Paul Megna

Paul Megna is Assistant Professor of Literature at Purchase College, State University of New York. From 2015 to 2018 Paul was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Meanings, Change and Performance Programs conducting a research project entitled ‘Emotion and Ethics in Medieval and Medievalist Drama’ at The University of Western Australia. He completed his doctoral degree in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a dissertation entitled Emotional Ethics in Middle English Literature. He holds an MA in English from the University of Rochester.

Paul’s research interests include emotion, ethics, Middle English literature and medievalism. His dissertation argues that, by conceptualising emotions as judgements integral to the process through which we strive to live ethically, a great deal of Middle English literature anticipates the insights of modern theorists of emotion such as Antonio Damasio and Martha Nussbaum. His book project, Existential Emotion in Middle English Literature, reads Middle English literature and existential philosophy as two temporally disjoined nodes in humanity’s long struggle to instil positive meaning into negative emotions.



Emotion and Ethics in Middle English and Medievalist Drama 

Recent Publications

Megna, P., B. Phillips and R. S. White, eds. Hamlet and Emotions. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

Megna, P. ‘Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Stoppard’s Guidenstern: Leap Between Un-Existentialist Anguish and Un-Absurdist Happiness’. In Hamlet and Emotions, edited by P. Megna, B. Phillips and R. S. White, pp. 289–315. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

Phillips, B. and P. Megna. ‘“In a Dream of Passion”: Introducing Hamlet and Emotion’. In Hamlet and Emotions, edited by P. Megna, B. Phillips and R. S. White, pp. 1–14. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

Megna, P. ‘Chaucerian Parrhesia: World-Building and Truth-Telling in The Canterbury Tales and "Lak of Stedfastnesse"’. postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 9.1 (2018): 30–43.

Megna, P. 'Existentialist Medievalism and Emotional Identity Politics in Simone de Beauvoir’s The Useless Mouths'. Exemplaria 30.3 (2018): 241–56. 

Megna, P. ‘Courtly Love Hate is Undead: Sadomasochistic Privilege in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde’. In Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Literature but Were Afraid to Ask Žižek: SIC 10, edited by R. Sbriglia, pp. 267–89. Durham: Duke University Press, 2017.

Megna, P. ‘Teaching Feeling: Medieval Literature, Emotional Ethics and the Case of Compassion’. The Once and Future Classroom 13.1 October (Fall 2016).

Megna, P. ‘Better Living through Dread: Medieval Ascetics, Modern Philosophers, and the Long History of Existential Anxiety’. PMLA 130.5 (2015): 1285–301.

Megna, P. ‘Dread, Love, and the Bodies of Piers Plowman A.10, B.9, and C.10’. The Yearbook of Langland Studies 29 (2015): 61-88.

Megna, P. ‘Fitt VII: Blysse / (Envy)’. Glossator 10 (2015): 132–53.