Paul Grant Stanwood is a Professor of English specializing in literature from Renaissance and Reformation England. He was born April 25, 1933, in Des Moines, Iowa. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in 1954 from the Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa), he went on to continue his studies in English Language and Literature/Letters at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), where he obtained his MA in 1956 and PhD in 1961, and also studied abroad at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in 1958-59. He began his teaching career at Tufts University in 1961, and has also at various times taught at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), the University of Cambridge, the University of York, and the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg. However, he has been most active at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where he has been a Professor of English since 1975 and Professor Emeritus since 1998.
Stanwood’s specialization in English rests largely in Reformation-era literature and theology, which first materialized when he edited the last three parts of Richard Hooker’s signature work, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. For this publication, he was part of a joint venture supported by the Folger Shakespeare Library to edit and republish the works of Hooker, which was headed by New York University Professor William Speed Hill (1935-2007), who served as general editor of this edition. Stanwood completed his editing of the Ecclesiastical Polity in 1981, which formed the third of five volumes that were published by Harvard University, and served on the editorial staff until the final volume’s publication in 1998.
Following this, Stanwood continued his investigations into English literature, publishing books on John Donne, John Milton, and Izaak Walton. His most recent work, Paul’s Cross and the Culture of Persuasion in England, 1520-1640, as well as Sermons at Paul’s Cross 1521-1642, was a collaboration with Torrance Kirby, Professor of Ecclesiastical History at McGill University. For his contributions to the study of the English language in the Renaissance and Reformation, Stanwood was made director of the Fourth International Milton Symposium at UBC in 1991, received a lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies in 2008, and variously served as President of the John Donne Society and President of the International Association of University Professors of English. His Sedgwick Lecture, delivered at UBC in March 2008, was published as John Donne and the Line of Wit: From Metaphysical to Modernist in 2009, following which he received the John Donne Society Distinguished Service Award in 2010. He also won accolades for his contributions to Anglican theological study, receiving an honorary Doctor of Sacred Letters degree from the University of Trinity College at the University of Toronto in 2003, and investment into the Order of the Diocese of New Westminster in November 2013.
Stanwood continues to teach at UBC, and lives in Vancouver. The university instituted a prize in his honour, the Paul G. Stanwood Prize, presented to PhD graduates in English with the best thesis.