Thomas Anderson

Thomas Anderson


Director, Office of Prestigious External Scholarships,
Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs,
College of Arts & Sciences


Department of English
P.O. Box E
Mississippi State, MS 39762


  • Ph.D. 2002 Vanderbilt University
  • M.A. 2000 Vanderbilt University
  • M.A. 1998 Pennsylvania State University
  • B.A. 1990 English Literature, History, Vanderbilt University

Teaching Interests

Shakespeare, Critical Theory, Early Modern British Literature

Recent Courses


Thomas Anderson specializes in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century British literature, especially drama from Shakespeare and his contemporaries. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Shakespeare and the first half of the British literature survey. His recent graduate classes have focused on staged violence in Renaissance revenge drama and on the implications of “presentists” critical approaches to the study of Shakespeare. He is co-editor (with Ryan Netzley) of Acts of Reading: Interpretation, Reading Practices, and the Idea of the Book in John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments, and author of Performing Early Modern Trauma from Shakespeare to Milton, which explores the intersection between cultural memory and history from the Reformation to the regicide in early modern England. His current book—Shakespeare’s Fugitive Politics—examines the relationship among friendship, politics, and sovereignty in King John, Coriolanus, Henry V, Titus, and Julius Caesar. Anderson also teaches in the cursus honorum in the Shackouls Honors College, and he served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in the English Department from 2007 through summer 2013.



Shakespeare's Fugitive PoliticsShakespeare’s Fugitive Politics (Edinburgh University Press, 2016).

“Shakespeare’s Fugitive Politics [….] defines ‘fugitive politics’ as ‘dissensual’, where dissent is understood as a resistance to consensus. In this respect the fugitive is distinguished from mainstream forms of protest, which usually carry the assertion of a counter-consensus of political truth behind their action. Anderson notes that no consensus or counter-consensus can be located in Shakespeare, and concludes that, for Shakespeare, politics is something that emerges as a fleeting philosophical formula where the consensual no longer endures. (p. 102). In respect of this methodical approach, which is consistent throughout the volume, it is clear that Anderson engages with his subject conscientiously, and uses his examples to build a convincing and valuable argument.” --The Year’s Work in English Studies, 2018             

“Shakespeare’s Fugitive Politics makes a significant intervention by assembling a new critical vocabulary for talking about Shakespeare’s political imagination.”
Studies in English Literature

Performing Early Modern Trauma from Shakespeare to MiltonPerforming Early Modern Trauma from Shakespeare to Milton (Ashgate, 2006).  Reviewed in Shakespeare Quarterly, Comparative Drama, Studies in English Literature, Sewanee Review, Review of English Studies, Renaissance Quarterly, College Literature, Shakespeare Survey.
(For a review of my book: Shakespeare Quarterly)

“Anderson's work is striking... engages a wide swath of English Renaissance literature and history with theoretical insight and sensitivity to close detail... this book offers a substantial correction to contextualizing scholarship by tackling the literary presentation of history from a theoretical – principally psychoanalytic – perspective, weaves together an impressive array of texts, and provides original, sharp close readings.” Shakespeare Quarterly

“… each of the book's chapters offers the reader illuminating readings that are as attentive to the literary as to the historical in their working out of the overall argument's logic… Anderson's book will be of interest not only to scholars working in the field of early modern English literature and culture but also to those who are interested in the intersection of trauma theory and pre-twentieth-century history.” Renaissance Quarterly

“Anderson's highly stimulating book thoughtfully engages with contemporary theory at the same as it shows the author’s in-depth knowledge of a range of early modern English authors…” College Literature

Acts of Reading: Interpretation, Reading Practices, and the Idea of the Book in John Foxe's Actes and MonumentsActs of Reading: Interpretation, Reading Practices, and the Idea of the Book in John Foxe's Actes and Monuments, co-editor with Ryan Netzley (U of Delaware P, 2010).

"Each contributor brings a special mastery to his or her essay, suggesting that a genuine conversation [about Foxe] between peers is now possible . . . . offers scholars of Foxe and students new to his work a set of valuable examinations of the Book of Martyrs." Clio

"This valuable collection serves a dual purpose: it illuminates the many challenges and opportunities created by interpreting Foxe's monumental book both in a digital age and in his own culture. " Studies in English Literature

Articles and Book Chapters

  • "Cute Coriolanus," Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, Special Issue titled "Cute Shakespeare," co-edited with Julia Lupton. 16.2 (2016).
  • "'Here's a Strange Alteration!': Hospitality, Friendship, and Sovereignty in Coriolanus," in Shakespeare and Hospitality: Ethics, Politics, and Exchange, Julia Lupton and David Goldstein, eds (Routledge, 2016).​
  • "'Ay me, this object kills me!' Julie Taymor's Cinematic Blazon in Titus." In Staging the Blazon in Early Modern Theater (Ashgate, 2013) Pp. 108-122.
  • "Surpassing the King's Two Bodies in Marlowe's Edward II: Perpetual Sovereignty and the Specter of the Royal Funeral Effigy." Shakespeare Bulletin. 32.4 (2014): 585-611.​
  • "Titus, Broadway, and Disney's Magic Capitalism, Or the Wonderful World of Julie Taymor." College Literature. 40.1 (2013): 66-95. (For Project muse subscription holders:
  • "Rue with a Difference: A Stylistic Analysis of the Rhetoric of Suicide in Hamlet." Co-authored with Scott Crossley. In Language and Style in Shakespeare: New Insights, eds. Jonathan Culpepper and Mireille Ravassat (Continuum Press, 2011) Pp 192-214.
  • "Transmuting the Book: A Theory of the Archive and the Search for Origins in Foxe's Actes & Monuments." In Acts of Reading: Interpretation, Reading Practices, and the Idea of the Book in John Foxe's Actes and Monuments. Pp 31-50 (U of Delaware P, 2010).
  • "Introduction: Actes of Reading." Co-authored with Ryan Netzley. In Acts of Reading: Interpretation, Reading Practices, and the Idea of the Book in John Foxe's Actes and Monuments. Pp 11-28. (University of Delaware P, 2010).
  • "Writing Royal Effigies in the Poetry of Webster and Marvell." 35.3 (2005) English Literary Renaissance. Pp. 507-531.
  • "'All Things Visible in Heaven, Or Earth': Reading the Illustrations of the 1688 Edition of Paradise Lost."38.3 (2004) Milton Quarterly. Pp. 157-81. [PDF]
  • "Class, Class Consciousness, and the Specter of Marx in Shakespeare's History Plays." Literature Compass. 1.1 (2004). Pp. 1-11.
  • "'Legitimation, Name, and All Is Gone': Bastardy and Bureaucracy in Shakespeare's King John." 4.2 (2004). Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies. Pp. 35-61.
  • "'What Is Written Shall Be Executed': Nude Contracts and 'Lively Warrants' in Titus Andronicus." 45.3 (2003). Criticism. Pp. 301-321. ( For JSTOR subscription holders:

Professional Honors and Awards

  • Phil and Kari Oldham Outstanding Mentor Award in the College of Arts & Sciences, 2015.
  • Mississippi Humanities Council Humanities Teacher Award, 2014.
  • Research Fellowship, The Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, University of Tennessee, July, 2013.
  • Dean's Eminent Scholar Award from the College of Arts and Sciences, 2011-2012
  • Humanities Researcher of the Year, College of Arts & Sciences, Mississippi State University, 2010.
  • Outstanding Faculty Award. Shackouls Honors College, MSU.
  • Department of English, Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Career. Vanderbilt University.
  • Award for Outstanding Teaching, Graduate Instructor in the College of Arts & Science, 2001. Vanderbilt University.

Professional Service

  • Book Review Editor, Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies
  • Ad Hoc Referee
    • Early Modern Literary Studies
    • Digital Studies/Le champ numérique
    • Shakespeare
    • Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies
    • Early Theater

Faculty & Staff