Dr David Parry
I have broad research interests that cluster around the intersection of literature, rhetoric, religion and intellectual history from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, especially the work of John Milton, John Bunyan, and other Puritan writers, though I have also published on 20th century figures such as Ferdinand de Saussure and Umberto Eco.
My first book, The Rhetoric of Conversion in English Puritan Writing from Perkins to Milton, was published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2022. This book explores how English Puritan writers and preachers adopt and adopt the principles of the rhetorical tradition for their different pastoral persuasive purposes and how they deploy allegory as an alternative imaginative mode of rhetoric. It concludes with reflections on how Milton deploys similar strategies to persuade his readers towards his idiosyncratic brand of godly faith. I am also the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Allegory, a forthcoming major reference work by an international team of 40 contributors covering allegorical writing and reading from Plato to Inside Out.
My current primary role is as a researcher on a three-year project entitled ‘Writing Religious Conflict and Community in Exeter 1500–1750’ (ReConEx), funded by the Leverhulme Trust, whose outputs will include an edited essay collection and an edited anthology of religious writing from 1500 to 1750 with Exeter connections, as well as public engagement initiatives such as public talks, an exhibition, and a guided tour of sites relating to Exeter's religious history.
My future research plans include a book project provisionally entitled Rhetoric and the Quest for Wisdom in the Age of Shakespeare and Milton, which will use the rhetorical tradition as a framework for engaging the varied intellectual contexts of early modern Europe – political, religious, philosophical, scientific, and magical – and their intersection with writers including Erasmus, Luther, Shakespeare, Bacon, Comenius, and Milton.
I am currently working on articles on gender and 'quasi-persons' in Milton's work and on the compatibility of tragedy and redemption in Shakespeare's King Lear in light of Luther's theology of the hiddenness of God, as well as Oxford Handbook chapters on Milton, Bunyan and Richard Baxter. I am also a regular contributor to the seventeenth-century section of The Year's Work in English Studies.
My Academia.edu profile page provides access to some of my publications and unpublished papers, and links to others that are available elsewhere on the web.
My current role is as a researcher on a three-year project entitled ‘Writing Religious Conflict and Community in Exeter 1500–1750’ (ReConEx), funded by the Leverhulme Trust. I am working on this project with my Exeter colleagues Philip Schwyzer and Niall Allsopp. Project outputs will include an edited essay collection and an edited anthology of religious writing from 1500 to 1750 with Exeter connections, as well as public engagement initiatives such as public talks, an exhibition, and a guided tour of sites relating to Exeter's religious history.
External impact and engagement
Alongside my colleagues Professor Philip Schwyzer and Dr Niall Allsopp, I am currently engaged in undertaking a three-year project entitled ‘Writing Religious Conflict and Community in Exeter 1500–1750’ (ReConEx), funded by the Leverhulme Trust. As well as academic publication outputs, this project will involve public engagement initiatives such as public talks, an exhibition, and a guided tour of sites relating to Exeter's religious history.
I contributed to Darkness Visible, a website introducing Milton’s Paradise Lost to first-time readers, and my article on ‘Milton’s Religious Context’ remains the top non-sponsored Google hit for ‘Milton and religion’. I am also open to invitations to speak to school, community and public audiences on topics relating to my academic work.
Contribution to discipline
I am the Reviews Editor for Bunyan Studies, journal of the International John Bunyan Society, and maintain the online bibliography of Bunyan-related publications on behalf of the Bunyan Society.
I have served as a peer reviewer of book manuscripts for Ashgate and Routledge and of journal articles for the journals Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, Bunyan Studies, International Journal of the Classical Tradition, Problems of Literary Genres/Zagadnienia Rodzajów Literackich, and Studies in Church History.
I have taught a variety of modules at all levels of the BA English course and at MA level. In my teaching, I seek to encourage students to combine a close reading of the details of particular texts with attention to the wider cultural patterns to which these texts contribute and the captivating conversations around perennial questions into which these texts invite us.
Alongside more traditional modes of lecture and seminar teaching, I enjoy using creative methods in my teaching, such as teaching in locations linked to relevant historical events (such as Exeter Cathedral, which played a significant role in the Civil War period), guiding students in interacting with rare books from the 16th and 17th centuries, and a literary theory role play exercise assigning students Cluedo-style character cards (such as Max the Marxist and Delilah the Deconstructionist).