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Edward “Mac” Test

English Department Chair

(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.

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, Alexa Rose Foundation; and fellowships at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Huntington Library and the John Carter Brown Library.

Mac is working on a translation of Juan Pérez de Montalbán’s 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. She rose to the rank of “alférez” (lieutenant), living the fantastic life of a conquistador, gambler, swashbuckler. 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.


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


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

Recent Publications

  • “Sacred Seeds: New World Plants in Early Modern English Literature” (University of Nebraska Press, 2019)
  • “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).
  • “’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).
  • Translation of Jose Marti’s “Escenas Norteamericanas: 1884.” The Mark Twain Anthology. Ed. Shelley Fisher-Fishkin (Library of America, 2010).
  • “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).
  • “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).


  • English 216 Cultural Exchange
  • English 267 Survey of British Literature
  • English 338 Literature in Translation
  • English 345 Shakespeare
  • English 351 Milton
  • English 525 Graduate course on translation