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Professor Peter Mack

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Email: p dot w dot d dot mack at warwick dot ac dot uk

Humanities Building, University Road
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL


Professor Peter Mack is Professor, and teaches on the English and Comparative Literary Studies program. Professor Mack is on secondment as the Director of the Warburg Institute, London until at least October 2014.

Research interests

My research interests include Medieval and Renaissance European intellectual, cultural and literary history, and especially rhetoric. Most of my publications - among them, Renaissance Argument: Valla and Agricola in the Traditions of Rhetoric and Dialectic (1993) – have been in fields connected with Renaissance rhetoric and dialectic. I have also published on rhetoric and literature, and on Chaucer. I have published a series of articles on fifteenth-and-sixteenth-century practices of reading. My Elizabethan Rhetoric (2002) studies the impact of grammar school and university training on Early Modern Practices of reading and writing in ethics, history, politics and religion. I was editor of Rhetorica (University of California Press) 1998-2002. Recent publications include a study of the ways in which Montaigne and Shakespeare used their training in rhetoric and their wider reading (2010) and the first comprehensive history of renaissance rhetoric, A History of Renaissance Rhetoric 1380-1620. I am currently editing volumes of essays on the intellectual heritage of the British Art Historian Michael Baxandall and on the afterlives of Ovid and Plutarch. Future plans include studies of the ways in which European writers have confronted the questions posed by rhetorical theory and a new edition of Rudolph Agricola's De inventione dialectica (1479), the most important renaissance contribution to rhetorical theory with commentary and English translation, to be prepared in collaboration with Marc van der Poel (RU Nijmegen). In 2012 I gave the E. H. Gombrich Lectures in Hangzhou (China) on Rhetorical Theory and Renaissance Painting.

Selected publications

  • ed. (with Edward Chaney), England and the Continental Renaissance: Essays in Honour of J. B. Trapp (1990)
  • Renaissance Argument: Valla and Agricola in the Traditions of Rhetoric and Dialectic (1993)
  • ed., Renaissance Rhetoric (1994)
  • ed. (with Chris Walton), The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales (1994)
  • ed. (with Chris Walton), The Miller’s Tale (1995)
  • ed. (with Andy Hawkins) The Nun’s Priest’s Tale (1996)
  • Elizabethan Rhetoric: Theory and Practice (2002)
  • Reading and Rhetoric in Montaigne and Shakespeare (2010)
  • A History of Renaissance Rhetoric 1380-1620 (2011)

Professional associations

  • Fellow of the British Academy


  • MA (Oxford)
  • MPhil, PhD (Warburg Institute, London)
  • DLitt (Warwick)

Office hours

Monday: 11-12pm
Tuesday: 2-3pm