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Ramie Targoff

Board of Governors Member since 2019

Ramie Targoff is the Jehuda Reinharz Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University, where she is also professor of English and co-chair of Italian Studies. Her scholarly area of interest is the English Renaissance, with a strong secondary interest in the Italian Renaissance.

A graduate of Yale University (B.A. 1989) and the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D. 1996), she was an assistant professor of English at Yale from 1996 to 2001 before moving to Brandeis, where she teaches classes on Shakespeare, Renaissance love poetry, witchcraft and magic, religion and literature, and women’s writing in the Renaissance. She is the author of three scholarly books on Renaissance English literature—Common Prayer: The Language of Public Devotion (Chicago UP, 2001); John Donne, Body and Soul (Chicago UP, 2008); and Posthumous Love: Eros and the Afterlife in Renaissance England (Chicago UP, 2014)—and has published many articles and reviews on Shakespeare.

Most recently, she has written a biography of the sixteenth-century Italian poet, Vittoria Colonna, Renaissance Woman: The Life of Vittoria Colonna (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2018; paperback, 2019), and has published the first English translation of Colonna’s 1538 book of sonnets, Poems of Widowhood: A Bilingual Translation of the 1538 Rime of Vittoria Colonna (Iter Press, 2021). Her books have been awarded multiple prizes from professional organizations, and have been reviewed in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker (“Briefly Noted”), The Times Literary Supplement, The Irish Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and many on-line and scholarly journals. She has lectured widely at home and abroad, with most recent appearances at the Boston Athenaeum, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the American Repertory Theatre, La Sapienza University of Rome, Villa I Tatti in Florence, and at both Oxford and Cambridge.

Ramie Targoff is the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and the National Endowment for the Humanities; she has also been the senior Scholar in Residence for the Renaissance at the American Academy in Rome. Her latest book project, Shakespeare’s Sisters, is an interwoven biography of four women writers in Renaissance England: Mary Sidney Herbert, Aemilia Lanyer, Elizabeth Cary, and Anne Clifford. It is forthcoming from Alfred A. Knopf in New York, and Riverrun in London. She lives in Cambridge, MA.