Michael Who?

Ullyot. (“UH-lee-yit.”) I’m an Associate Professor of English at the University of Calgary.

My teaching and research specialties are early modern literature and the digital humanities — that is, literature in the age of Shakespeare, and how digital tools are transforming scholarly inquiry. I got my Ph.D. in English from the University of Toronto in 2005, and my M.Phil. in Medieval and Renaissance Studies from the University of Cambridge in 2000. (Clare College, if that matters to you.)


My e-mail address is ullyot@ucalgary.ca. I’m also on Twitter (@ullyot) and Instagram (michael.ullyot). I post videos to my YouTube channel, every so often. And here’s my department profile.

If you need my mailing address, it’s:

Department of English, University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4 Canada
tel. (403) 220.4656

I am now accepting graduate students (MA and PhD in English, or MSc and PhD in Computational Media Design). See here for details about the Department of English program, and here for details about the Computational Media Design program. Contact me for details: < ullyot(at)ucalgary.ca >.



I’m doing two research projects at the moment (2019). Both are housed in The Augmented Criticism Lab, a platform for digital-humanities research that combines human expertise with machine processing.

The first is a test case to automate the detection of rhetorical figures in early modern English. The Rhetorical Schematics Project aims to systematically investigate the poetic function of rhetorical schemes. (Follow the project on its blog, and on Twitter).

The second project has a simple question: is the sonnet a form or a genre? It clearly began as the former, 14 lines of rhymed ten-syllable (pentameter) verse. But another definition is based on generic rather than formal features: a first-person reflection or “dialectical self-confrontation,” often with a volta or turn from problem to resolution (Paul Oppenheimer, The Birth of the Modern Mind: Self, Consciousness, and the Invention of the Sonnet, 1989). So the answer lies somewhere in between.

The project addresses this question by compiling every extant sonnet into a database, in order to quantify their features through time. Those features include dates, languages, authors, diction (word choices), sentiments, named entities, and form. This project will determine what generic features the sonnet’s diction, topics, and other features reveal.

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