Date of Completion


Embargo Period


Major Advisor

Prof. Gregory Semenza

Co-Major Advisor

Prof. Clare King'oo

Associate Advisor

Prof. Tom Deans

Associate Advisor


Field of Study


Open Access

Campus Access


“Commonplace Dissidence” focuses on the use and treatment of proverbs in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English literature. I argue that despite the prevalence of commonplace books, proverb collections, and other forms of syncretic textual production, reading and writing grounded in humanist theory and commonplace practice were often treated critically or cynically during the period. Focusing on works such as those of Thomas Wyatt, Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare, and John Milton that resist treating commonplaces as universal, approved truths, I recover the dissidence and motives evidenced in the destabilization of inherited proverbial wisdom in order to challenge our current understanding of the ways in which commonplace methods influenced literary production during the English Renaissance.

Available for download on Thursday, October 29, 2026