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Richard Halpern

Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Literature; Professor of English; ; Graduate Job Placement Coordinator for English

Ph.D. 1983, Yale; B.A. 1976, Connecticut College

Office Address: 

244 Greene Street 713 New York, NY 10003

Office Hours: 

Fall 2016: Tuesdays, 2:00-4:00pm





Areas of Research/Interest: 

Renaissance literature; Shakespeare; literary theory; modernism; Greek drama


Richard Halpern specializes in Renaissance literature, especially Shakespeare and drama more generally, but his literary interests extend (with immense gaps) from the Greeks to the modernists. He received his Ph.D. from Yale in 1983 and his B.A. from Connecticut College in 1976. He taught at Yale, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of California at Berkeley, and Johns Hopkins University before coming to NYU in 2012. He is currently engaged in a book project on political economy and tragic drama from Aeschylus to Beckett.

He works in the areas of early modern literature, with a particular focus on drama and Shakespeare; modernism; and Greek drama. He is particularly given to situating early modern texts in long histories extending back to classical times and forward to the present. His current book project is a study of tragic drama and political economy from Aeschylus to Beckett. What happens, he asks, when political economy replaces action (the very stuff of tragedy, according to Aristotle) with production as the thing that ensures human happiness? Earlier books include The Poetics of Primitive Accumulation: English Renaissance Culture and the Genealogy of Capital (Cornell, 1991), which places early modern schooling and literature within an economic transition from feudalism to capitalism; Shakespeare among the Moderns (Cornell, 1997), which studies the reception of Shakespeare’s works by twentieth-century critics, writers, stage directors and film makers; Shakespeare’s Perfume: Sodomy and Sublimity in the Sonnets, Wilde, Freud and Lacan, which examines intersections between sexuality and aesthetics; and Norman Rockwell: The Underside of Innocence (Chicago, 2006), in which I argue that America’s great painter of innocence has been badly misunderstood both by his admirers and his detractors.


Guggenheim Fellowship; NEH Fellowship

Norman Rockwell: The Underside of Innocence (Chicago, 2006) Shakespeare's Perfume: Sodomy and Sublimity in Shakespeare, Wilde, Freud and Lacan (Pennsylvania, 2002) Shakespeare among the Moderns (Cornell, 1997) The Poetics of Primitive Accumulation: English Renaissance Culture and the Genealogy of Capital (Cornell, 1991)

Updated on 09/06/2016