Orlando Reade

BA, English Literature, Cambridge University
MA, Renaissance Studies, University of London

I study Renaissance literature, and in particular the English poetry of the seventeenth century. My research examines how poems were written to provide consolation and regeneration at times of personal and political crisis.

My dissertation, “Being a Lover of the World”: Lyric Poetry and Political Disaffection After the English Civil War, examines the work of three poets: Henry Vaughan, Katherine Philips and Thomas Traherne. It describes how the experience of political disaffection in the two decades after the end of the Civil War (1650-1670) led those three poets to write poems that re positive and praiseful, which express a love of the world. It argues that this poetic love of the world, usually associated with the later poetry of Romanticism, emerged as a response to political conflicts in the seventeenth century. To love the world, as the philosopher Hannah Arendt once wrote, “is so difficult.” This dissertation describes why poetry became associated with this peculiarly difficult form of life.

My academic interests also include modern and contemporary lyric poetry, British history and political theory, empire and racial capitalism, psychoanalysis and the history of sexuality, painting, carnivals, wildflower meadows, the stars, toys and dancing.

I have taught eight college courses in New Jersey correctional facilities, as part of the NJ-STEP prison education program, and served as English Co-chair for the Princeton Prison Teaching Initiative.

I have academic articles forthcoming in two edited collections, and have written essays on contemporary literature and art for numerous non-academic publications.