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Erika Boeckeler

Headshot of Erika Boeckeler

Associate Professor of English; Graduate Program Director

Erika Boeckeler’s work spans multiple genres and disciplines: Shakespeare, early modern poetry, History of the Book, sixteenth century German art history, early Slavic print culture. Her book, Playful Letters: A Study in Early Modern Alphabetics (University of Iowa Press, 2017), argues that artistic experimentation with the alphabet had a sweeping impact on the intellectual and social history of the early modern period. The linking of letters and typography with bodies produced a new kind of literacy in audiences, which in turn expanded narrative possibilities.

Dr. Boeckeler has published on widows and their printers’ devices, the poetic typography of the first printed Hamlet, painted writing in German portraiture, on the first architectural alphabet, on teaching in the archives, among other topics. Her current book project, Writing on Things, considers how literary forms influence material forms and vice versa, a chiasmus that foregrounds this inquiry into how writing and its media collide in such a way as to alter them both. A parallel book project shaped by feminist and anti-racist bibliography examines the poetics of typography and the visual features –such as printers’ devices and pictorial type—of early modern books. She is also the editor of Shakespeare’s poem, “A Louers Complaint,” at Internet Shakespeare Editions.  Her research has received numerous national and international awards.

Digital Projects: (international collaborative annotation of the plays) (early print playtexts edited by students) (on Northeastern’s medieval manuscript)

Northeastern University Humanities Center Faculty Fellow

Harvard Dept. of Comparative Lit. First Book Publication Subsidy
ACLA First Book Subvention Funds

Wellesley Newhouse Center for the Humanities Fellow

Huntington Library Barbara Thom Postdoctoral Fellowship

Folger Shakespeare Library Short-Term Fellowship

NEH Summer Seminar Participant, “The Reformation of the Book”

Whiting Dissertation Completion Fellowship
Harvard University English Department, Winthrop Sargent Prize in Shakespeare
Harvard University English Department, William Harris Arnold and Gertrude Arnold Weld Prize in Book History

• Playful Letters: A Study in Early Modern Alphabetics, University of Iowa Press, 2017. Series Impressions: Studies in the Art, Culture, and Future of Books

Articles & Book Chapters
Left to Their Own Devices: Sixteenth-century Widows and Their Printers’ Devices in Women’s Labour and the History of the Book in Early Modern England, ed Valerie Wayne; Bloomsbury Press, Arden Shakespeare Series, 2020.

Alphabets Routledge Encyclopedia of the Renaissance World, subject ed. Wendy Beth Hyman, Routledge, forthcoming Fall 2020.

• “Comb Poems in Dynamic Matter: Renaissance Travelling Objects, ed Jennifer Linhart Wood; Pennsylvania State University Press, Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies Series, in press, forthcoming 2021

The Hamlet First Quarto (1603) & the Play of Typography Early Theatre, v21.1 (2018): 59-86. (awarded Honorable Mention for 2019 Best Interpretive Essay, Vols 20-2; will be reprinted in Routledge Handbook of Shakespeare and Interface, eds. Paul Budra, Clifford Werier)

Staging the Alphabet in Shakespeare’s Comedies in Journal of the Wooden O, 14-15(2015): 21-42

The Big and the Small of It: Engaging Large Groups with Hands-On Details in Using Primary Sources: Hands-On Instructional Exercises, eds Anne Bahde, Heather Smedberg Mattie Taormina; Libraries Unlimited, March, 2014. *Co-authored with Northeastern University Assistant Head for Arts and Humanities Librarian Amanda Rust & former Assistant Archivist Michelle Romero

Painting Writing in Albrecht Dürer’s Self-Portrait of 1500 Word & Image, 28.1 (2012): 30-56.

Building Meaning: The First Architectural Alphabet in Push Me, Pull You: Art and Devotional Interaction in Late Medieval & Early Modern Europe, eds S. Blick & L. Gelfand; E.J. Brill, May 2011. 149-195.

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Course catalog
  • Offers a foundational course designed for English majors. Introduces the methods and topics of English literary and textual studies, including allied media (e.g., film, graphic narrative). Explores strategies for reading, interpreting, and theorizing about texts; for conducting research; for developing skills in thinking analytically and writing clearly about complex ideas; and for entering into written dialogue with scholarship in the diverse fields that comprise literary studies.