B.A. cum laude, Yale (2011); M.A. and M.Phil., Columbia (2013, 2015). Gabriel Bloomfield is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. His research interests include early modern poetry and prose, religion and secularization, preaching and sermons, book history, and the history of interpretation. His dissertation, “The Poetry of Interpretation: Exegetical Lyric after the English Reformation,” directed by Molly Murray, Julie Crawford, and Alan Stewart, argues that early modern religious poets adapted close-reading methods from the arts of preaching and scriptural commentary for use in their devotional poetry. It reads the verse of Anne Lock, John Donne, George Herbert, William Alabaster, Thomas Traherne, and others as simultaneously poetic and interpretive, showing how the texts of scripture are transformed, expanded, interpellated, and “wrested” from their original meanings and contexts to suit the poet’s doctrinal or aesthetic purposes. In this reading, early modern devotional poets emerge as important proponents and critics of hermeneutic style. An article extracted from this project, on John Donne’s disintegrative reading methods in his sermons, hymns, and Holy Sonnets, will be published in Studies in Philology.
Gabriel’s research has been supported by grants from the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Shakespeare Association of America. With Alexander Lash and Michael West, he organized the 2016 conference “Reading Against Time: Transhistoricism and Early Modern Literature,” which brought together researchers from across the country to present scholarship that transcends the traditional boundaries of disciplinary periodization in creative new ways. For this conference he also co-curated an exhibition of early modern books at Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library. His master’s thesis, “Preaching from the Press: Henry King and the Rhetoric of Elegy,” was awarded the Miron Cristo-Loveanu Prize for the department’s best M.A. Essay of 2013. A second article, on the influence of Paradise Lost on Milton’s first major eighteenth-century imitator, is forthcoming from Studies in English Literature, 1500–1800.