Professor Ross Lerner
Associate Professor, English
B.A., Haverford College; M.A., Princeton University; Ph.D., Princeton University
Department Chair, English
Appointed In
Swan Hall #225
Tues/Thurs 3:30-4:30 (sign up at link) and by appointment (email)

Ross Lerner specializes in medieval and Renaissance British literature, especially poetry.

Read his Oxy Story profile.

Professor Lerner has published a book, Unknowing Fanaticism: Reformation Literatures of Self-Annihilation, that explores the crisis of religious fanaticism in Reformation Europe and its effects on politics and poetry, as well as articles on the relationships between Renaissance poetry and law, religion, race, and gender. He is currently at work on a study of punishment and race in the literary, political, and religious imaginations of the premodern Atlantic world.

He teaches a wide range of courses on medieval and Renaissance literature (such as Renaissance Cultures of Punishment; Renaissance Poetry and its Afterlives; The Literature of Error: Romance and Genre; Literary Experiments from Chaucer to Milton; and Literatures of the Scientific Revolution) and introductory courses on Poetry and the Environment and on Shakespeare and Film, as well as writing-intensive first-year seminars on race and incarceration in the US, on representations of apocalypse, on fictions of crime and detection, and on the problem of revenge. He is the recipient of Occidental's Linda and Tod White Teaching Prize.

Before joining Occidental, Professor Lerner taught at Princeton University, Haverford College, and prisons in New Jersey. He is the former Academic Coordinator for the humanities and social sciences at Princeton’s Prison Teaching Initiative.


Unknowing Fanaticism: Reformation Literatures of Self-Annihilation (Fordham University Press, April 2019).

"Marvell's Issues: Race and the Curse of Ham," Marvell Studies 8.1 (2023), 1-20.

“Civil Death in Early Modern England,” Exemplaria: Medieval, Early Modern, Theory 32.4 (2021), 326-45.

“Allegorization and Racialization in The Faerie Queene,” Spenser Studies 35, special issue on Spenser and Race, ed. Dennis Austin Britton and Kimberly Coles (2021), 107-32.

“‘Doubly Resounded’: Narcissus and Echo in Petrarch, Donne, and Wroth,” Modern Philology 118.2 (November 2020), 159-80.

“The Astonied Body in Paradise Lost,” ELH: English Literary History 87.2 (summer 2020), 433-61.

“Allegories of Fanaticism,” in Literature, Belief, and Knowledge in Early Modern England: Knowing Faith, ed. Subha Mukherji and Tim Stuart-Buttle (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 153-72.

“Weak Milton,” SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 57:1 (Winter 2017), 111-34.

“Donne’s Annihilation,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 44:2 (Spring 2014), 407-27.