Emily Vasiliauskas

Emily Vasiliauskas

Associate Professor of English

Sawyer Library Rm 610
At Williams since 2015

Spring 2023 office hours by appointment (https://calendly.com/evofficehours/20mins)


A.B. Harvard University (2007)
M.Phil. University of Cambridge, Trinity College (2008)
M.A. Warburg Institute (2009)
Ph.D. Princeton University (2015)


ENGL 319 / COMP 354 SEM

The Literary Afterlife (not offered 2024/25)


The Social Life of Renaissance Poetry (not offered 2024/25)

ENGL 374 / COMP 352 / REL 374 TUT

Mysticism: Vision, Writing, History (not offered 2024/25)

Scholarship/Creative Work

The Skull in the Mirror: Aesthetics in the Age of Shakespeare (under review at Oxford University Press)

Aesthetics, which has come to entail the systematic and self-conscious understanding of art as a distinctive category of human activity, is generally considered to be an invention of the eighteenth century. Earlier art, according to this narrative, remained too deeply embedded within religion and state politics for it to be capable of defining a purpose of its own. Even Renaissance humanism, often taken to be a proto-aesthetic discourse, reinforces the instrumentality of art by defending its moral and pedagogical functions. The Skull in the Mirror: Aesthetics in the Age of Shakespeare shows that lurking behind this insistence on art’s usefulness is a persistent anxiety over its uselessness. The possibility that art might, in fact, be an unjustifiable waste of time served as the basis of a version of aesthetic autonomy distinctive to the Renaissance.

“On the Way to Lyric,” in Lyric Temporalities, ed. Kimberly Johnson and Ryan Netzley (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming)

Do but encave yourself,” Spenser Studies 37 (2023), 483-91

Antony and Cleopatra and the Art of Dying,” Studies in Philology 117 (2020), 488-519

Mortal Knowledge: Akrasia in English Renaissance Tragedy,” in Politics and Aesthetics in European Baroque and Classicist Tragedy, ed. Jan Bloemendal and Nigel Smith (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 221-38

The Outmodedness of Shakespeare’s Sonnets,” ELH 82 (2015), 759-87

All’s Well That Ends,” The Cambridge Quarterly 44 (2015), 171-77

Immortal Beloved,” The Cambridge Quarterly 42 (2013), 79-87

Awards, Fellowships & Grants

Herbert H. Lehman Fellowship, Williams College

The Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences Fellowship, Williams College

Hellman Fellowship

Francis Bacon Foundation Fellowship, Huntington Library

Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship, Princeton University

Brewer Hall Poetry Prize, University of Cambridge

Marshall Scholarship

Bowdoin Prize for English Composition, Harvard University

Captain Jonathan Fay Prize, Harvard University

Current Committees

  • Faculty Interview Panel