Matthew P. Ritger

I study literature and drama of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with an emphasis on poetry and politics. Areas of particular interest include the history of rhetoric and poetics, print technology and culture, and early modern criminal law and policy, as well as authors including More, Shakespeare, Marvell.

My dissertation project, tentatively titled Objects of Correction: English Literature and the Reformation of Punishment, 1516-1773, constructs a critical and imaginative history of rehabilitative punishments from More’s Utopia to the early American penitentiary. Based in and around London’s first Protestant hospitals and Bridewell Prison, the first House of Correction (established in 1553), Objects of Correction studies how literature, drama, and print practices both addressed and effected penal reforms in early modern England during a crucial period in the rise of what Foucault has called “the correctional world.”

Previously I worked as a lecturer at Cornell University, where I taught First-Year Writing Seminars on Shakespeare as well as introductory creative writing courses, and where I earned my MFA (2014). I hold a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College (2010).

At Princeton I also serve as an adviser for undergraduate students at Mathey College and as an assistant in the Center for Digital Humanities.

Preceptor: ENG 320: Shakespeare I

Selected Publications: 


"Marvell's double negatives: Oliver Cromwell and 'An Horatian Ode.'" ELH, forthcoming.

"Invisible Shakespeare." Review Essay. Los Angeles Review of Books Online, April 2016. 

"The Charges: On Jorie Graham's From The New World: Poems 1976-2014.” Los Angeles Review of Books Online, April 2015.

"Shrapnel and Song: On Contemporary Poetry from Afghanistan." Los Angeles Review of Books Online, April 2014. 

"Translations from the Bone-House: On the Poetry of Seamus Heaney and John Hollander." Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, Winter 2014.