University of Calgary

Mary Polito

  • Associate Professor Emerita of English

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.

Professional Description


My literary field is English drama from the 1520s to the 1640s, including Shakespeare.  I am interested in what we can learn about early modern drama (as text and performance) and human conduct. My book, Governmental Arts in Early Tudor England (2005), is a study of the secular “interludes” written and performed as part Henry VIII’s program of humanist reforms. A “presentist” article compares early modern “conduct literature” and the appropriation today of Shakespeare by the business self-help industry in order to reshape the actions of corporate leaders.

In 2005 I was fortunate to be among the librarians and scholars who “discovered” a seventeenth-century play in manuscript in the University of Calgary’s Osborne Collection [LINK]. It is an anonymous five act comedy from the Shakespearean playhouse period set in the country and satirizing a foolish Justice of the Peace. I acted as Principal Investigator on a collaborative project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada to investigate the provenance of the play, as well as another, earlier version of the same play held at Arbury Hall in Warwickshire. Our local, national and international team of faculty and graduate students has made significant discoveries which have been presented at conferences around the world and which have appeared or will appear in a number of significant publications.


I was appointed Associate Dean, Faculty of Humanities, Academic and Student Affairs in 2008 and served in that position during the amalgamation of the former faculty with Social Sciences, Communication and Culture and Fine ARts. I was subsequently appointed for the reaminder of my three year term as Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts, Academic and Student Affairs, 2010-2011.




  • BA
    Trent University, 2012
  • PhD
    York University, 2012
  • MA
    York University, 2012
  • BEd
    Queen's University, 2012
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