Department of English

Robert Matz

Department of English

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA  22030-4444

(703) 993-1170 

Positions Held

Chair, English Department, George Mason University, 2008-

Professor, English Department, George Mason University, 2010-

Associate Professor, English Department, George Mason University, 2000-2010

Assistant Professor, English Department, George Mason University, 1993-2000


Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University, English and American Literature, 1993

M.A., The Johns Hopkins University, English, 1988

A.B., Cornell University, summa cum laude, with distinction in all subjects, 1986


"For Profit and Pleasure: The Writing of Social Transformation in Elyot, Sidney and Spenser"
Directors: Professors Jonathan Goldberg and John Guillory

Awards and Fellowships

Faculty Study Leave, Fall 2001

Folger Seminar, "Going to Law," Cynthia Herrup, Spring 1999

George Mason, College of Arts and Sciences, 1997 Summer Stipend for Junior Faculty Research

Assistant Editor, ELH, 1989-1991

Johns Hopkins Fellowships, 1986-1989

1st Prize, English Honors Thesis on John Donne, Cornell University, 1986

Phi Beta Kappa, Cornell University, 1986.

Publications and Papers


The World of Shakespeare's Sonnets: An Introduction, McFarland Publishing, 2008.  Selected by Choice as a 2008 Outstanding Academic Title.

Defending Literature in Early Modern England: Renaissance Literary Theory in Social Context, Cambridge University Press, 2000.


"'To serve, love and obey':  The Taming of the Shrew and Early Modern Marriage."  Approaches to Teaching Taming of the Shrew.  Ed. Margaret Dupuis and Grace Tiffany.  MLA, forthcoming.

"The Scandals of Shakespeare's Sonnets." ELH 77 (2010): 477-508.

"A Woman Coloured Ill."  Section 3 of The World of Shakespeare's Sonnets. Reprint.  Poetry Criticism 98. Gale, 2009.

"Slander, Renaissance Discourses of Sodomy, and Othello. " Reprint.  Shakespearean Criticism 113. Gale, 2008.

"Poetry, Politics and Discursive Forms: The Case of Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie."  Reprint.  Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800 116. Gale, 2005.

"Slander, Renaissance Discourses of Sodomy, and Othello," ELH 66 (1999): 261-76.

"Poetry, Politics and Discursive Forms: The Case of Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie," Genre 30 (1997):  195-214.

"The Politics of Pleasure: Sidney's Defence of Poesie," English Literary Renaissance 25 (1995): 131-47.

"Speaking What We Feel: Torture and Political Authority in King Lear," Exemplaria 6 (1994): 223-41.


Review of Sean Keilen, Vulgar Eloquence: On the Renaissance Invention of Literature.  Shakespeare Quarterly  60 (2009).

Papers Delivered /  Conference Papers

"'Learning to Read What Silent Love Hath Writ': Shakespeare's Sonnets in the Contemporary Secondary Education Classroom."  Shakespeare Association of America Annual Convention, April 2010. 

"Dark Lady, Fair Man: Race in Shakespeare's Sonnets," Colonialism, Art and Sexuality in Early Modern Europe: Encountering the Other, Conference at American University, May 2005

"The Language of Practice: Literary Studies in the Corporate University,"  SAMLA Convention, Atlanta, 1998.

"'To Be Naked With Her Friend in Bed': Sodomy and Adultery in Othello," Shakespeare Association of America, Washington, D.C., 1997.

"The Pastoral of Powerlessness: Sidney's Arcadia," MLA Convention, Chicago, 1995.

"'When I Was a Schollar': Schooling the Court in Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie, Folger Evening Colloquium, May 1995.

"The Politics of Pleasure: Sidney's Defence of Poesie," Johns Hopkins University Journal Club, September 1992.

"Speaking What We Feel: Torture and Political Authority in King Lear," The Shakespeare and Renaissance Association of West Virginia, April 1989.


"Shakespeare's Sonnets Turn 400."  With Good Reason.  First Air Date: August 15, 2009.

In Progress

"Two Early Modern Marriage Manuals."  Edition.

"Teaching Shakesepeare Sonnets in the High School Classroom." Article.

Courses Taught

At George Mason University

Shakespeare: Histories and Comedies, Fall 2011, Spring 2010, 2009, 2005, 2003, 2001, 1995, 1994  and Fall 2006, 2004, 1999 (English 335)

English Poetry and Prose of the Sixteenth Century, Fall 2009, Spring 2006,  Fall 2003, Spring1996 (English 401)

Shakespeare: Tragedies and Romances, Fall 2008, 2000, and Spring 2008, 2002, 2000 (English 336)

Studies in Early Modern Literature: Masculinity (English 630)

Introduction to Research, Fall 2007 (Honors 110)

Special Topics in Shakespeare: "Shakespeare's Sonnets," Spring 2007 and 2002 (English 473)

Spenser, Fall 2006, 2002,  2000, 1997 and 1994 (English 472)

English Poetry and Prose of the Sixteenth Century, Spring 2006  Fall 2003, Spring1996 (English 401)

Studies in Early Modern Literature: "Sixteenth-Century Poetry (English 630)

Reading and Writing about Texts, Fall 2005, Fall, 2003, Fall 2000, Spring 2000 (English 201)

Renaissance Drama, Fall 2004, Spring 2001, 1997 (English 630)

Renaissance Drama, Fall 2004, Spring 1997 (English 440)

English Poetry and Prose of the Seventeenth Century, Spring 2004 and 2002, 1999 and Fall 1996 (English 402)

Studies in Early Modern Literature: "Shakespeare's Sonnets," Fall 2003  (English 630)

Special Topics in Shakespeare: "Gender and Sexuality," Fall 1999 and 1995 (English 473)

Linked Composition, Fall 1999 (English 101)

Studies in Early Modern Literature: "Ideas of the Renaissance," Spring 1999 (English 630)

Honors Thesis Seminar, Spring 1998 (English 415)

Dimensions of Literature, Spring 1998 (English 325)

Honors Seminar: "Love Stories," Spring 1997 (English 415)

Studies in Early Modern Literature: "Cultural Capital?," Fall 1996 (English 630)

Society and Literature: "Romancing Literature," Fall 1996 and 1993 (English 207)

Shakespeare: Tragedies and Romances: "Gender and Sexuality," Spring 1996 (English 631)

Literary Scholarship, Fall 1995 (English 701)

English Literature Survey I, Fall 1995, 1994 and 1993 (English 251)

Shakespeare: Histories and Comedies: "The Theater and Theatricality," Spring 1995 (English 631)

Major Authors Before 1800: "Sidney and Spenser," Fall 1994 (English 666)
Studies in Early Modern Literature: "Constructions of Authorship,"  Spring 1994 (English 630)

At the Folger Shakespeare Library

Mastering Research at the Folger, Spring 2011

At The Johns Hopkins University

Instructor, English Composition, Fall 1991

Instructor, Shakespeare, Summer 1991

Instructor, English Composition, 1988-1989

Teaching Assistant, Shakespeare, 1987-1988

Independent Studies and Thesis Committees

Independent Study:

Jane Buckley, English 514.004: "The Poetry of Queen Elizabeth" (Spring 1996)

Thesis Committees:

Camile Mustachio, "Bastardy in Shakespeare and Early Modern England," (Spring 2005 -Fall 2005)

Eric M. Johnson, " Open Source Shakespeare: An Online Resource for Scholars and Readers of Shakespeare" (Fall 2003-Spring 2004)

Fran Connor, "The Sociology of Paradise Lost: Dryden, Herringman and Carolean Publishing Convention" (Fall 2002-Spring 2003)

Jennifer McKain, "Pushing the Boundaries: Three Women's Struggles for Reproductive Rights" (Spring 1997)

Regan M. Avery, "Cirqular Logic: The Subversive Strategies of the Cirque Du Soleil" (Summer 1996)

Jutta Schueler, "Feminist Rewritings of Shakespeare's Plays: Acts of Sisterhood" (Summer 1996)


At George Mason University

Department Chair, Fall 2008-

Undergraduate Committee, Chair, Fall 2002-Spring 2008

Advisory Committee to the Chair, Fall 2002-Spring 2008

Bachelors of Independent Studies (BIS), Executive Committee, Fall 2006-Spring 2007

Ad hoc Committee on Conversion of Term Faculty to Multiyear Contracts, Chair, Spring 2006, 2005, 2004

Salary Committee, Spring 2003-Fall 2004

Ad hoc K-12 Committee, Spring 2003-Summer 2005

Ad hoc Futures of English Committee, Spring 2003

Graduate Committee, Spring 2002

Undergraduate Committee, Fall 2000-Spring 2001, Fall 1994-Spring 1995

Ad-Hoc Committee on Writing Assessment in English, Spring 1999

Faculty Committee, Fall 1997-Spring 1999

CAS ad hoc committee on College Honors, Fall 1997

Advisory committee to the Dean on the Award of Grants for Curriculum Development, March 1997

Ad-Hoc Assessment Committee for the Undergraduate Major, Fall 1996

Outreach Committee, Cultural Studies, Fall 1996-1997

Advisory Committee to the Chairs, Fall 1995-Spring 1997

Honors Program Coordinator, Fall 1994-Spring 1998

Ad Hoc Committee on Revising 200-level Course Sequence, Spring 1994

Library/Media Committee, Fall 1993-Spring 1995


Folger Institute Central Executive Committee, Fall 2007-

Folger Institute Application Review Committee, Summer, 2007-Spring 2010

Professional Organizations

Modern Language Association

Shakespeare Association of America