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EIU Department of English


Dr. Melissa M. Caldwell, Department Advisor, Professor of English

Office: 3050 - Coleman Hall
Phone: 217-581-7481

Fall 2022 Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday, & Friday, 9-10am, 11am -12pm and other times by appointment. Meetings held in person in my office or via Zoom.

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. Based on these interests, I have published Skepticism and Belief in Early Modern England: The Reformation of Moral Value (Routledge, 2016).  

Beyond early modern literature, my research also focuses on literary adaptation. I have three forthcoming articles focused on adaptation before cinema, and Margaret Atwood's Hag-Seed and Penelopiad, adaptations of Shakespeare's The Tempest and Homer's Odyssey respectively. 

I am also interested in war literature, specifically the literature of the Iraq War, and I have published "'Did You Kill Anyone?': The Pathography of PTSD in The White Donkey" in Performativity, Cultural Construction, and the Graphic Narrative (Routledge, 2019).

Finally, I have a growing interest in linguistics, literacy, ESL pedagogy and working with Emergent Bilinguals.




Frequently Taught Courses

ENG 1105, English Major Forum

ENG 2205, Introduction to Literary Studies

ENG 2901, Structures of English

ENG 3800, Medieval British Literature

ENG 3802, Shakespeare

ENG 3803, Renaissance and Early Modern Literature

ENG 5003, 17th Century British Literature

ENG 5061, The Iraq War

ENG 5061, Literary Adaptation





PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill




Professional Organizations






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

Twentieth and twenty-first century war literature

Textual Adaptation

ESL Pedagogy




Selected Publications

  • “Poetry after Descartes: Henry More’s Adaptive Poetics.” Adaptation before Cinema. Ed. Glenn Jellenik and Lissette Lopez Szwydky-Davis. Palgrave, under contract.


  • “Performance and the Political Subject in Richard II.” “The King is But a Man”: William Shakespeare and 21st Century Politics, Culture and Leadership. Ed. Kristen Bezio and Anthony Russell. Edgar Elger, 2021


  • “‘Did you kill anyone?’: The Pathography of PTSD in The White Donkey.” Accepted for publication in Performativity, Cultural Construction, and the Graphic Novel. Ed. Leigh Anne Howard and Susanna Hoeness-Krupsaw. (Routledge, 2019).


  • Skepticism and Belief in Early Modern England: The Reformation of Moral Value (Routledge, 2016).


  • “Skepticism and Post-Reformation Ethics: Richard Hooker’s Galen,” Studies in Philology, 109.5 (2012): 582-609.


  • “Minds Indifferent:  Milton, Lord Brooke, and the Value of Adiaphora on the Eve of the English Civil War,” The Seventeenth Century, 22.1 (2007): 97-123.




Selected Conference Presentations





Funding & Grants














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Contact Information

Department of English

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

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