Feature Article

Catholic writings peaks interests of L.A.S.S. Dean

(Staff Writer)

Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Social Science, Ronald Corthell, has been working on a number of research projects since arriving at Purdue Calumet. His research and interests include the writings of English Catholics and Renaissance Literature.

Corthell said he is particularly interested in these topics because of their relation to foregoing national debates on religious liberty and separation of church and state. Corthell has been inspired by the Jesuit priests of the 16th century reformation period of England as “their writings are devotional in nature,” he explained.

Corthell is currently putting together a collection of scholarly essays for the International Milton Symposium, held in August in Tokyo, Japan.  He will present his research titled, “Milton and the Catholics,” which is organized around the writings of John Milton.

Corthell has been working on a book for the last 10 years, piecing together scholarly English Renaissance poetry.  Its focus is on the celebration of adolescent daughters of each poet’s patron, or the aristocrat supporter.

“This topic is very interesting because during the Renaissance period, the daughters of the families were seen as nearly invisible compared to the sons, because the sons would inevitably take over the family estate,” Corthell explained.

Last fall, Corthell gave the introductory remarks at the Purdue Renaissance Comparative Prose Conference in West Lafayette.  Research papers on the Renaissance were examined and discussed during a panel, in a 400th anniversary celebration of the writing of the King James Bible.

Additionally, Corthell has a carrel (desk) at the Newberry Library in Chicago where he holds the title, “Scholar in Residence.” The library, located on Walton Street of the city’s Gold Coast neighborhood, is known for its rare books, research materials and maps. Corthell said the library is known for having exclusive selections on Renaissance materials, as well as materials about Native American and other indigenous peoples. Corthell has served on the Executive Committee of the Renaissance Consortium at the Newberry Library since 1993.

On top of his current research, Corthell has written and co-edited many publications focusing on the English Literary Language and Renaissance Prose. He served as Editor of Prose Studies: History, Theory, Criticism, from 1989 until recently.

Corthell received his English Ph. D from Cornell University, majoring in 17th century literature. He received his Master’s Degree, also from Cornell, with a focus on Renaissance Literature. He has taught graduate courses in English, poetry, 17th century prose, the Renaissance and Reformation as well as Catholicism and Anti-Catholicism in Early Modern English Language.