Professor Michael Neill is currently regarded as one of the leading world-class scholars and critics of Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama. He has further interests in post-colonial and Irish literature, but his international reputation rests mainly upon his work in Renaissance drama.
This reputation has been growing for some while as he published well-received essays earlier in his career, most notably on Othello and issues to do with race and domestic violence, but Professor Neillâ€™s high standing rests mainly upon four publications that have been lavishly praised: his monograph Issues of Death: Mortality and Identity in English Renaissance Tragedy (1997), a book that was reviewed as one of the indispensable works on Renaissance drama and that has since been widely cited; the essays collected in Putting History to the Question: Power, Politics, and Society in English Renaissance Drama (2000); and the Oxford Shakespeare editions of Anthony and Cleopatra (1994) and Othello (2006). The edition of Othello has quickly become regarded as a hugely significant publication; it is likely to become the standard point of reference on the play for years to come.
His work is continually sensitive to the complexities of history, to the position of literary productions within it, and to the shifting challenges of interpretation and understanding. His peers praise his achievement in combining critical acumen with thorough bibliographical and historical scholarship, in merging the human value of verbal and theatrical practice with the discipline of historical responsibility.