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Von Hügel Institute

for Critical Catholic Inquiry


Maria Devlin McNair received her PhD in English Literature from Harvard University in 2017. She is a writer, senior editor, and producer for Lyceum, an educational audio studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is an editor and producer for the podcasts “Ministry of Ideas,” “Illuminations” (supported by the John Templeton Foundation), and “Genealogies of Modernity” (supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, US), and she is the creator and producer of “Shakespeare For All,” an audio series on Shakespeare’s life, poetry, and plays (

McNair’s doctoral dissertation focused on ethics and Renaissance comedy. Her research interests include Shakespeare, Renaissance drama, and the study of literature in tandem with religion, moral philosophy, and leadership. She has taught on Shakespeare and spirituality for the Continuing Catholicism series at St. Louis University.


Key publications: 
  • “Shakespeare, Marston, and Getting to Moral Clarity through Comedy.” Shakespeare. 8 Nov 2023. DOI: 10.1080/17450918.2023.2274498.
  • “Shakespeare, Montaigne, and Moral Luck” in Shakespeare and Montaigne, ed. Lars Engle, Patrick Gray, and William M. Hamlin (Edinburgh University Press: 2021).
  • “The Faerie Queene as an Aristotelian Inquiry into Ethics.” Spenser Studies 33. 2018.
  • “Finding Freedom in Spenser’s Rhetorical Places.” Spenser Review 45.2.24. Fall 2015.
  • “‘If it were made for man, ’twas made for me’: Generic Damnation and Rhetorical Salvation in Reformation Preaching and Plays” in Sin and Salvation in Reformation England, ed. Jonathan Willis (Ashgate: 2015).
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A unique institute of advanced studies inspired by Catholic thought and culture, focussed on contemporary global realities, and dedicated to encounter, dialogue, and transformation