Peter Mack


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



Peter Mack studied English Language and Literature at St Peter’s College Oxford, 1973-76, followed by the MPhil in Combined Historical Studies (The Renaissance) at the Warburg Institute. He had a year’s Leverhulme European Studentship at the Institute of Philosophy, University of Rome and the Vatican Library, 1978-9. He did his PhD part-time at the Warburg Institute, 1979-83. He was appointed Lecturer in English and Comparative Literature at the University of Warwick in September 1979, progressing as Senior Lecturer and Reader, before being promoted to Professor in January 2001. He served as Chair of the Arts Faculty 1995-98 and Chair of the English Department 2001-4. In 2010 he was appointed as Director of the Warburg Institute, and Professor of the History of the Classical Tradition in the University of London, on secondment from his Chair at Warwick.

Research Interests

The history of rhetoric and logic in the renaissance, renaissance thought, rhetoric and renaissance culture, the impact of the classical tradition on renaissance European literature, renaissance rhetorical theory as an approach to analysing renaissance culture and European literature.

Academic Background

1976 BA in English Language and Literature, St Peter’s College, University of Oxford

1978 MPhil in Combined Historical Studies (The Renaissance) Warburg Institute, University of London

1978-9 Leverhulme European Research Fellow, Department of Philosophy, University of Rome (La Sapienza)

1979 Lecturer in English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick

1983 PhD in Combined Historical Studies (The Renaissance) Warburg Institute University of London

1994 Senior Lecturer in English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick

1995-98 Chair of the Faculty of Arts, University of Warwick

1998-2002 Editor, Rhetorica

1998 Reader in English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick

2000 Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick

2001-4 Chair, Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick

2004-6 British Academy Research Reader

2010 Director, The Warburg Institute and Professor of the History of the Classical Tradition, University of London

2012 Fellow of the British Academy

Selected Publications

a) Books:

Renaissance Argument: Valla and Agricola in the Traditions of Rhetoric and Dialectic (Leiden, 1993), xii + 395pp.

Elizabethan Rhetoric: Theory and Practice (Cambridge, 2002) xii + 326pp.

Elizabethan Rhetoric: Theory and Practice, paperback edition (Cambridge 2005)

Reading and Rhetoric in Montaigne and Shakespeare (London, 2010) xiv + 210pp.

A History of Renaissance Rhetoric 1380-1620 (Oxford, 2011) x + 346pp.

b) Edited books and editions:

(with E. Chaney), England and the Continental Renaissance: Essays in Honour of J. B. Trapp (Woodbridge, 1990), xiv + 322 + 54 pp.

Renaissance Rhetoric (London, 1994), xiii + 188 pp.

(with Chris Walton) The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales (Oxford, 1994), viii + 152pp

(with Chris Walton) The Miller’s Tale (Oxford, 1995), viii + 168pp.

(with Andy Hawkins) The Nun’s Priest’s Tale (Oxford, 1996) viii + 138pp.

(with Andy Hawkins) The Nun’s Priest’s Tale, 2nd edition (Oxford, 2006) viii + 145pp.

(with Chris Walton) The Miller’s Tale, 2nd edition (Oxford, 2007) viii + 196pp.

(with Chris Walton) The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, 2nd edition (Oxford, 2008), vi + 185pp

c) Journal edited:

Rhetorica, vols XVI (1998), XVII (1999), XVIII (2000), XIX (2001) XX (2002) c. 450 pp. each

d) Articles:

‘Valla’s Dialectic in the North: A Commentary on Peter of Spain by Gerardus Listrius’, Vivarium, 21 (1983), 58-72

‘The Dialogue in English Education of the Sixteenth Century’, in M. T. Jones-Davies ed., Le Dialogue au temps de la renaissance (Paris, 1984), 189-212

‘Rudolph Agricola’s Reading of Literature’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 48 (1985), 23-41

‘Rudolph Agricola’s Topics’, in F. Akkerman and A. J. Vanderjagt eds, Rodophus Agricola Phrisius (1444-1485) (Leiden, 1988), 257-69

‘Rhetoric and Liturgy’, in D. Jasper and R. C. D. Jasper eds, Language and the Worship of the Church (London, 1990), 82-109

‘Rudolph Agricola’, in H-G Roloff ed., Die Deutsche Literatur, II (Bern 1991), 582-626

‘Valla’s Dialectic in the North 2: Further Commentaries’, Vivarium, 30 (1992), 256-75

‘Agricola’s Use of the Comparison between Writing and the Visual Arts’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 56 (1992), 169-79

‘Rhetoric and Dialectic in the Renaissance’, Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies, 11, 1 (September 1993), 1-5

‘Agricola’s Dialectic and the Tradition of Rhetoric’, in F. Akkerman, G. C. Huisman, A. J. Vanderjagt eds, Wessel Gansfort (1419-1489) and Northern Humanism (Leiden, 1993), 273-90

‘Rhetoric in Use: Three Romances by Greene and Lodge’, in P. Mack ed., Renaissance Rhetoric (London, 1994), 119-38

‘Addison’s Essays as Models for Composition in School Anthologies and Textbooks of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries’, Paradigm, 13 (1994), 42-54

‘Rhetoric and the Essay’, Rhetoric Society Journal, 23:2 (1993), 41-49 (actually 1994)

‘Understanding the Rhetoric Textbook’, Meesterwerk, 1 (1994), 22-28

‘Renaissance Habits of Reading’, in S. Chaudhuri ed., Renaissance Essays for Kitty Scoular Datta (Calcutta, 1995), 1-25

‘Theory and Practice in Rudolph Agricola’, in J. Koopmans, M. A. Meadow, K. Meerhoff and M. Spies eds, Rhetoric – Rhétoriqueurs – Rederijkers (Amsterdam, 1995), 39-52

‘Authors’ Disclaimers and Attitudes to Fiction’, TLS, 4837 (15 December 1995), 12-13

‘Humanist rhetoric and dialectic’, in J. Kraye ed., The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism (Cambridge, 1996), 82-99

‘The Scholars’ Tales’, TLS, 4853 (5 April 1996), 23-24

‘Agricola and the early versions of Ramus’s Dialectic’, in K. Meerhoff, J. Moisan eds, Autour de Ramus (Quebec, 1997), 17-35

‘The Swan of Leek?’, TLS, 4942 (19 December 1997), 10-11

‘La retorica y la dialectica humanisticas’ in J. Kraye ed., Introduccion al humanismo renacentista (Madrid, 1998), 115-36 (translation of 1996 essay)

‘Aristotle’s Rhetoric and Northern Humanist Textbooks: Agricola, Erasmus, melanchthon and Ramus’, in G. Dahan and I. Rosier-Catach eds, La rhétorique d’ Aristote: traditions et commentaires de l’ antiquité au xviie siècle (Paris, 1998), 299-313

‘Agricola, Rudolph’, ‘Melanchthon, Philipp’, ‘Ramus, Petrus’, in Edward Craig ed., The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 10 vols (London, 1998), I, 123-26, VI, 288-92, VIII, 51-55 (total c. 7,000 words)

‘The Sun and the Other Stars’, TLS 4997 (8 January 1999) 10-11

‘Ramus Reading: The Commentaries on Cicero’s Orations and Vergil’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes LXI (1998) 111-41 (actually 1999)

‘Synoiceosis and Antithesis in The Winter’s Tale’, in P. L. Oesterreich and T. O. Sloane eds, Rhetorica Movet (Leiden, 1999), 187-97

‘Rudolph Agricola’s Christmas Sermon’, in Z. von Martels, P. Steenbakkers and A. Vanderjagt eds, Limae labor et mora (Leende, 2000) 45-54

“Rhetoric and Poetry”, in T. Sloane ed., Encyclopaedia of Rhetoric (New York, 2001), 603-12.

“Elizabethan Parliamentary Oratory”, Huntington Library Quarterly 64:1-2 (2001) 23-61 (actually 2002)

“Melanchthon’s Commentaries on Latin Literature”, in G. Frank and K. Meerhoff eds, Melanchthon und Europa, 2, Westeuropa (Stuttgart, 2002) 29-52

“Le ramisme à Oxford au 16ème siècle”, en K. Meerhoff et M.Magnien eds, Ramus et l’université (Paris, 2004), pp. 121-30.

“Argument and Emotion in Troilus and Criseyde”, in Scott Troyan ed., Medieval Rhetoric: A Casebook (New York: Routledge, 2004), pp. 109-26

“Early Modern Ideas of Imagination: the Rhetorical Tradition”, in Lodi Nauta and Detlev Pätzold eds, Imagination in the Later Middle Ages and Early Modern Times (Leuven: Peeters, 2004), pp. 59-76

“Rhetoric, Ethics and Reading in the Renaissance”, Renaissance Studies 19 (2005), pp. 1-21

“Vives’s De arte dicendi: Structure, Innovations, Problems”, Rhetorica 23 (2005), pp. 65-92.

“Rudolph Agricola’s Contribution to Rhetorical Theory”, in P. Bizzell ed., Rhetorical Agendas: Political, Ethical, Spiritual (Mahwah NJ, 2006), pp. 25-40

“Education, Humanism and Rhetoric”, in Donna Hamilton ed., A Concise Companion to English Renaissance Literature (Oxford, 2006), pp. 94-113

“Declamation in Renaissance England”, in L. Calboli Montefusco ed., Declamation, Papers in Rhetoric 8 (Rome, 2007), pp. 129-55

“Rhetoric and Dialectic in the Renaissance”, in J. Powell ed., Logos: Rational Argument in Classical Rhetoric, BICS Supplement 96 (Institute of Classical Studies, 2007), pp. 91-103

“Rhetoric and Dialectic”, The International Encyclopedia of Communication, ed. W. Donsbach (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), pp. 4224-8.

“Vives’s Contributions to Rhetoric and Dialectic” in C. Fantazzi ed., A Companion to Juan Luis Vives (Leiden, 2008), pp. 227-76.

“Rhetoric and Politics in the Elizabethan Parliament”, J. Feuchter and J. Helmrath eds, Politische Redekultur in der Vormoderne (Frankfurt, 2008), pp. 173-87.

“Montaigne and Christian Humanism”, in A. MacDonald, Z. von Martels and J. Veenstra eds, Christian Humanism: Essays in Honour of A. J. Vanderjagt (Leiden, 2009), pp. 199-209.

“Rediscoveries of Classical Rhetoric”, in E. Gunderson ed., The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Rhetoric (Cambridge, 2009), pp. 261-77.

“Dialectic”, in A. Grafton, G. Most and S. Settis eds, The Classical Tradition (Cambridge MA, 2010), pp. 265-6.

“Rhetoric and the Elizabethan Theatre”, in B. Fernandes Pereira ed., Retórica e Teatro (Porto: U Porto Editorial, 2010), pp. 263-78.

“Spenser and Rhetoric”, in R. McCabe ed., The Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser (Oxford, 2010), pp. 420-36.

“Montaigne and Shakespeare: Source, Parallel or Comparison?”, Montaigne Studies (2011), pp. 151-80.

“Ramus and Ramism: Rhetoric and Dialectic”, in S. Reid and E. Wilson eds, Ramus, Pedagogy and the Liberal Arts (Aldershot, 2011), pp. 7-24

“Marston and Webster’s Use of Florio’s Montaigne”, Montaigne Studies 24 (2012), pp. 67-82

“Campanella’s Rhetoric”, Bruniana &Campanelliana, 18:1 (2012), pp. 7-24

“Returning to the Library”, Common Knowledge. 18:1 (2012), pp. 17-21.

“Erasmus’s contribution to rhetoric and rhetoric in Erasmus’s writings”, Erasmus of Rotterdam Society Yearbook, Vol.32 (2012), pp. 27-45

“Montaigne and Florio”, in A. Hadfield ed., The Oxford Handbook of English Prose 1500-1640 (Oxford, 2013) pp. 77-90.

P. Mack, “Informal Ethics in the Renaissance”, in S. Ebbersmeyer and D. Lines ed., Rethinking Virtue, Reforming Society. New Directions in Renaissance Ethics (Turnhout, 2013), pp.

P. Mack, “Mimesis”, Art Bulletin 95: 2 (2013), pp. 208-9.

Papers in Press:

“Madness, Proverbial Wisdom and Philosophy in King Lear”, in Cox and Davis ed., Shakespeare and Philosophy,

“Humanism, Education and Scholarship” and “Classical Rhetoric in English Literature” both in P. Cheney and P. Hardie eds., The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature, vol 2, 1558-1660,

“Rhetoric and Renaissance Education”, in M. MacDonald ed., The Oxford Handbook to Rhetoric.

“Pattern and Individual: Limewood Sculptors and A Grasp of Kaspar”, in P. Mack and R. Williams eds, Visual Interests: the Intellectual Legacy of Michael Baxandall

“Erasmus’s Use of George Trapezuntius of Crete in De conscribendis epistolis”, in A. Frazier ed. Essays on Renaissance Thought and Letters: Festschrift for John Monfasani.

e) Reviews for Classical Review, Modern Language Review, Yearbook of English Studies, Journal of the History of Philosophy, The Library, Renaissance Studies, Rhetorica, Revue des langues romanes, TLS, Review of Theological Studies.

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