James Grantham Turner

James D Hart Chair and Distinguished Professor

James Turner publishes extensively in literature and art history across the early modern period (1500-1800), in Britain, France and Italy: his most recent book The Villa Farnesina: Palace of Venus in Renaissance Rome (Cambridge University Press, 2022), won the PROSE Award for best art history title from the American Association of Publishers, and glowing reviews in Times Literary Supplement and New York Review of Books. Seven other books have appeared from Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge and Yale. His interests focus on sexuality and gender, but also reach out to landscape, ecology, food, comparative mythology and the influence of ancient Greece and Rome. 

B.A. (1968), Cert.Ed., M.A., D.Phil. (1977) from Oxford University; taught at six British and US universities (Oxford, Sussex, Liverpool, Virginia, Northwestern, Michigan) before coming to Berkeley as Professor in 1990; currently holds the James D. Hart Chair. Fellowships include Guggenheim, NEH, and ACLS. 100-plus articles and review-essays, large and small, since 1963. Invited lectures include keynote address to the Milton Society of America (1994) and the Charles Mills Gayley Lecture in this department (2001). Has served on the advisory board of PMLA, Eighteenth-Century Studies, ELH and Restoration, and contributed to the exhibitions "Art and Love in Renaissance Italy" (2008) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, "Love: the Art of Emotion" (2017) at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, and "Giulio Romano: Arte e Desiderio" (2019) at the Palazzo Te, Mantua. In Spring 2013 he was Ailsa Mellon Bruce Visiting Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. His book Eros Visible: Art, Sexuality and Antiquity in Renaissance Italy was published by Yale University Press in 2017. In January 2019 he presented his research as part of the exhibition The Renaissance Nude at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Recent work has gone global, with two chapters on erotic art and literature in the forthcoming Cambridge World History of Sexualities . Meanwhile, “Milton, Lucretius and the ‘Womb of Nature’” is forthcoming from the specialist journal Milton Studies and "Marvell as Miltonist" from Marvell Studies.

Current Research: 

A new multi-disciplinary history of sexuality post-Foucault, exploring European literature (Classical through 18th century), social history, and art. Some publications from the art project: "Invention and sexuality in the Raphael workshop" (in the journal Art History), "Peruzzi and the Villa Farnesina facade" (in the journal Master Drawings), Eros Visible: Art, Sexuality, and Antiquity in Renaissance Italy (Yale), The Villa Farnesina (Cambridge), "Farnesina Rediviva." Ongoing research interests: Milton's materialism and self-presentation ("Under Milton's Skin,"  “Milton, Lucretius and the ‘Womb of Nature’”), women's work, food

Full CV: 

Selected Publications

see also "'Books"

Sexuality and Gender in Early Modern Europe: Institutions, Texts, Images, essays (edited) with an Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993)

Politics, Poetics and Hermeneutics in Milton's Prose, essays coedited with David Loewenstein (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990)

"The Visual Realism of Comenius," History of Education I (l972), pp. ll3-38

"The Structure of Henry Hoare's Stourhead," Art Bulletin LXI (l979), pp. 68-77

"Bunyan's Sense of Place," in V.E. Newey, ed., The Pilgrim's Progress: Critical and Historical Views (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, l980), pp. 9l-ll0

"The Sexual Politics of Landscape: Images of Venus in Eighteenth-Century English Poetry and Landscape Gardening," Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture XI (l982), pp. 343-64

"The Properties of Libertinism," Eighteenth Century Life IX, n.s. 3 (May 1985), pp. 75-87; reissued in Robert Purks Maccubbin, ed., 'Tis Nature's Fault: Unauthorized Sexuality during the Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988)

"Pope's Libertine Self-fashioning," in David B. Morris, ed., Special Issue on Alexander Pope, The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation XXIX (1988), pp. 123-44

"Lovelace and the Paradoxes of Libertinism," in Margaret Anne Doody and Peter Sabor, eds., Samuel Richardson: Tercentenary Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 70-88

Introduction to Robert Paltock, The Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins (1750), World's Classics edition (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1990)

"Novel Panic: Picture and Performance in the Reception of Richardson's Pamela," Representations XLVIII (Fall, 1994), pp. 60-84

"Pepys and the Private Parts of Monarchy," in Gerald MacLean, ed., Culture and Society in the Stuart Restoration: Literature, Drama, History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 95-110

""News from the New Exchange': Commodity, Erotic Fantasy, and the Female Entrepreneur," in Ann Bermingham and John Brewer, eds., The Consumption of Culture, 1600-1800: Image, Object, Text (London and New York: Routledge, 1995), pp. 419-39

"From Revolution to Restoration in English Literary Culture," in The Cambridge History of Early Modern English Literature, ed. David Loewenstein and Janel Mueller (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 790-833

""A Wanton Kind of Chase': Display as Procurement in A Harlot's Progress and its Reception," in Bernadette Fort and Angela Rosenthal, eds., The Other Hogarth: Aesthetics of Difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), pp. 38-61. Book awarded the 2002-2003 Historians of British Art Prize for "best multi-authored/edited volume treating a topic on British visual culture from any period"

"Marcantonio's Lost Modi and their Copies," Print Quarterly XXI (2004), pp. 364-84

 "The Erotics of the Novel," in A Companion to the Eighteenth-Century English Novel and Culture, ed. Paula A. Backscheider and Catherine Ingrassia (Oxford and New York: Blackwell, 2005), pp. 214-34

"Libertine Literature Forty Years On: I, From Aretino to The School of Venus," The Book Collector LIV (2005), pp. 29-51

"Libertine Literature Forty Years On: II, Nicolas Chorier and His Emulators," The Book Collector LIV (2005), pp. 231-56

"Milton among the Libertines," in Christophe Tournu and Neil Forsyth, eds, Milton, Rights and Liberties (Berne: Peter Lang, 2007), pp. 447-60

"Libertinism and Toleration: Milton, Bruno and Aretino," in Elizabeth Sauer and Sharon Achinstein, eds, Milton and Toleration (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 107-25

"Caraglio's Loves of the Gods," Print Quarterly XXIV (2007), pp. 359-80 

"Profane Love: The Challenge of Sexuality," in Andrea Bayer, ed., Art and Love in Renaissance Italy, exhibition catalogue (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008), pp. 178-84 

"Woodcut Copies of the Modi," Print Quarterly XXVI (2009), pp. 115-23 

"Copies after Caraglio's Loves of the Gods," Print Quarterly XXVII (2010), pp. 231-52

 “‘Romance’ and the Novel in Restoration England,” Review of English Studies LXII (2011), Advance Access publication April 28, 2011, pp. 1-28 

"`Great Agents for Libertinism': Rochester and Milton," in Religion, Culture and National Community in the 1670s, ed. Tony Claydon and Thomas N. Corns (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2011), pp. 99-126

“Sexual Awakening As Radical Enlightenment: Arousal and Ontogeny in Buffon and La Mettrie,” in Shane Agin (ed.), Sex Education in Eighteenth-Century France, SVEC/ Studies in Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 2011.9 (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2011), pp. 237-66

I Modi and Aretino: I, The ‘Toscanini Volume’ in Context,” The Book Collector LX (2011), pp. 559-70

“I Modiand Aretino: II, The ‘Toscanini Volume’ Re-examined,” ibid. LXI (2012),  pp. 38-54

“Hamlet’s Couplets,” in Russ McDonald, Nicholas Nace, and Travis Williams (eds), Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (London: The Arden Shakespeare, 2012), pp. 264-72, 362-3

“Invention and Sexuality in the Raphael Workshop: Before the Modi,” Art History XXXVI (2013), pp. 72-99

How Big Did She Say That Snake Was?  Teaching the Contradiction in Oroonoko,” in Mary Ann O’Donnell and Cynthia Richards (eds), Approaches to Teaching Behn’s Oroonoko (New York: Modern Languages Association, 2014), pp. 99-106

“Peruzzi and the Villa Farnesina Façade: Two Drawn Fragments Reconsidered,” Master Drawings LIII (2015), pp. 275-94

“Bodies of Love,” in Angela Hesson and Charles Zika (eds), LOVE: The Art of Emotion 1400-1800, exhibition catalogue (Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 2017), pp. 94-105

“Sexuality,” in Peter Sabor and Betty A. Schellenberg (eds), Samuel Richardson in Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 255-63

“Marcantonio’s Bacchanals: New Findings,” Print Quarterly XXXI (2017), pp. 259-69

“Cross-Sections (3): 1666-1670,” in Thomas Keymer (ed.), The Oxford History of the Novel in English, I, Prose Fiction in English from the Origins of Print to 1750 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), pp. 73-88

“The Erotic Renaissance,” in The Cambridge Companion to Erotic Literature, ed. Bradford K. Mudge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp. 85-104

“Sex as Art: the Modi of Giulio Romano and Marcantonio Raimondi,” in Barbara Furlotti, Guido Rebecchini and Linda Wolk-Simon (eds), Giulio Romano: Art and Desire in the Renaissance, exhibition catalogue (Mantua: Palazzo Te, 2019), pp. 80-7

“Erotic Literature in History,” in The Cambridge World History of Sexualities (forthcoming)

“Milton, Lucretius and the ‘Womb of Nature’,” Milton Studies (forthcoming)


“Milton's Cosmology: Lucretius versus Genesis?” Virtual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, 2022

“Milton in Italy: what did he see and tell?” New Perspectives on Milton's Poetics, Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, San Juan PR, 2023

"Marvell as Miltonist,” South Central Renaissance Conference, Berkeley, 2023


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