307 Carpenter Hall
10:00-11:00, 3:00-4:00 MWF; 10:30-12:00 TR
Associate Professor of English
- Ph.D., Lehigh University
- M.A., Lehigh University
- B.A., Bowling Green State University
I've taught several versions of a course called "Shakespeare's Afterlives," which reads modern novels, plays and films against their Shakespearean ancestors. Some of these relationships are simple: everybody knows that Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres is an adaptation of Lear. And so is Death of a Salesman. But so are Star Wars and The Godfather. Likewise, everybody knows that Aime Cesaire's _Tempest_ is an adaptation of Shakespeare's _Tempest_. But so are Lev Grossman's Magicians and Neil Gaiman's Sandman. And Macbeth? Breaking Bad.
I've also taught courses that focus on the evolution of different character types. For instance, Marlowe's Barabas (from Jew of Malta) becomes Shakespeare's Iago (from Othello), who becomes Milton's Satan (from Paradise Lost) and Shelly's Victor Frankenstein. And there's Victor Frankenstein DNA in characters ranging from Max Fischer (in Rushmore) to Joey Rosso (in Rolling Vengeance).
For first-year students especially, I've taught several versions of a course called "Monsters and Marvels" — basically, a research-intensive approach to superstition and pseudoscience that involves reading everything from 16th-century manuscripts to herbal supplement white papers.
Nate Eastman is a Shakespearean scholar, with an interest in exploring connections between the Bard’s works and other texts. He has taught several versions of a course called "Shakespeare's Afterlives," which reads modern novels, plays, and films (including such works as Star Wars, The Godfather and Death of a Salesman) against their Shakespearean ancestors. In addition to publishing regularly, Nate has collaborated with a colleague in theatre arts on a yearlong research project with students in preparation for a production of Othello.
Mickey White (from Theater Arts) and I taught a yearlong sequence of courses in which students helped produce Othello. This meant dramaturgy — researching the history of the text, the culture in which Shakespeare wrote, and the history of the racial, political and religious conflicts that inform the play — in order to prepare aides for the actors, director and crew. It produced a good deal of rigorous, original research.
This sounds simple, but is actually a kind of complicated balancing act. On one hand, doing original research means being uncertain — seeing that the research can support several different and sometimes contradictory perspectives.
But it also means making the best decisions you can with the information you have, knowing that once you publish whatever you've found, you're both improving the world of scholarship on a topic and also leaving some important questions unanswered. In other words, you never get it right; you just get it better.
Modern Language Association
Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies
Shakespeare Association of America
Renaissance Society of America