Nick B. Williams Professor of English
B.A., Trinity College; M.A. University of Pennsylvania; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Professor Engel received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and specializes in medieval and Renaissance literature with an eye toward the history of ideas—especially the Art of Memory and chiastic designs. He has published chapters in collections of essays on topics that include Chaucer’s use of Boethius, Shakespeare’s historical context, Milton’s use of Anglo-Saxon, and Poe’s cryptography.

In addition to a number of encyclopedia entries and chapters in collections, Professor Engel is the author of five books: four on literary history, Mapping Mortality (U of Massachusetts P, 1995), Death and Drama (Oxford, 2002), Chiastic Designs (2009; Routledge paperback 2016), Early Modern Poetics in Melville and Poe (2012; Routledge paperback 2016); and one on teaching and learning, Education & Anarchy (University Press of America, 2001). He also co-edited The Memory Arts in Renaissance England: A Critical Anthology (Cambridge, 2016) and is finishing up on The Death Arts in Renaissance England: A Critical Anthology (Cambridge, forthcoming 2021) and The Death Arts in Shakespeare: Hamlet among the Tombs (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2022), as well as a book length study on John Day, The Printer as Author in Early Modern English Book History (Routledge, forthcoming 2022) which was the subject of a segment on NPR’s “The Academic Minute” (click here).

A life-long fencer and currently the instructor of fencing at Sewanee, Professor Engel has choreographed stage combat and served as dramaturge for regional theater groups.

For more details about his teaching interests and publications, please see