Mary E. Barnard earned her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan. Her area of specialization is the lyric poetry of the Renaissance and the Baroque. Her research interests include visual and material culture, text and image in early modern print culture, and imperial Europe under the Habsburgs. She is the author of The Myth of Apollo and Daphne from Ovid to Quevedo: Love, Agon, and the Grotesque (Duke University Press). Her new book, Garcilaso de la Vega and the Material Culture of Renaissance Europe (University of Toronto Press), examines the role of cultural objects in the Neapolitan poems of Garcilaso, a pioneer of the European “new poetry,” aligned with the court, empire, and modernity. The book shows how luxury artifacts and other worldly goods were powerful carriers of culture, especially those inscribed with words and images, be it a carved crystal urn, a sumptuous tapestry, or a “tablet” within the soul. It explores how Garcilaso uses objects for social networking, for engaging cultural memory, and for examining the connections between orality and writing, history and the ideology of empire. In addition, she is the co-editor of Objects of Culture in the Literature of Imperial Spain (University of Toronto Press). Her current project, Possessing the Object: Materiality in the Lyric of Habsburg Spain, extends her interest in material culture to six early modern lyric poets: Luis de Góngora, Francisco de Quevedo, Juan de Arguijo, Gutierre de Cetina, San Juan de la Cruz, and Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza.
Her scholarly articles and reviews have appeared in PMLA, Renaissance Quarterly, Hispanic Review, Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, Romanic Review, among others, and she has contributed chapters to edited collections. She has received grants from the National Humanities Center (Research Triangle Park, NC), the American Council of Learned Societies, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Internal grants include an H. Rubinstein University Endowed Fellowship in the Humanities and a research fellowship from the Institute for the Arts and Humanities.