William M. Russell

Professor and Chair

Address: 5 College Way, Room 203
Office Hours: MW 12:00-1:00
Phone: 843-953-4959
E-mail: russellw@cofc.edu

William Russell teaches courses on writing and early modern literature and culture, focusing primarily on poetry, classical reception, and the history of rhetoric, poetics, and literary criticism. He has published articles on such poets as Andrew Marvell and Ben Jonson and, most recently, a book, Inventing the Critic in Renaissance England, which explores how early modern English writers shaped the role of the literary critic. Professor Russell is, along with Bryan Ganaway, the co-founder and co-director of Bridging Between, a reading group for Charleston veterans and their families. He was awarded the College of Charleston’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2018 and the College’s Distinguished Advising Award in 2020.


Ph.D., English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

M.A., English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

B.A., English, Columbia University

Research Interests

  • Early modern literature and culture
  • Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English poetry
  • Rhetoric, poetics, hermeneutics, and the history of literary criticism
  • Humanism and classical reception

Courses Taught

ENGL 504: Early Modern Metamorphoses
ENGL 461: Epic, Translation, and Imitation in Early Modern Europe
ENGL 317: Literature and Revolution in the Seventeenth Century
ENGL 314: Humanism, Poetry, and Politics in the Sixteenth Century
ENGL 306: Milton


Inventing the Critic in Renaissance England. Newark, DE: Univ. of Delaware Press, 2020.

“Literary Criticism.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Renaissance and Reformation. Ed. Margaret King. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014, rev. 2018.

“Nasutum Volo, Nolo Polyposum: Ben Jonson and the Consociative Critic,” Studies in Philology 109(5) (Fall 2012): 642-70.

"Love, Chaos, and Marvell's Elegy for Cromwell," English Literary Renaissance 40(2) (Spring 2010): 272-97.

“Experto Crede: Stephen Gosson and the Experience of the Critic,” Renaissance Papers 2009: 21-36.

“‘Spell it Wrong to Read it Right’: Crashaw’s Assessment of Human Language,” John Donne Journal 28 (2009): 119-45.

“Jonson, Lipsius, and Muret: A Marginal Adjustment,” Notes and Queries 56(4) (December 2009): 624-625.