Professor Peter McCullough

Professor Peter McCullough

Sohmer Fellow, Tutor in English Literature, Sub-Rector, Fellow Archivist

Academic Profile

I joined Lincoln in 1997 to teach English literature in the period 1509 - 1740: the portion of the English syllabus which falls between the medieval period taught by my colleague, Dr Daniel McCann, and the Romantic and later periods taught by Dr Timothy Michael. I am the senior English fellow and oversee teaching and administration of the subject in College.

My arrival at Lincoln marked the end of a steady eastward progress. Born and raised in northern California, I took my first degree in 1987 at the University of California Los Angeles ("UCLA"), followed by a Ph.D. (1992) and two years of post-doctoral teaching at Princeton University. From 1994-97 I was a Junior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Oxford, where I was first introduced to the Oxford English course and taught the same papers that I now teach at Lincoln:

English Literature from 1550 - 1660

English Literature from 1660 - 1760


As a Professor and University Lecturer I also offer undergraduate lectures in the English Faculty. These reflect my research as well as authors and topics of more general interest in the early modern period:

Religion and Literature,1540-1660

John Donne the Preacher

John Dryden's Poetry.

I supervise post-graduate research students whose projects focus on the non- dramatic (and especially the religious) literature of the late Tudor and early Stuart period. Dissertations I have directed include Erica Longfellow, published as Women and Religious Writing in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2004); Beatrice Groves, published as Texts and Traditions: Religion and Shakespeare, 1592-1604 (Oxford, 2007); Emma Rhatigan, 'John Donne's Lincoln's Inn Sermons' (D.Phil. 2006; forthcoming, Oxford); and Kathryn Murphy, 'Aves quaedam Macedonicae: Misreading Aristotle in Francis Bacon, Robert Burton, Thomas Browne, and Thomas Traherne' (D.Phil. 2009). I also contribute seminar courses for the M.St. in Early Modern Literature, most recently on the sermons of Lancelot Andrewes and John Donne.


Research Interests

My research focuses on the Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Caroline periods of English literary history (1558-1649). I am convinced that all art, including literature, is best understood in terms of the historical context that produced it, and my research, like my teaching, would be broadly described as "historical". But I also believe that studying historical context should not overtake or obscure our appreciation of the formal and aesthetic qualities of literature. To that end, my work seeks to reconstruct the cultural contexts that produced literature in Renaissance England as a way to understand better its artistic forms. I have been particularly interested in the way that religion, both in its political and doctrinal aspects, contributed to England's literary Renaissance. My research focusses on the important early modern genre of the sermon, with a particular interest in the life and works of Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626) and John Donne (1572-1631). My selected edition of Andrewes's sermons and lectures (2005) presents works by this author for the first time with full critical apparatus. I am now at work on a new full-scale biography of Andrewes. In 2006 I was appointed by Oxford University Press as the General Editor of The Oxford Edition of the Sermons of John Donne, a completely new, and (for the first time) fully annotated edition of the 160 sermons written by Donne, in 16 projected volumes, four of which have appeared. Work on the edition was funded by a Major Research Grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, of which I was the Principle Investigator. I have also edited, with Hugh Adlington and Emma Rhatigan, The Oxford Handbook of the Early Modern Sermon (2010), which gathers essays by over thirty contributors to survey for students and scholars the complexities and richnesses (literary, historical, and theological) of preaching in the British Isles, 1500 - 1740. I also have a strong interest in book history, in particular the ways that religion influenced the book trade before the Civil War.

In 2017-18 I hold a British Academy Senior Research Fellowship for the completion of Lancelot Andrewes: A Life (OUP).



'Robert Veysey of Chimney: "From Nothing to a Very Great Estate"?', Oxoniensia, vol. LXXXII (2017)

‘Avant-Garde Conformity in the 1590s’, in Anthony Milton, ed., The Oxford History of Anglicanism, Vol. I. Reformation and Identity c. 1520-1662 (OUP, 2017)

ed., The Oxford Edition of the Sermons of John Donne. Volume I: Sermons Preached at the Jacobean Courts, 1615-19 (OUP, 2015)

ed., with Hugh Adlington and Emma Rhatigan, The Oxford Handbook of the Early Modern Sermon (OUP, 2011).

'Text and Context:  John Donne's Sermon for the Funerals of Sir William Cokayne', in McCullough, Adlington and Rhatigan, eds., The Oxford Handbook of the Early Modern Sermon (OUP, 2011)

'Andrewes: Liturgy, Music & Sermon', in Alec Ryrie, ed., Worship and the Parish Church (forthcoming, Ashgate, 2012)

'Donne and Court Chaplaincy' in Jeanne Shami et al eds., The Oxford Handbook of Donne Studies (OUP, 2011)

‘Print, Publication, and Religious Politics in Caroline England’, Historical Journal, vol. 51.2 (June 2008), 285-313

‘Lancelot Andrewes’s Transforming Passions’, Huntington Library Quarterly, special issue, ‘Religion & Cultural Transformation in Early Modern England’, vol. 71, no. 4 (2008)

'Christmas at Elsinore’, Essays in Criticism, vol. 58, no. 4 (2008)

'Donne as Preacher', in The Cambridge Companion to John Donne, ed. Achsah Guibbory (Cambridge University Press, 2006)

ed., Lancelot Andrewes: Selected Sermons and Lectures (Oxford University Press, 2005).

ed., with Lori Anne Ferrell, The English Sermon Revised: New Studies in Early Modern Preaching (Manchester University Press, 2000).

Sermons at Court: Politics and Religion in Elizabethan and Jacobean Preaching (Cambridge University Press, 1998).

'Out of Egypt: Richard Fletcher's Sermon before Elizabeth I on the Execution of Mary Queen of Scots', in Julia Walker, ed., Dissing Elizabeth: Negative Representations of Gloriana (Duke University Press, 1998).

'Making Dead Men Speak: Laudianism, Print, and the Works of Lancelot Andrewes, 1626-1642', Historical Journal 41(1998).

'Lancelot Andrewes and Language', Anglican Theological Review 74 (1992).

Numerous entries for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.


Work in Progress

Gen. ed., The Oxford Edition of the Sermons of John Donne, 16 vols. (Oxford University Press).

Lancelot Andrewes: A Life (Oxford University Press).

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