Michael Ullyot

Assistant Professor

English Department Profile  |  ullyot@ucalgary.ca

I’m currently engaged in two research projects. The first is a book (Virtuous Lies: The Rhetoric of Exemplarity in Early Modern England) on exemplarity, or the citation of illustrative and persuasive stories to provoke different reactions in their audiences. That project concerns the poetic theories and practices of Philip Sidney and Edmund Spenser, and the readings of Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex and Henry, Prince of Wales.

My next project is in the emergent field of the digital humanities. Encoding Shakespeare is a SSHRC-funded test case to automate the linguistic tagging of early modern English, combining natural-language processing algorithms with an interface for human readers to teach computers to recognize Shakespeare’s meanings more subtly and consistently. The result will be smarter algorithms, better prepared to encode the 70,000+ early modern texts (from 1476-1700) that will come online by 2015. Encoding enables the kind of macroscopic, wide-scale analysis that can quantify inquiries in our discipline, and provoke new discoveries (e.g. identifying new genres).

I have taught graduate courses in early modern biography, the history of reading, and Shakespeare’s medievalism. I have supervised masters and honours theses on Sidney and neoplatonism, tragedy and voyeurism, representations of female authority, and marriage in Shakespeare.

[A lightly edited version of this bio appears on my home page.]

Past and Current Supervisions

  • Female Authority in Shakespeare’s Comedies (MA)

Graduate Courses Taught

  • Biography before ‘Biography’
  • Shakespeare and the Middle Ages
  • The History of Reading
  • Whatever Happened to the Fifteenth Century? (in 2013-14)