Jeffrey Knapp

Jeffrey Knapp

Professor
Ida Mae and William J. Eggers, Jr. Chair in English
Wheeler Hall, room 401
MW 3:00-4:00 and by appt.
jknapp@berkeley.edu


Professional Statement

Jeffrey Knapp is the Eggers Professor of English at UC Berkeley.  After undergraduate and then graduate study at Berkeley, he taught at Harvard for three years before returning to Berkeley in 1990. Knapp received the campus’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2002; he is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEH Fellowship.

Knapp has written four books: An Empire Nowhere: England and America from Utopia to The Tempest (1992); Shakespeare’s Tribe: Church, Nation, and Theater in Renaissance England (2002), which won the Best Book in Literature and Language award from the Association of American Publishers, the Book of the Year award from the Conference on Christianity and Literature, and the Roland H. Bainton Prize for the Best Book in Literature from the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference; Shakespeare Only (2009), which Choice named an Outstanding Academic Title of the year; and Pleasing Everyone: Mass Entertainment in Renaissance London and Golden-Age Hollywood, published this year by Oxford University Press -- Knapp's first book on film as well as literature and theater.

Knapp has chaired the Berkeley English department, the campus committees on Privilege and Tenure and on the Budget and Interdepartmental Relations, and the UC system-wide Committee on Academic Personnel.



Specialties

Books

Title Fields
Shakespeare Only Shakespeare Only
Three decades of controversy in Shakespeare studies can be summed up in a single question: Was Shakespeare one of a kind? On one side of the debate are the Shakespeare lovers, the bardolatrists, who insist on Shakespeare’s timeless preeminence as an author. On the other side are the theater historians who view modern claims of Shakespeare’s uniqueness as a distortion of his real professional life....
Shakespeare's Tribe: Church, Nation, and Theater in Renaissance England Shakespeare's Tribe: Church, Nation, and Theater in Renaissance England
Most contemporary critics characterize Shakespeare and his tribe of fellow playwrights and players as resolutely secular, interested in religion only as a matter of politics or as a rival source of popular entertainment. Yet as Jeffrey Knapp demonstrates in this radical new reading, a surprising number of writers throughout the English Renaissance, including Shakespeare himself, represented plays....
An Empire Nowhere: England, America, and Literature from Utopia to The Tempest An Empire Nowhere: England, America, and Literature from Utopia to The Tempest
What caused England's literary Renaissance?  One answer has been that such unprecedented developments as the European discovery of America inspired English writers to "open up new worlds for the imagination."  Yet England in the sixteenth century was far from an expanding nation.  Not only did the Tudors lose England's sole remaining possessions on the Continent and, thanks to the Reformation, gr....
Pleasing Everyone: Mass Entertainment in Renaissance London and Golden-Age Hollywood Pleasing Everyone: Mass Entertainment in Renaissance London and Golden-Age Hollywood
Shakespeare's plays were immensely popular in their own day -- so why do we refuse to think of them as mass entertainment? In Pleasing Everyone, Jeffrey Knapp opens our eyes to the uncanny resemblance between Renaissance drama and the incontrovertibly mass medium of Golden-Age Hollywood cinema.  Through fascinating explorations of such famous plays as Hamlet, The Roaring Girl, and The Alchemist, ....

Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

BOOKS

Pleasing Everyone: Mass Entertainment in Renaissance London and Golden-Age Hollywood.  Forthcoming, Oxford University Press.

Shakespeare Only.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Shakespeare's Tribe: Church, Nation, and Theater in Renaissance England. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002.

An Empire Nowhere: England, America, and Literature from Utopia to The Tempest. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.

 ARTICLES

"Hamlet and the Sovereignty of Reasons."  Forthcoming in The Review of Politics.

"Shakespeare's Pains to Please."  In Forms of Association: Making Publics in Early Modern Europe.  Ed. Paul Yachnin and Marlene Eberhart.  Amherst and Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2015.  256-71.  

"'Throw That Junk!'  The Art of the Movie in Citizen Kane."  Representations 122 (2013): 110-42.

"Mass Entertainment Before Mass Entertainment."  New Literary History 44 (2013): 93-115.

"The Confession of Authorship in Shakespeare's Sonnets."  In Word and Rite: Ceremony in Selected Works of Shakespeare.  Ed. Beatrice Batson.  Cambridge: Cambridge Publishers, 2010.

"Author, King, and Christ in Shakespeare's Histories."  In Shakespeare and Religious Change.  Ed. Kenneth Graham and Philip Collington.  New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009.  217-37.

"Shakespeare as Coauthor."  Shakespeare Studies 36 (2008): 49-59.

"'Sacred Songs, Popular Prices': Secularization in The Jazz Singer."  Critical Inquiry 34 (2008): 313-35.

"Religious Pluralization and Single Authorship in Shakespeare's Histories."  In Representing Religious Pluralization in Early Modern Europe.  Ed. Andreas Höfele et al.  Berlin: Lit-Verlag, 2007. 153-73.

"Nations into Persons."  In ReReading the Black Legend: The Discourses of Racism in the Renaissance Empires.  Ed. Margaret R. Greer, Walter Mignolo, and Maureen Quilligan.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.  293-311.

"What is a Co-Author?"  Representations 89 (2005): 1-29.

“Spenser the Priest.” Representations 81 (2003): 61-78.

“Jonson, Shakespeare, and the Religion of Players.” Shakespeare Survey 54 (2001): 57-70.

“Rogue Nationalism.” In Centuries’ Ends, Narrative Means. Ed. Robert Newman. Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1996. 138-50.

“Preachers and Players in Shakespeare's England.” Representations 44 (Fall 1993): 29-59.

“Elizabethan Tobacco.” Representations 21 (Winter 1988): 26-66.

“Error as a Means of Empire in The Faerie Queene 1.” ELH 54 (Winter 1987): 801-34.



Current Research

My most recent book compares the plays of Renaissance London to the movies of Golden-Age Hollywood in order to question the dominant view of mass entertainment as a distinctively modern phenomenon.



Recent English Courses Taught

Fall, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
45A/2 Literature in English: Through Milton Introductory Surveys
45A/201 -- discussion section No instructor assigned yet.
45A/202 -- discussion section No instructor assigned yet.
Spring, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
117S/2 Shakespeare Shakespeare
190/10 Research Seminar: Hollywood in the 1930s Research Seminars
Spring, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
117S/2 Shakespeare Shakespeare
Drama
117S/201 -- discussion section Magarik, Raphael
117S/202 -- discussion section Liu, Aileen
117S/203 -- discussion section Hobson, Jacob
190/6 Research Seminar: Classical and Renaissance Drama Pre-1800 Requirement
Renaissance and Early Modern
Drama
Research Seminars
Spring, 2015
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
117S/1 Shakespeare Shakespeare
190/9 Research Seminar: Mass Entertainment in Classical Hollywood Film Research Seminars

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