Robert Whalen


Robert Whalen teaches literature of the British Renaissance. His interests include metaphysical poetry, Shakespeare, textual scholarship, scholarly editing, early-modern Latin poetry in England, and digital humanities. His book on seventeenth-century devotional writing, The Poetry of Immanence: Sacrament in Donne and Herbert, was published in 2002 by University of Toronto Press. The Digital Temple, a diplomatic edition of George Herbert’s English verse, was published by University of Virginia Press in 2012.

Recent publications include “Neglected Witnesses to George Herbert’s Musae Responsoriae” (Studies in Philology 120.2), “Restoring a Deleted Note in Valdesso’s Considerations” (George Herbert Journal 42.1-2), and “Cestus’ Reply to Æthiopissa” (Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme 44.1).

Whalen has been a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities and is co-recipient of three NEH Scholarly Editions and Translations Grants for his work as general editor of George Herbert: Complete Works for Oxford University Press. Samples from the digital complement to the three-volume print edition are available here.

When he isn’t poring over manuscripts and rare books, Whalen sometimes reads. Current favorites include the genre-defying prose of W. G. Sebald, fiction by George Saunders and Cormac McCarthy, and the poetry of Alice Oswald and A. E. Stallings. Such writers, Whalen contends, reveal that literature worthy of the label—whatever its social/cultural/political contexts—is less concerned with what to say than how to say it.

A photo of Dr. Robert Whalen