Dr. Peter Schakel started teaching at Hope in 1969. Since 1984 he was been the Peter C. and Emajean Cook Professor of English. He served as department chair for 20 years (1981–87, 1994–2005, 2011–2015). He is the author, with Jack Ridl, of a textbook, Approaching Literature, in its fourth edition (published by Bedford/St. Martin’s Press in 2017). 

AREAS OF Expertise

Dr. Schakel’s area of scholarly specialization is British Literature 1660–1745, focusing particularly on the life and works of Jonathan Swift and of Jane Austen. He also has an interest in the life and works of C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. He and a colleague, Jack Ridl, have co-authored several literature textbooks.


  • Ph.D., English, 1969, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • M.A., English, 1964, Southern Illinois University
  • B.A., English, 1963, Central College


  • Hope Outstanding Professor Educator Award, Hope College, 2013
  • The Provost’s Award for Service to the Academic Program, Hope College, 2013
  • The Ruth and John Reed Faculty Achievement Award, Hope College, 2004
  • The Clyde S. Kilby Research Grant, from the Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College, 2002
  • NEH Summer Seminar, the Aston Magna Academy, on “The Culture of Early Georgian England (1714–1760),” Yale University, 1997
  • NEH Summer Seminar, the Aston Magna Academy, on “The Culture of Restoration England, 1660–1720, Rutgers University, 1987
  • Mythopoeic Society’s Scholarship Award, 1984, 1992, 1996
  • American Council of Learned Societies Travel Grant to the First Münster Symposium on Jonathan Swift, Münster, Federal Republic of Germany, 1984
  • NEH Summer Seminar, on the History of Moral Philosophy, Wellesley College, 1981
  • National Endowment for the Humanities year-long Fellowship for College Teachers at The University of Virginia, 1979–80
  • American Philosophical Society Grants, for sabbatical travel expenses, 1976, 1983
  • Newberry Library Fellowship, Chicago, 1975
  • William Andrews Clark Memorial Library Fellow, Los Angeles, 1974


View all of Dr. Peter Schakel’s published work in Digital Commons.

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