William Weaver

William Weaver
Professor of Literature
High Res Photo

Professor of Literature

CV (pdf)


  • Ph.D., Columbia University
  • M.A., Columbia University
  • B.A., Vanderbilt University


  • Renaissance Humanism, Early Modern English Poetry, Classical Tradition, History of Rhetoric

Research Interests

The Great Texts (litterae humaniores) have stories to tell. Among other things they do, they tell stories about us. Why are we reading these texts? How do we read them? And what does our interpretation tell us about us? Similar questions, often designated “reception” or “reception history,” can be asked of reading in historical periods. My scholarship concerns the reception of the Great Texts in sixteenth-century Europe, where they were called litterae humaniores, “humane letters,” and imitation was one of the key objects of reading. Much of my work seeks a better understanding of the transformation of the liberal arts, especially rhetoric, by Philip Melanchthon and other Renaissance humanists and evangelicals in this era. In earlier work I focused on poetic composition as a window into liberal arts education in the Renaissance. In more recent work I have turned to interpretation in Wittenberg, including the exposition of Scripture and annotation of Homer.

Selected Publications


  • Melanchthon, Philipp. Collected Writings on Rhetoric. Opera omnia. Opera philosophica 2.2. Ed. William P. Weaver, Stefan Strohm, and Volkhard Wels. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017.
  • Untutored Lines: The Making of the English Epyllion (Edinburgh, 2012)

Referred Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Melanchthon’s Rhetorics and the Order of Learning: A Case Study in Library Database Research.” Reformation 22 (2017): 120–146.
  • “Rhetorik.” Translated by Tobias Jammerthal. In Philipp Melanchthon: Der Reformator zwischen Glauben und Wissen, 535–546. Ed. Günter Frank. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017.
  • “A Classical Education.” In The Routledge Companion to Shakespeare and Classical Literature, 14–27. Ed. Sean Keilen and Nick Moschovakis. London and New York: Routledge, 2017.
  • ’A More Excellent Way: Philip Melanchthon’s Corinthians Lectures of 1521-1522.’ Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme 37 (2014): 31-63.
  • ’The Banquet of the Common Sense: George Chapman’s Anti-Epyllion.' Studies in Philology 111 (2014): 757-785.
  • ’The Verse Divisions of the New Testament and the Literary Culture of the Reformation.’ Reformation 16 (2011): 161-177.
  • Triplex est Copia: Philip Melanchthon’s Invention of the Rhetorical Figures.’ Rhetorica 29 (2011): 367-402.

Work in Progress

    “Homer in Wittenberg: Rhetoric, Scholarship, Prayer." Monograph; awarded the Loeb Classical Library Fellowship and a Research Fellowship from the International Society for the History of Rhetoric.

Great Texts

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