies in Philology, The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, and Shakespeare Studies.

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