David Ainsworth

David Ainsworth

Assistant Chair


  • PhD, English, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2005

Research Areas

  • Renaissance Literature
  • Digital Humanities


David Ainsworth teaches Seventeenth-Century British literature as part of the Strode Program, specializing in John Milton. He received his PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005. His research interests include Medieval and Early Modern literature, American Civil War memoirs, composition and pedagogy, science fiction, fantasy and detective fiction.

Ainsworth is Associate Professor of English Literature and a member of the Hudson Strode faculty. Ainsworth was the first Communications Director of the Milton Society of America (2013-2017) and is the originator of the Edifice Project, which seeks to increase undergraduate investment in their work by making papers written one semester relevant to future semesters of the class. EN 335 (Milton) represents the pilot stage of this project. He is working on a book on Milton’s Holy Spirit and music.

Selected Publications



  • “Digital Humanities and Undergraduate Research for Undergraduates.” Chapter in Quick Hits: Teaching with the Digital Humanities, Eds. Christopher Young, Michael Morrone, Thomas C. Wilson and Emma A. Wilson. Indiana UP, 2020. 6 pages.
  • “Digital Milton and Student Research.” Chapter in Digital Milton, Eds. David Curell and Islam Issa. Palgrave MacMillan, 2018. 21 pages.
  • “Harmonious Remembrance: A Response to Sarah Powrie, Ryan Netzley, and Michael Ursell.” Connotations 25.2 (2015/16): 244-56.
  • “Milton’s Holy Spirit in De Doctrina Christiana,” Religion and Literature 45:2 (Summer 2013):1-25.
  • “Rapturous Milton and the Communal Harmony of Faith,” Milton Quarterly 47:3 (2013): 117-25.
  • “Getting Past the Ellipsis: The Spirit and Urania in Paradise Lost.” Renaissance Papers 2012. Eds. Andrew Shifflett and Edward Gieskes. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2013: 117-25.
  • “’Rise to life with These:’ Salvation and Herrick’s Mocking Epigrams.” ANQ 25. 3: 147-153.
  • “‘Thou art sufficient to judge aright:’ Spiritual Reading in Areopagitica.” in Their Maker’s Image: New Essays on John Milton. Edited by Mary C. Fenton and Louis Schwartz. Selinsgrove: Susquehanna University Press, 2011, 147-60.
  • ‘Spiritual Reading in Milton’s Eikonoklastes.’ Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 45. 1 (Winter 2005): 157-189.


  • Contributor to the Year’s Work in English Studies writing the entry for Poetry 1603 1660: General. 2008-2010.
  • Review of Thomas Fulton, Historical Milton: Manuscript, Print and Political Culture in Revolutionary England. University of Massachusetts Press, 2010. Forthcoming in Milton Quarterly.
  • Review of John T. Shawcross, The Development of Milton’s Thought: Law, Government, and Religion. Duquesne University Press, 2008, and Gordon Campbell and Thomas N. Corns, John Milton: Life, Work, and Thought. Oxford University Press, 2008. In Religion and Literature, Volume 41.1 (Spring 2009): 175-80.
  • Review of Ken Simpson, Spiritual Architecture and Paradise Regained: Milton’s Literary Ecclesiology. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2007. In Christianity and Literature, Volume 59.4 (Summer 2010): 717-20.
  • Review of Milton and the Climates of Reading: Essays by Balachandra Rajan. Edited by Elizabeth Sauer. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006. Forthcoming in Modern Philology.
  • Review of Scott Black, Of Essays and Reading in Early Modern England. Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, published in Journal of British Studies, incorporating Albion 47: 1 (January 2008): 177-178.