Main content

Gary Waller

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Literature and Cultural Studies

Gary Waller is Distinguished Professor of literature and cultural studies and teaches in both the literature program in the School of Humanities and the theatre and performance program in the Conservatory of Theatre Arts. His major research areas have been Shakespeare and late medieval and early modern religion and literature. He is best known for his pioneering research on women’s writing in the Renaissance, especially the work of Mary Sidney and Mary Wroth, and for studies of the Virgin Mary in medieval and early modern culture. His work incorporates studies of gender formation, psychoanalysis, and ‘presentist’ historical analysis. A prolific scholar, he has published more than 20 books, written nearly 100 book chapters and scholarly articles, and presented scores of guest lectures and conference papers. 

Waller was already a well-published, internationally recognized scholar with a 25-year career when he arrived at Purchase as vice president of academic affairs in 1995. In August 2001, he was appointed as provost, in addition to his vice presidential role. He returned to the faculty as professor of literature and cultural studies in 2004. He was appointed to the Distinguished Professor rank by the State University of New York Board of Trustees in 2015. The Distinguished Professorship, SUNY’s highest academic rank, is conferred upon individuals who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within the individual’s chosen field.

Research Interests

Currently working on a book-length study of The Female Baroque in England; forthcoming work includes “The Annunciation from Luke to the Brink of Reformation: a Cultural History” and “The Annunciation and Magnificat in Early Modern and Enlightenment Culture” in Handbook of Mary. OUP, 2019. “The Magnificat in Early Modern Culture” in Sammelband Magnificat Erinnerung,  Brepols, 2017.“I and Ideology: Demystifying the Self of Contemporary Poetry.” Contemporary Literary Criticism: Rita Dove. Layman Poupard, 2017.

Representative Courses

  • Shakespeare Then and Now
  • Medieval Literature
  • Renaissance in England
  • Early Modern Poetry
  • Medieval and Renaissance Drama


  • Mary and the Annunciation: A Cultural Study From Luke to the Enlightenment. Pickering and Chatto, 2015; Routledge 2016.
  • The Virgin Mary in Medieval and Early Modern English Literature and Popular Culture. Cambridge University Press, 2011. Paperback edition, 2012. 
  • Walsingham and the English Imagination. Ashgate, 2011.
  • Edmund Spenser: A Literary Life. MacMillan, 1995.
  • The Sidney Family Romance: William Herbert, Mary Wroth, and the Early Modern Construction of Gender. Wayne State University Press, 1993.
  • Reading Texts. Co-authored with Kathleen McCormick. D.C. Heath, 1987.
  • English Poetry in the Sixteenth Century. Longmans, 1986. 2nd revised edition, 1994. 
  • Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke: A Critical Study. University of Salzburg, 1979.
  • Dreaming America: Obsession and Transcendence in the Fiction of Joyce Carol Oates. Louisiana State University Press, 1979. Nominated for American Book Award, 1979.
  • The Strong Necessity of Time: Time in Shakespeare and the Elizabethans. Mouton, 1976.

Edited Volumes 

  • Mary Sidney Herbert: Printed Writings 1500–1640: A Discourse of Life and Death, by Philippe de Mornay, and Antonius, a Tragedie, by Robert Garnier. Routledge, 2016 Walsingham and English Culture: Location, Sexuality, Cultural Memory. Co-edited with Dominic Janes. Ashgate, 2010.
  • Shakespeare’s All’s Well that Ends Well: New Critical Essays. Routledge, 2007. Paperback edition, 2013.
  • Shakespeare’s Comedies: A Critical Reader. Longmans, 1991.
  • Reading Mary Wroth: Representing Alternatives. Co-edited with Naomi Miller. University of Tennessee Press, 1991.
  • The New Rhetoric and the New Literary Theory. Special issue of Poetics, 1987.
  • The Lexington Introduction to Literature: Reading and Responding to Texts. Co-edited with Kathleen McCormick and Lois Fowler. D. C. Heath, 1986. 
  • Sir Philip Sidney and the Interpretation of Renaissance Culture. Co-edited with Michael D. Moore. Croom Helm, 1984. 
  • Pamphilia to Amphilanthus by Lady Mary Wroth. Edited. University of Salzburg, 1977.
  • The Triumph of Death and other poems by Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke. Edited. University of Salzburg, 1977. 


  • Other Flights, Always. Braunton: Merlin Books, 1990. 
  • Impossible Futures Indelible Pasts. Kellner/McCaffery, 1983.

PLUS: approx. 100 articles, reviews, poems,  etc.

Presentations / Conferences

Recent presentations include: 

Kalamazoo International Medieval Congress; Leeds Medieval Conference, Leeds, UK, July 2015; York St John/Roehampton University Marian Studies Conference, York St John University, York, UK, 2014; “Mary under Duress” Conference, Loyola University/Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore,2014; Renaissance Society of America, San Diego, 2013; Notre Dame/Birkbeck College Conference on Martyrdom, London, 2011; 400 Years of the King James Bible, York, UK, 2011; Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, 2010, 2008; International Walsingham Conference, Little Walsingham, England, 2008; Medieval into Renaissance Conference, University of Toronto, 2006.