Carol Thomas Neely

Emeritus Professor of English


Gender/Sexuality Studies, Seventeenth Century, Sixteenth Century, Theory & Criticism, Women's Literature


Carol Thomas Neely received her PhD from Smith College in 1961 and her PhD from Yale University in 1969. She taught at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign from 1965-73 and 1988-2011 and at Illinois State University from 1975-76 and 1981-88. Her research has focused on Renaissance drama, especially Shakespeare, and poetry, especially the sonnets, and feminist criticism and theory. She has been Trustee and President of the Shakespeare Association of America, has been on the editorial boards of PMLA and Shakespeare Quarterly and has written program notes, lectured, taught, and led discussions in conjunction with Shakespeare theaters and festivals in Stratford, Canada, Chicago, Colorado, New Jersey, Clemson and, most often at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • Renaissance Drama especially Shakespeare, Shakespeare Adaptations, Renaissance Poetry, especially sonnets, Feminist criticism and Theory, Queer Theory



  • Distracted Subjects: Madness and Gender in Shakespeare and Early Modern Culture. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994.
  • Broken Nuptials in Shakespeare's Plays. Reprinted in Paperback with New Preface. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.
  • Broken Nuptials in Shakespeare's Plays. . New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985.

Book Contributions

  • "Revengers Tragedies: Affairs Between Men." The Revenger’s Tragedy: A Critical Reader. Ed. Brian Walsh. London: Bloomsbury, 2016. 143-65.
  • "‘Strange Things in Hand’: Perverse Pleasures and Erotic Triangles in The Merry Wives of Windsor." The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Embodiment: Gender, Sexuality, and Race. Ed. Valerie Traub. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. 318-332.
  • "‘Distracted Measures’: madness and theatricality in Middleton." Thomas Middleton in Context. Ed. Suzanne Gossett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. 306-313.

Edited Books

  • Neely, Carol T., Gayle Greene, and Carolyn Ruth S. Lenz. The Woman's Part: Feminist Criticism of Shakespeare. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1980.

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