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EIU Department of English


Melissa M. Caldwell, Associate Professor of English and Director of Undergraduate Studies

Office: 3050 - Coleman Hall
Phone: 217-581-7481
Fall 2016 Office Hours: M 1-3, W & F 1-2, and by appointment

My research interests include early modern intellectual history and moral philosophy; the transmission, adaptation and influence of skepticism in England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; religious and political polemical literature of the Reformation and the English Civil War; hybridity in literary-philosophical texts; and the relationship between word and image in literary, philosophical, and religious texts. My book project Skepticism and Belief in Early Modern England: The Reformation of Moral Value is forthcoming from Routledge.  In this project, I am interested in how writers use skepticism as a means by which to negotiate competing interests of reform and orthodoxy and how skepticism becomes a stabilizing yet generative force as more complex didactic modes of thought and writing replace dogmatic ones. By expanding current critical formulations of early modern skepticism, I offer a fuller account of skepticism’s history and examine its relationship to early modern epistemology, ethics and aesthetics. My publications include "Minds Indifferent: Milton, Lord Brooke, and the Value of Adiaphora on the Eve of the English Civil War" in The Seventeenth Century, and "Skepticism and Post-Reformation Ethics: Richard Hooker’s Galen" in Studies in Philology. 

I teach courses on Milton, Shakespeare, medieval and Renaissance literature, and the classics alongside general education courses on a variety of literature. 


PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century British studies, intellectual history, skepticism, religion and literature, and classical transmission

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Department of English

600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-2428
Fax: (217) 581-7209

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