Email Address
List Hall 241

Margaret Thickstun wrote Fictions of the Feminine: Puritan Doctrine and the Representation of Women and Milton's Paradise Lost: Moral Education. She has also written about Milton, Bunyan, Swift, and Puritan women's spirituality, among other topics. Thickstun's teaching interests include religious literature and questions relating to history of the book and literary reception, specifically the transition from manuscript to print culture, books as physical objects, the place of women writers, the making and role of anthologies, and the making of a canon. She received her doctorate from Cornell University.

Recent Courses Taught

Interpretation and Self-Knowledge
The Experience of Reading
Literature of the 17th Century
Poetry and Poetics
Readers, Writers, and the Rise of Secular Print Culture
Women Writers in Early Modern England
English Renaissance Literature: 1550-1660
Writing Arguments

Selected Publications


  • Milton’s Paradise Lost: Moral Education, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. 
  • Fictions of the Feminine: Puritan Doctrine and the Representation of Women, Cornell UP, 1988.


  • “The Pilgrim’s Progress, Part II” in The Oxford Handbook of John Bunyan. Edited by Michael Davies. Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
  • “Fame, Shame, and the Importance of Community in Samson Agonistes.” In Milton’s Rival Hermeneutics, ed. DuRocher and Thickstun, Duquesne UP, 2012
  • “Resisting Patience in Milton’s Sonnet 19, ‘When I Consider’.” Milton Quarterly, 44.3 (2010).
  • “Milton among Puritan Women: Affiliative Spirituality and the Conclusion of Paradise Lost,” Religion and Literature, 36.2 (2004).
  • “Raphael and the Challenge of Evangelical Education,” Milton Quarterly, 35.4  (2001).
  • “The Puritan Origins of Gulliver’s Conversion in Houynhnmland,” Studies in English Literature, 37.3 (1997).
  • “Writing the Spirit: Margaret Fell's Feminist Critique of Pauline Theology,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 63.2 (1995).
  • “This was a Woman that taught’: Feminist Scriptural Exegesis in the Seventeenth Century,” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, vol. 21, 1991.
  • “Mothers in Israel: The Puritan Rhetoric of Child-bearing,” Praise Disjoined, ed. William Shaw, Peter Lang, 1991.

College Service

  • College Marshal, 2008-present
  • Writing Advisory Committee 2011-present
  • Faculty Secretary, 2010-11
  • Bicentennial Committee, Academic subcommittee chair, 2008-12
  • Town Gown Committee, 2006-10
  • Committee on Appointments, 1994-95, 2002-03, 2007-08, 2009-10
  • Committee on Budget and Finance, 2000-01, 2006-07

Professional Affiliations

Milton Society, life member
Society for the Study of Early Modern Women, life member
John Bunyan Society

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., Cornell University
M.A., Cornell University
B.A., Mount Holyoke College


Fictions of the Feminine: Puritan Doctrine and the Representation of Women

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