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Edward “Mac” Test

Professor,
English Department Chair

edwardtest@boisestate.edu

(208) 426-2138 | LA-228A

Edward “Mac” Test is a translator, poet, and Renaissance scholar. He specializes in early modern literature (Transatlantic World, History of Science, Indigenous cultures) and translation (English-Spanish). He has published a book of poetry, three books of translated poetry, and numerous essays and reviews. His book, Sacred Seeds: New World Plants in Early Modern English Literature (University of Nebraska Press, 2019), examines New World plants—tobacco, amaranth, guaiacum, and the prickly pear cactus—and their associated Native myths as they moved across the Atlantic and into English literature. Mac’s book reinstates the contributions of indigenous peoples to European society, charting an alternative cultural history that explores the associations and assemblages of transatlantic multiplicity rather than Eurocentric homogeny. Sacred Seeds was short-listed for the British Society of Literature and Science annual Book Prize, and nominated for the Renaissance Society of America’s Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize.

Mac is the recipient of several grants and fellowships, including the Idaho Humanities Council Research Grant, National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) summer seminar, Boise State University Research Grants, Boise State School of Arts Grant, Alexa Rose Foundation; and fellowships at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Huntington Library and the John Carter Brown Library. Mac currently serves as a board member for the Idaho Humanities Council.

Mac is working on a translation the Comedia famosa de la monja alférez (“The Famous Comedy of the Lieutenant Nun,” 1625). The play is based on the true story of the Basque woman, Catalina de Erauso, who escaped a nunnery at 18, cut off her hair, cross-dressed as a man, and jumped aboard a ship bound for the New World. When she returned to Spain, King Felipe IV granted her a military pension and permission to continue dressing as a man. Yet more remarkable, she traveled to Rome where Pope Urban VIII granted her a papal dispensation to allow her to live her life as a religiously condoned transgender person. The play was featured in a workshop at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2018 and a staged reading of the play occurred at the Boise Contemporary Theater in 2019.

Education

  • Ph.D., English Literature, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • M.A., English Literature, Portland State University
  • B.A., English Literature, Carleton College

Interests

British Renaissance Poetry, Transatlantic Studies, History of Science, Translation, poetry

Recent Publications

Books

  • Sacred Seeds: New World Plants in Early Modern English Literature (University of Nebraska Press, 2019).
  • Fata Morgana, bilingual edition of poetry, Ediciones El Tucán de Virginia (Mexico, 2004)

Book Translations

  • Torn Awake, by Forrest Gander, Ediciones El Tucán de Virginia (Mexico, 2005) co-translated with Valerie Mejer
  • The Zoo Father, by Pascale Petit, Ediciones El Tucán de Virginia (Mexico, 2005) co-translated with Valerie Mejer
  • Appalachia, by Charles Wright, Ediciones El Tucán de Virginia (Mexico, 2004) co-translated with Valerie Mejer

Chapters in Books

  • “Transatlantic Tubers: New World Potatoes in Early Modern English Literature” in The Companion to Marine and Maritime Worlds, 1400-1800: Oceans in Global History and Culture (Routledge, 2020).
  • “Amerindian Eden: the Divine Weekes of Du Bartas” in Environmental Criticism for the Twenty-First Century, eds. Ken Hiltner, Stephanie LeMenager, Teresa Shewry (Routledge Press, 2011)
  • “Seeds of Sacrifice: Amaranth, the Gardens of Tenochtitlan and Spenser’s Faerie Queene” in A Companion to the Global Renaissance, 1550-1660, ed. Jyotsna Singh (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009). Second edition published in 2020
  • The Tempest and The Newfoundland Cod Fishery,” in Global Traffic: Discourses and Practices of Trade in English Literature and Culture from 1550 to 1700, eds. Barbara Sebek and Steve Deng (Palgrave, 2008)

Journal Publications

  • “’A dish fit for the gods’: Mexica Sacrifice in De Bry, Las Casas, and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Ed. Maureen Quilligan (Duke University Press, 2011).
  • “Joshua Sylvester.” Biographical essay in Encyclopedia of English Renaissance Literature, ed. Alan Stewart and Garrett Sullivan (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2011).
  • “Making New World Publics: the Development of Botanical Studies in 16th Century Europe.” Early Modern Culture, eds. Patricia Fumerton and Crystal Bartolovich. (Syracuse University, 2010)

Courses

  • English 267 Survey of British Literature
  • English 338 Literature in Translation
  • English 345 Shakespeare
  • English 351 Milton
  • English 525 Translation
  • English 550, Engendering the Stage in Early Modern Literature
  • English 530, Entangled Encounters 1500-1700