Berkeley English Faculty

Jeffrey Knapp

Jeffrey Knapp

Professor
Ida Mae and William J. Eggers, Jr. Chair in English

Wheeler Hall, room 401
By appt.
jknapp@berkeley.edu


Professional Statement

Jeffrey Knapp is the Eggers Professor of English at Berkeley, and a Faculty Affiliate of Berkeley's Film and Media Department.  After undergraduate and then graduate study at Berkeley, Knapp taught at Harvard for three years before returning to Berkeley in 1990. He 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 (2017) -- 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.


Books
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 incontrovertib....(read more)

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....(read more)

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 demonst....(read more)


Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

BOOKS

Pleasing Everyone: Mass Entertainment in Renaissance London and Golden-Age Hollywood.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.

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

"Selma and the Place of Fiction in Historical Films."  Representations 142 (2018): 91-123.  Online version at http://www.representations.org/advance-publications/. 

"Hamlet and the Sovereignty of Reasons."  The Review of Politics 78 (2016): 645-62.

"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
spring, 2020

117S/1

Shakespeare

117S/101 -- discussion section

No instructor assigned yet.

117S/102 -- discussion section

No instructor assigned yet.

117S/103 -- discussion section

No instructor assigned yet.

117S/104 -- discussion section

No instructor assigned yet.

190/6

Research Seminar: Hollywood in the Thirties

spring, 2019

190/13

Research Seminar: Sixties Cinema

203/4

Graduate Readings: Renaissance Drama

spring, 2018

117S/2

Shakespeare

166/3

Special Topics: Classical & Renaissance Drama

fall, 2017

45A/2

Literature in English: Through Milton

45A/201 -- discussion section

Rice, Sarah Sands

45A/202 -- discussion section

Stevenson, Max

spring, 2017

117S/2

Shakespeare

190/10

Research Seminar: Hollywood in the 1930s