Like the Elizabethan era in Britain, the Ilonian period in the Williams English Department, has been extraordinarily fertile and creative, and marked by the changing status of women. This is no mere coincidence. You have been a hardworking teacher and scholar focused on Renaissance poetry, the history of courtship, and how both reflect the beginnings of change in the role of women in Western culture. In particular, your book on Elizabeth combined textual analysis, history, and feminist perspectives to show how she used the discourse of love both to establish her power and to rule. This work was among the first stirrings of the movement that led here at Williams to our program in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. You arrived in the vanguard of women in the department and have tended with uncommon generosity to the needs of your colleagues. Thus does a garden thrive—with the attentive propping up here and watering over there of the kind that has resulted in your own yard earning inclusion in the Smithsonian Archive of American Gardens.
I hereby declare you Samuel Fessenden Clarke Professor of English, Emerita, entitled to all the rights, honors, and privileges appertaining thereto.
June 4, 2017