Sarah Case joined the Harvard College Writing Program in 2018, after completing her Ph.D. in the Princeton English Department. Her research focuses on the relationship between literature and politics in early modern England, in addition to early modern poetics and the history of the book. She received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her M.Phil. from Christ’s College, Cambridge.
Her current project explores the role that poetry played in debates about the succession during the reign of England’s Elizabeth I. Starting with the writings of Elizabeth herself, who was an accomplished poet, the project looks at how the “Virgin Queen” was represented in the later years of her reign. While poets like Edmund Spenser and Sir Philip Sidney are often credited with creating this persona, this project argues that their poetry played an important role in questioning the unsettled succession by drawing a connection between Elizabeth’s body natural and discourses about poetic immortality. In addition to reading the works of familiar authors (Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare), this project draws on a number of archival materials. Because discussion of the succession was punishable as treason, anonymous manuscript sources provide remarkable insight into how Elizabethans debated the succession despite such restrictions.
In the Writing Program, she teaches engaged scholarship courses that explore the intersection of climate change and environmental justice. For this teaching, she has received a Mindich Program in Engaged Scholar Curricular Innovation Award. She also serves as a Faculty Directory of the Writing and Public Service Initiative.