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Jonathan Goossen, PhD

  • Jonathan Goossen
Chair – Humanities
Associate Professor of English
Phone number
(403) 407-9468
Email Address


My teaching and research centre on the literature of the English Renaissance, especially the drama of Shakespeare and his fiery friend, Ben Jonson. An interest in these things also invites a secondary one in the philosophy and literature of the ancient world. Most of my writing to date has treated the relationship of Aristotle’s Poetics to Shakespeare’s and Jonson’s comedies. I am particularly intrigued by classical and Renaissance literary theorists’ insistence on the unity of literature’s moral and emotional effect. Their apparently simple dictum that literature “teaches and delights” belies a sophisticated understanding of the effect of language, plot, and character upon the soul. In addition, I have recently begun a study of Janet Lewis’s use of tragedy in her three-novel series, Cases of Circumstantial Evidence. In these and my other pursuits, I try, with the help of God, my wife, and children, to be good.


1-4 November 2018. “Hamartia and Tragic Plot in Janet Lewis’s The Wife of Martin Guerre.” Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers Annual Meeting, Nashville.

28-30 May 2016. “What fire is in my ears”: Aristotle, Augustine, and the Language of Shame in Shakespeare’s Romantic Comedy.” Canadian Society for Renaissance StudiesCongress, Calgary.

24-26 March 2016. “Shakespeare’s Language of Botched Repentance” (rev. version). Shakespeare Association of America Annual Meeting, New Orleans.

18-20 June 2015. “Shakespeare’s Language of Botched Repentance.” Shakespearean Theatre Conference, Stratford, Ontario.

31 March, 2014. “‘Kill Claudio’: Much Ado About Nothing and Aristotle on Comedy.” Ambrose Research Conference, Ambrose University College, Calgary.

28-30 March, 2013. Seminar co-organizer, “Aristotle, Jonson, Shakespeare.” Shakespeare Association of America Annual Meeting, Toronto.

5-7 April, 2012. “Aristotle, Jonson, and Twelfth Night.” Shakespeare Association of America Annual Meeting, Boston.

10-12 May, 2011. “Daniel Heinsius and Recent Accounts of Aristotle’s ‘Katharsis.’” Classical Association of Canada Annual Meeting, Halifax.


PhD (Dalhousie University)
MA (University of Saskatchewan)
BA (Honours) (University of Saskatchewan / St. Thomas More College)
BCM (Bethany College)

Select Publications

Jonson, Shakespeare, and Aristotle on Comedy. New York: Routledge, 2018.
“‘Tis set down so in heaven, but not in earth’: Reconsidering Political Theology in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.” Christianity and Literature 61.2 (2012): 209-31.
“Leaving ‘stoicity’ alone in Jonson’s Epicoene.” The Ben Jonson Journal 18.2 (2011): 164-86.
“‘The Disposition of Natures:’ Aristotle, Comedy, and Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.” Animus: The Canadian Journal of Philosophy & the Humanities 15 (2011): 25 pages typescript.