Marissa Nicosia

Marissa Nicosia

Visiting Assistant Professor of English

Department: English


Personal Website: Click here

Academic History

  • B.A. Barnard College
  • M.A., Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania

Areas of Expertise

  • Early modern English literature;
  • book history and media studies;
  • Shakespeare;
  • Milton;
  • early modern political history and philosophy

Selected Research and Publications

Current book project

  • “a Historie, couch’d in a Play”: Historical Futures in Seventeenth-Century Drama


  • “Couplets, commonplaces and the creation of history in The Famous Tragedie of King Charles I (1649) and Cromwell’s Conspiracy (1660).” From Republic to Restoration: Legacies and Departures, ed. Janet Clare (Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2014).
  • “Reading Spenser in 1648: Prophecy and History in Samuel Sheppard’s Faerie Leveller.” Modern Philology, forthcoming.
  • Monstrous News: the futures of the Mistris Parliament plays,” The Appendix: a new journal of  narrative & experimental history, July 2014.

Pedagogical Companion

  • Shakespeare’s Works: A Comprehensive Guide for Students, short essays and explanatory notes on The Two Noble Kinsmen in the updated Greenwood Companion to Shakespeare (ABC-CLIO, forthcoming 2015).

Awards and Honors

  • Andrew W. Mellon - Rare Book School Fellowship in Critical Bibliography (2013-2015)


My teaching and scholarship focus on early modern English literature. In my research and my courses I approach the literary innovations of authors, including Shakespeare, Milton, and their lesser-known contemporaries, through the history of how their works were printed, performed, and read by their earliest audiences. My current book project “‘a Historie, couch’d in a Play’: Historical Futures in Seventeenth-Century Drama,” examines seventeenth-century historical drama to argue that playwrights often represented the future as if it were already past to translate political aspiration into compelling historical fact. By forging “historical futures,” playwrights used the unique capacity of literary forms to stage distinctly partisan resolutions to current conflicts about succession, allegiance, and justice.

Archival oddities, and modern responses to them, continue to fuel my investment in book history and manuscript studies. Through the Andrew W. Mellon- Rare Book School Fellowship in Critical Bibliography, I have taken courses at The Rare Book School at the University of Virginia and explored new approaches to early modern materials. I am currently putting this training to use by collaborating with Alyssa Connell (UPenn) on a public history digital humanities project “Cooking in the Archives: Updating Early Modern Recipes (1600-1800) in a Modern Kitchen”. Our project curates transcribed and updated recipes from early modern English household manuscripts for an audience including food historians, students researching early modern culture, culinary enthusiasts, and the general public. I am also a Contributing Editor at The Appendix: a new journal of narrative & experimental history.

Courses Taught

  • Elizabethan Shakespeare
  • Survey British Literature Part 1