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Sharon Cadman Seelig

Roe/Straut Professor Emerita in the Humanities and Professor Emerita of English Language and Literature

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Sharon Cadman Seelig, Roe/Straut Professor of Humanities, teaches and studies many aspects of Renaissance English literature, including Shakespeare, Milton, early modern women writers, and lyric poets and prose writers of the seventeenth century. She earned her B.A. at Carleton College and her M.A. and Ph.D. at Columbia University. She was a Fulbright Fellow at the Free University of Berlin, and has held fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, Newberry Library, and National Endowment for the Humanities. A long-time member of the Editorial Board of English Literary Renaissance, she was the Smith College Exchange Professor at the University of Hamburg in 2010.
In addition to numerous articles on Renaissance literature, Sharon Seelig is the author of three books that reflect her evolving interests: The Shadow of Eternity: Belief and Structure in Herbert, Vaughan, and Traherne (Kentucky, 1981), on the religious poetry of the seventeenth century; Generating Texts: The Progeny of Seventeenth-Century Prose (Virginia, 1996), which traces the influences and intersections of writers such as Donne, Browne, and Burton on writers as diverse as T.S. Eliot, Thoreau, and Laurence Sterne; and Autobiography and Gender in Early Modern Literature: Reading Women's Lives, 1600-1680 (Cambridge, 2006), which moves from early diaries and fragmentary records to family histories and dramatic or romantic self-fashioning. She continues to research a range of forms and periods of life writing, particularly journals and autobiographies, from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries.
As an environmental fellow in the Smith Center for the Environment, Ecological Design, and Sustainability (CEEDS) and a member of the Sustainability Committee, Sharon Seelig is deeply engaged with the study of the environment as a discipline within the liberal arts and a concern of citizens of the planet. She teaches a first-year seminar, "Reading the Earth," which emphasizes observation of the natural world, whether practiced by current Smith students or their predecessors, including Darwin, Thoreau, Edward Abbey, and Annie Dillard. Her other recent and current courses at Smith include The English Literary Tradition I, Shakespeare, Milton, Methods of Literary Study, colloquia in fiction, "For the Love of God and Woman: Seventeenth-Century Poetry," and "Enabling Fictions: Writing Early Modern Women's Lives."