Professor Karen Edwards



Extension: 4271

Telephone: 01392 724271

CV for Professor Karen Edwards

Office: Room 203, QB           Tel. ext. 4271              email:

My research and teaching focus on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English literature, especially the works of John Milton, in the context of natural history, the Bible and religion, and politics. Milton and the Natural World (1999) places Milton's representation of the plants and animals of Eden in the wider context of the scientific revolution and of Europe's exploration of 'new worlds'. Milton’s Reformed Animals: An Early Modern Bestiary (2005-2009) studies the presence of animals in literature of the period, in terms both of their scientific representation and of their symbolic and polemical functions. The monograph I am now writing, Political Animals in Early Modern England, extends my study of the distinctive early modern fusion of physical and symbolic worlds into a study of vituperative animal epithets – ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’, ‘greedy cormorants’, ‘vipers of sedition’ – in polemical exchanges from the Reformation to the Restoration. I aim to demonstrate that changes in the use of animal images and metaphors among religious and political controversialists of enable us to understand how ‘hate language’ contributed to the outbreak of civil war and the gradual erosion of the Bible as the basis for public discourse. I am also co-editing with Prof. Jane Spencer and Dr. Derek Ryan a collection of essays entitled Reading Literary Animals, Medieval to Modern (forthcoming, 2018).