Professor John Pilsner's faculty page| Franciscan University of Steubenville
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    Dr. John Pilsner

    Assistant Professor of English


    • Ph.D., with Distinction, Department of Comparative Literature, The Graduate School & University Center of The City University of New York (CUNY)
    • Certificate Program in Renaissance Studies, CUNY Graduate Center
    • M.A., English, University of Toronto
    • B.A., Drama and English, Hofstra University

    Areas of Specialization

  • Renaissance humanism and literature, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, English and Continental.
  • Interdisciplinary and cross-cultural research in Neoplatonism, Christian Platonism, moral philosophy, lay piety, mysticism, rhetoric vs. dialectic, satire, and concepts of wisdom and folly.
  • Current Works in Progress

    • Petrarch’s Socratic Idiot: Humanist Ignorance and Spiritual Wisdom in On His Own Ignorance and That of Many Others
    • Thomas More’s Ironic Personae the the Limits of Lucian
    • The Silenus Metaphor in Erasmus’s Poetics and Hermeneutics

    Recent Publications

  • Teaching a Franciscan Poetic in a Study of the Literary Voice (2015)
  • Honors

    • Mario Capelloni Dissertation Award, CUNY Graduate Center
    • Andrew Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities (offered)
    • Essay Prize in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, Renaissance Society of America and CUNY Graduate Center
    • Folger Institute Grant, Shakespeare
    • Folger Library, Washington, D.C.
    • President's Award for Excellence in Teaching, Queens College

    Selected Conference Presentations and Invited Lectures

    • Teaching A Franciscan Poetic in a Study of the Literary Voice (2014)
    • The Figure of the Idiota from the Acts of the Apostles through Petrarch (2012)
    • Negative Figuration and Theology in Erasmus’ Praise of Folly and the Letter to Dorp (2011)
    • No-Place is Everywhere: The Infinite Limits of Thomas More’s Utopia (2009)
    • A Dialectical Poetic: More's Utopia and the Discourse of Opposition (2009)
    • Erasmus, More, and Dorp: Intertextual Questions and Responses (2006)
    • Philosophers and Fools: Learned Ignorance and Socratic Method in Nicholas of Cusa, Erasmus, and Thomas More (2004)


    • The Sage and the Fool: Antithesis, Paradoxy, and Reconciliation in a Dialectical Poetics of ‘Moriasophia’ (2012)"

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