Russell J. Leo, III
Assistant Professor of English
Russ Leo holds a Ph.D. from the Program in Literature at Duke University. He also received graduate certificates in Feminist Studies and Interdisciplinary Medieval and Renaissance Studies from Duke. His interdisciplinary interests span early modern literature in English, Dutch, and Neo-Latin; theology, particularly Reformation thought and devotional practice; gender and sexuality studies, especially Christology and sexual difference; and critical theory, specifically the long histories of Spinozism in Marxism, psychoanalysis, and their entangled histories (from Georgi Plekhanov and Sigmund Freud to Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Paul Verhaeghe, Luce Irigaray and Elizabeth Grosz). Leo is currently developing a comprehensive book project, tentatively titled Cruel Necessity: Reformation Tragedy and the Afterlives of Aristotle’s Poetics in Early Modern Europe, a work that examines the philosophical and theological purchase of tragedy in early modernity by tracing the importance of tragedy across diverse early modern disciplines, looking closely at work by William Shakespeare, Fulke Greville, John Milton, and the Dutch dramatic society Nil Volentibus Arduum, as well as Jean Calvin, Daniel Heinsius, David Pareus, Baruch Spinoza, and the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century editors and translators of Aristotle's Poetics. He is also working on articles on Milton, Spinoza and Anglo-Dutch poetry and drama with an eye towards a second book project on finance, communion and the commons in early modernity.