Travis D. Williams

  • Associate Professor
  • Phone: 401.874.9501
  • Email:
  • Office Location: 308A Swan Hall


Travis Williams specializes in Shakespeare and early modern literature and teaches courses on authors and works throughout the period, as well as on topics in literature and science. His current book project is “Literature and Mathematics: The Writing Arts in the Age of Shakespeare.” He has presented papers at the Harvard Shakespearean Studies Seminar, Durham University, the University of Aberdeen, the University of York, Lund University, Providence College, the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies, and All Souls College, Oxford, and at conferences of the Modern Language Association, the Renaissance Society of America, the Shakespeare Association of America, the History of Science Society, the British Society for the History of Mathematics, the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts, and the Mathematical Association of America. He is a winner of the Rhetorica Prize from the International Society for the History of Rhetoric and has received fellowships from the URI Council for Research, the URI Center for the Humanities, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.

preferred pronouns: he/him/his


Shakespeare and early modern literature, book history, history of mathematics, scientific rhetoric, visual rhetoric


  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
  • M.Phil., University of Oxford
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley

Selected Publications

Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts. Co-edited by Travis D. Williams, Russ McDonald, and Nicholas D. Nace. London: Arden Shakespeare, 2012.

“Ethos by the Numbers: Henry IV, Part 1.Shakespeare Studies, special forum “Literature and Science,” ed. Shankar Raman, 49 (2021): 72-81.

King Lear, Without the Mathematics: From Reading Mathematics to Reading Mathematically.” In the Palgrave Handbook of Literature and Mathematics, ed. Robert Tubbs, Alice Jenkins, Nina Engelhardt. 399-418. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.

“Unspeakable Creation: Writing in Paradise Lost and Early Modern Mathematics.” Philological Quarterly, special issue “Imagining Early Modern Scientific Forms,” ed. Jenny Mann and Debapriya Sarkar, 98: 1-2 (2019): 181-200.

“Recent stage, film and critical interpretations.” In Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare, ed. F. H. Mares, 3rd edition, New Cambridge Shakespeare. 49-65. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

“Mathematical Enargeia: The Rhetoric of Early Modern Mathematical Notation.” Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric 34:2 (2016): 163-211.

“The Dialogue of Early Modern Mathematical Subjectivity.” Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology 21:1 (2013): 53-84.

“Procrustean Marxism and Subjective Rigor: Early Modern Arithmetic and Its Readers.” In “Raw Data” Is an Oxymoron. Ed. Lisa Gitelman. 41-59. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013.

“The Earliest English Printed Arithmetic Books.” The Library: The Transactions of the Bibliographical Society ser. 7, 13:2 (2012): 164-84.

“The Bourn Identity: Hamlet and the French of Montaigne’s Essais.” Notes and Queries 58:2 (2011): 254-58.


ENG 280 Introduction to Shakespeare
ENG 333 The Sensuous Sentence: Grammar for Grammarphobes
ENG 355 Literature and the Sciences
ENG 472 Shakespeare
ENG 478 Chaucer
ENG 479 Milton

Graduate seminars on Shakespeare, Renaissance lyric, and other early modern topics.

I welcome interest in graduate study of Shakespeare, Renaissance drama, and early modern intellectual history.

Curriculum Vitae