Matthew P. Ritger

In my research and teaching, I focus on English literature and culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Areas of particular interest include poetry and poetics, carceral and penal culture, histories of sexuality and embodiment, and the history of reading, writing, printing and circulating books.   

My dissertation, Objects of Correction: Literature and the Birth of Modern Punishment, is about the relation between literature and carceral institutions during the Reformation. Based in and around the archives of Bridewell prison, the first “house of correction,” Objects of Correction shows how literature of all genres—including prose fictions, dramatic experiences, and poetry by authors such as More, Shakespeare, and Milton—contributed to debates about penology during these crucial centuries. In 2018-2019 this project was awarded the Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship, Princeton’s highest honor for a graduate student.

My teaching experience includes assisting with instruction at Princeton, tutoring in Philadelphia's Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, and leading my own courses as a lecturer at Cornell University, where I completed an MFA in poetry. Creative work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Seattle Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, and the anthology Best New Poets (2011), among others. I hold a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College.

Selected Publications: 


“Reading Utopia in the Reformation of Punishment.” Renaissance Quarterly 72.4, winter 2020 (forthcoming).

"Marvell's double negatives: Oliver Cromwell and 'An Horatian Ode.'" English Literary History, 85.3, fall 2018.

"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.