Richard Strier Lecture: Scripts, Texts, Poems: The (Real) Shakespeare Authorship Problem

A Lecture By Richard Strier: Scripts, Texts, Poems: The (Real) Shakespeare Authorship Problem

Richard Strier is the Frank L. Sulzberger Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus from the English Department, Divinity School, and the College of the University of Chicago. He is the editor of Modern Philology, one of the leading journals in the field, and the author of The Unrepentant Renaissance from Petrarch to Shakespeare to Milton (2011 winner of the Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Award for Literary Criticism), Resistant Structures: Particularity, Radicalism, and Renaissance Texts (1995), and Love Known: Theology and Experience in George Herbert's Poetry (1983). He has edited a number of interdisciplinary collections including, most recently, Shakespeare and the Law: A Conversation Among Disciplines and Professions; Writing and Political Engagement in Seventeenth-Century England; Religion, Literature and Politics in Post-Reformation England, 1540-1688; The Theatrical City: Culture, Theatre and Politics in London, 1576-1649; and The Historical Renaissance: New Essays in Tudor and Stuart Literature and Culture.

Date: Monday, October 27
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: IGT Knowledge Center, Wells Fargo Auditorium

Sponsored by:

The Hilliard Endowment
The Nevada Early Modern Organization
The Department Of English


Posted October 05, 2014

Professor James D. Mardock publishes a new text: Stages of Engagement: Drama and Religion in Post-Reformation England

Professor James D. Mardock publishes a new text: Stages of Engagement: Drama and Religion in Post-Reformation England

Professor James D. Mardock publishes a new text on Shakespeare.

From The Duquesne University Press:

“Neuer came Reformation in a Flood, / With such a heady currance,” exclaims the Archbishop of Canterbury in Shakespeare’s Henry V, describing the king’s seemingly miraculous conversion from the reprobate prince he had been. This description must have seemed quite apt to Shakespeare’s post-Reformation audience. Religious reform in early modern England, whether driven by individual experience or by institutional theology or politics, occurred as more of a deluge than as a clearly defined or steady voyage. And the English stage — where drama revised, resisted, and reacted against Reformation doctrine, but also reinforced it — became a place for engaging and even navigating this “heady currance” of changing religious belief and attitudes.

Throughout, the contributors offer a corrective to the secularization thesis by treating religion on the stage on its own terms while also challenging older histories that see professional English drama evolving from liturgical ritual. Thus, it becomes clear that the confessional makeup of English drama’s audiences cannot be reduced to Protestant and Catholic, or to recusant, Anglican, and Puritan; rather, we must explore the ways in which early modern theater staged its religious culture’s complex negotiations of ideas.

From the early Elizabethan touring companies’ role in disseminating reformed doctrine to the representation of Wolsey and Cranmer in London’s playhouses, English stages were potential sites of encounter — officially sanctioned or not — with mainstream ideology. As Stages of Engagement demonstrates, early modern drama both conveyed and shaped Protestant beliefs and practices, and drama was itself shaped by the religion of its producers and its audiences."

Posted October 17, 2014



Professor Rasmussen verifies first folio of Shakespeare; set to curate 2016 British exhibit

John Price delivers talk “The Nature of Kinship”

"It was a trip of misery to myth," Eric Rasmussen said. The Foundation Professor and chair of the University of Nevada, Reno's English Department recounts his recent trip abroad, and said that the worldwide media attention and excitement of the discovery of a 17th century first folio of William Shakespeare overshadowed his initial hesitancy to visit Saint-Omer, France.

"I received a call from from a Saint-Omer librarian a week before I traveled to London for a meeting to plan the British Library exhibit in 2016 around the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death," Rasmussen explained. "I didn't want to leave London; most of these calls or inquires amount to nothing, but the Saint-Omer library also has a Gutenberg Bible. It takes someone with enough knowledge and interest to do some research, so I thought I better check it out."

It was librarians at a public library in northern France, particularly the director of the medieval and early modern collection, Rémy Cordonnier, who took interest in a book with no title page and no marks on the binding. They decided to contact Rasmussen to make the final connection.

"It was raining horribly when I traveled from England to France, then so quickly had to return to London, then the United States," Rasmussen said. "It was not a pleasant trip, but it took almost no time at all to know that I was looking at an original Shakespeare folio."

Before this discovery, it is believed that just 232 of Shakespeare's 800 first folios - some of the rarest books in the world - still exist. The first folio is recognized with preserving many of his plays since none of his original manuscripts survived.

"There are many indicators to quickly be able to authenticate a relic like this," Rasmussen continued. "From the press variant, watermarks, paper composition and binding. It's just that so many historical items get buried or lost during time that a discovery like this is magnificent."

The library staff at first assumed the coverless book was an 18th- or 19th-century facsimile or reprint. The library is preparing for a British literature exhibition in 2015 and started to examine it more closely.

"It was cataloged with a Neville ownership signature," Rasmussen said, and during a National Public Radio interview on Thanksgiving Day, he further explained, "Neville was the alias that was taken by the Scarisbrick family, a family of Catholic nobles. And we know Edward Scarisbrick, who took the name of Neville, went to Saint-Omer College after the Catholics were banned from England's universities."

Rasmussen said that the Neville name has again provoked a long-disputed argument among scholars about whether William Shakespeare may have been a secret Catholic.

In a New York Times interview, the first American outlet to break the story of the first folio discovery late last month, Rasmussen further explained the quarrel.

"People have been making some vague arguments, but now for the first time we have a connection between the Jesuit college network and Shakespeare," he said. "The links become a little more substantial when you have this paper trail."

Rasmussen believes this discovery will stoke this controversial fire for some time. He's been busy personally answering every email he's received - nearly 500 the first week after media reports hit - many with requests to authenticate a family heirloom, a task he will not entertain.

Rasmussen now refocuses his time and attention to the British Library Shakespeare exhibition, which marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death in April 2016. He was asked to curate the exhibit, a role he humbly and proudly accepted. He will travel to London every few months leading up to the unveiling. The exhibit will run from April through September 2016.

Rasmussen has served on the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Association of America, on the General Council of the Malone Society, and as General Textual Editor of the Internet Shakespeare Editions Project - one of the most visited Shakespearean websites in the world.

Rasmussen has written and edited 50 scholarly books, the majority of which are about Shakespeare. He has established himself as the world's pre-eminent expert on Shakespeare's life, writing and language. Weighing in on the recent claims about the 1602 quarto edition of Thomas Kyd's play, The Spanish Tragedy, having been partially written by Shakespeare, and then moderating a scholarly duel on the authorship of Double Falsehood, people throughout the world turn to University of Nevada, Reno English Professor Rasmussen when they want to know more about Shakespeare.

At the University, Rasmussen has successfully garnered numerous grants and fellowships; has received the University's highest award for teaching excellence, the F. Donald Tibbitts Distinguished Teacher Award; the top teaching award for the entire Nevada System of Higher Education, the Regents' Teaching Award; and was selected last year as a Foundation Professor.


Posted December 29, 2014


Nicole Seymour Lecture: “Documentary Film and the Ironies of Climate Change”

Nicole Seymour delivers a lecture on “Documentary Film and the Ironies of Climate Change”

Nicole Seymour was born, and presently lives, in the charmingly sketchy port city of Long Beach, California. In the years between being born and the present, she earned her Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University, taught at the University of Louisville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and held a year-long fellowship at the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, Germany. She is currently Assistant Professor of English in the area of Literature and the Environment at Cal State Fullerton. Nicole has published articles in several edited collections and in venues such as Cinema Journal and the Journal of Ecocriticism. Her first book, Strange Natures: Empathy, Futurity, and the Queer Ecological Imagination, came out last year from the University of Illinois Press. Among other accolades, it now sits at #24 (out of 46) on's list of the Pinkest Books Ever.

Date: Friday, November 14
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Mackay Science 215

Sponsored by:

The Hilliard Endowment
The Nevada Early Modern Organization
The Gender, Race, and Identity Program


Posted September 29, 2014

Professor Rondel lecture: "Luck Egalitarianism and Its Discontent"

Professor Rondel lecture: "Luck Egalitarianism and Its Discontent"

Professor Rondel's talk describes how Kant’s idea about the impossibility of moral luck has come to influence, via Rawls, recent writings in egalitarian theory. He argues that this has been an unfortunate development. Further, he claims that the major deficiencies of this post-Rawlsian egalitarianism (dubbed by Elizabeth Anderson as “luck egalitarianism" ) are both effectively critiqued and corrected by the understanding of equality and its value located in John Dewey’s political writings.

David Rondel earned his PhD from the department of philosophy at McMaster University (Hamilton, Canada) in 2009, having written a dissertation on John Rawls and liberal theories of equality. Before coming to UNR, David held visiting appointments at Trent University (Peterborough, Canada) and Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada). His areas of research specialization include egalitarianism, theories of distributive justice, Marx and Marxism, and, increasingly, American pragmatist political theory (particularly the work of William James, John Dewey, and Richard Rorty).

David has published widely in these areas. His essays have appeared, among other places, in The Journal of Philosophical Research, Philosophy & Rhetoric, The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Dialogue, Southwest Philosophical Review, and Socialist Studies. He is also co-editor of a volume of professor Kai Nielsen’s political-philosophical essays, recently published under University of Calgary Press (2012).

David is currently working on a book manuscript, loosely drawn from dissertation research, in which he attempts to reconcile what he calls “vertical” egalitarianism and “horizontal” egalitarianism. The former has to do with the (often distributive) relationship between state and citizen; the latter with the (often ethical) relationship between or among citizens. The book claims that there is a problematic reductivist impulse endemic in the contemporary egalitarian literature (as if “vertical” and “horizontal” egalitarians were competing in “zero-sum” fashion for the whole truth about equality) and draws on American pragmatist political thought so as to reconcile these approaches with an eye to a richer, descriptively accurate, and analytically valuable egalitarianism.

Date: November 21
Time: 3:00pm
Location: Frandsen 107


Posted October 17, 2014

Gailmarie Pahmeier Appointed Reno Poet Laureate

Gailmarie Pahmeier Appointed Reno Poet Laureate

At its first meeting of 2015, the Reno City Council unanimously approved the appointment of UNR English Professor Gailmarie Pahmeier as the first Poet Laureate for the City of Reno. Reno is the first jurisdiction in the State of Nevada to have a Poet Laureate. According to the position description, "the Poet Laureate will present and advance poetry in the public domain and participate in at least four public forums and/or educational settings each year during her two-year term." A 30-year resident of Nevada, Pahmeier has published five books and chapbooks, including most recently The Rural Lives of Nice Girls (Black Rock Press, 2014). She has won many local, regional, and national awards for her writing, been a visiting writer and poet-in-residence at many schools and writing programs across the country, and published poems in dozens of journals and collections.


Posted September 29, 2014

Event Calendar

Additional Items of Interest

English Department Clubs

UNR Linguistics Club

The English Department helps to support several clubs for UNR's students. Please click on the images above to learn more about each club.

Internships Available

Student Studying

Internships for credit available to qualified junior and senior undergraduate English majors and minors. See a list of available positions here. Contact English Department Internship Coordinator Gailmarie Pahmeier for more information.

University Writing Center

Student Studying

Funded by student fees under the ASUN-initiated and student-approved Joint Vision 2017

Plan, the University Writing Center provides free one-on-one tutoring for undergraduate and graduate students. UWC staff is also available to give presentations to classes, faculty, and other groups.

Past Announcements


Follow the link to look back at
past announcements.