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Photo of Mary Floyd Wilson, taken by Sarah Boyd

Mann Distinguished Professor

1996, PhD English, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Mary Floyd-Wilson works in the field of early modern English literature, primarily drama placed in cultural, social, and intellectual contexts. Past projects have included readings of Shakespeare’s Othello, Cymbeline, Macbeth, Ben Jonson’s Masque of Blackness, and Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine in relation to the period’s understanding of ethnological differences–a discourse she identifies as “geohumoralism.” Her work on the history of emotion helped initiate the “affective turn” in early modern literary scholarship. Subsequent research has focused on the sympathies and antipathies (as central to a history of emotion), occult knowledge, and the construction of science in the period; this material has framed readings of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, All’s Well That Ends Well, Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling, Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, and the anonymous plays, Arden of Faversham and A Warning for Fair Women. She is currently writing a book titled The Tempter or the Tempted: Demonic Causality on the Shakespearean Stage about the distinct influence of the Protestant devil in early modern culture (with chapters on Thomas Heywood’s A Woman Killed with Kindness, Shakespeare’s Richard III, The Tempest, Macbeth, and Hamlet, Anon, A Yorkshire Tragedy, Ford, Dekker, and Rowley’s The Witch of Edmonton.


  • “The Demonic Environments of Hamlet and King Lear,” Shakespeare/Space, ed. Isabel Karremann (Bloomsbury, 2024)
  • Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr., co-editor, Geographies of Embodiment in Early Modern England. (Oxford University Press, 2020)
  • Darryl Chalk, co-editor, Contagion and the Shakespearean Stage. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) 
  • “’A Witch!  Who is not?’: Demonic Contagion, Gender, and Class in The Witch of Edmonton,” Routledge Companion to Women, Sex and Gender in the Early British Colonial World, ed. Kim Coles and Eve Keller, (Routledge, 2019), 139-153
  • “’Angry Mab with Blisters Plague’: The Pre-modern Science of Contagion in Romeo and Juliet,” The Palgrave Handbook to Early Modern Literature, Science, and Culture, edited by Howard J. Marchitello and Evelyn Tribble. (Palgrave, 2017).
  • Occult Knowledge, Science, and Gender on the Shakespearean Stage (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2014.
  • Garrett A. Sullivan, co-editor, Environment and Embodiment in Early Modern England. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).
  • Gail Kern Paster and Katharine Rowe, co-editors, Reading the Early Modern Passions: A Cultural History of Emotion. (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004).
  • English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama. Book. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

Teaching Awards

  • Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor, awarded May 2014, term 2015-2020.
  • Association of Graduate Students in English Mentoring Award, 2013.
  • The Frank and Eleanor Griffiths Distinguished Chair in English Literature, awarded by the Bread Loaf School of English in the Summer 2013.
  • Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2006-present.
  • Tanner Faculty Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2006.


  • Fellow at the National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park (2016-2017)
  • Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick (June, 2010)
  • Leadership Fellow (2009-2010), Academic Leadership Program, Institute of Arts and Humanities
  • Fellow at the National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park (2008-2009)
  • Competitive University-wide W. N. Reynolds Leave, UNC-CH, awarded Fall, 2009
  • Faculty Fellow, Institute of Arts and Humanities, Fall 2004

Courses Taught:

  • Shakespeare
  • Survey of English Literature (120)
  • Shakespeare’s Women in Context
  • English Renaissance Drama

Curriculum Vitae / Resume