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Jame Bednarz

James P. Bednarz

Professor of English

B.A., Columbia UniversityM.A., M.Phil, Ph.D., Columbia University


James P. Bednarz, professor of English, has received three of the highest honors that Long Island University bestows upon faculty members: the Trustees’ Award for Excellence in Scholarship, the Abraham Krasnoff Memorial Award for Excellence in Scholarship, and the David Newton Award for Excellence in Teaching. Born in New York City, where he currently lives, Professor Bednarz attended the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan. He subsequently received a B.A. (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Columbia College, before going on to receive an M.A. (with honors) and a Ph. D. (with distinction) from the Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Early in his career, under the direction of Bernard Beckerman and Maurice Charney, he lectured in New York City for the Folger Library’s touring exhibition “Shakespeare, the Globe, and the World.” He has taught undergraduate and graduate classes on Shakespeare as well as medieval and Renaissance literature and drama at Columbia University. He has worked to improve the knowledge and skills of New York City high school teachers as an NEH Shakespeare Fellow with the Theater for a New Audience. And he has had the pleasure of serving as a judge for the North Shore Student Shakespeare Festival.

Professor Bednarz has received a series of fellowships from the Huntington Library (San Marino, California), and he has served as a member of the advisory committee on Shakespeare for PMLA (2009-2012). He has worked with the Shakespeare Society of New York and the Red Bull Theater as a consultant and commentator on their productions of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. He has served as an advisory reader for several major university presses and specialized literary journals. A full list of his books, articles, citations, and published reviews appears on the Google Scholar website. He has long been a contributing member of the Shakespeare Association of America and an associate of the Columbia University Seminar on Shakespeare.

Bednarz’s scholarship focuses primarily on William Shakespeare and his contemporaries, especially Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, John Marston and John Donne. His study Shakespeare and the Poets’ War (Columbia University Press, 2001) was selected as an “International Book of the Year” by The Times Literary Supplement. There, Jonathan Bate praised it as a “state-of-the-art account of the pivotal ‘dialogic’ episode” in Shakespeare’s career, which “powerfully demonstrates how Ben Jonson’s arrival on the dramatic scene presented Shakespeare with his greatest challenge since the death of Marlowe.” Harold Bloom called it a book that “stands out from the onrush of current Shakespeare criticism as a rare instance of insight and love that makes a difference.” Patrick Cheney in Shakespeare Quarterly referred to it as the work of “a superb intertextual critic,” and W. B. Worthen in SEL noted its “imaginative and critical sophistication.” His latest book Shakespeare and the Truth of Love (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) is an examination of the political, religious, and literary contexts that shaped Shakespeare's perspective as a dramatist and poet at the height of his career in 1601. F. W. Brownlow in Renaissance Quarterly calls it “a thoroughly researched, continually interesting, helpful study.” "Shakespeare and the Truth of Love," Hazel Wilkinson writes in her TLS review, "renders a great poem more intriguing and provocative than ever.” “Once in a very long while you come across a book that utterly transforms your understanding of Shakespeare,” writes James Shapiro, author of 1599 and Contested Will.  “This is one of those books.”


Shakespeare and the English Renaissance, Literary Criticism and Theory


      • Author, Shakespeare and the Truth of Love: The Mystery of ‘’The Phoenix and Turtle,” published by Palgrave Macmillan
      • Author, Shakespeare and the Poets' War, published by Columbia University Press 
      • Author, “John Marston and the Revolution at Paul’s Playhouse,” published in Modern Philology
      • Author, “Jonson, Marston, Shakespeare and the Rhetoric of Topicality,” published in The Ben Jonson Journal (2020 Beverly Rogers Literary Award Essay)
      • Author, “Jonson’s Ridicule of Shakespeare: Commodifying Drama in ‘To the Reader’ of The Alchemist,” published in Publicity and the Early Modern Stage: People Made Public, edited by Allison Deutermann, Matthew Hunter, and Musa Gurnis
      • Author, “Does Hamlet Allude to the Coronation of James I?,” published in Notes and Queries
      • Author, “English Poetry” in “Renaissance and Reformation,” website in the Oxford University Press Online Bibliographies
      • Author, "Ben Jonson," in "Renaissance and Reformation," website in the Oxford University Press Online Bibliographies
      • Author, "Shakespeare and the Early Modern Culture of Quotation," published in Shakespeare and Quotation, edited by Julie Maxwell and Kate Rumbold
      • Author, "Encountering the Elizabethan Stage," published in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean Comedy, edited by Heather Hirschfeld
      • Author, "'Of things as yet unborne': The Poetics of Fantasy in John Marston's What You Will," published in The Ben Jonson Journal
      • Author, "'Lampatho Doria' as Ben Jonson in Marston's What You Will," published in Notes and Queries
      • Author, "Suspect Evidence for the Late Dating of Twelfth Night," published in Notes and Queries
      • Author, "Was John Marston the First 'Playwright'?" published in Notes and Queries
      • Author, “Contextualizing ‘The Phoenix and Turtle’: Shakespeare, Edward Blount and the Poetical Essays Group of Love’s Martyr,” published in Shakespeare Survey
      • Author, “Dekker’s Response to the Chorus of Henry V in 1599,” published in Notes and Queries
      • Author, “Middleton: the Shadow of Shakespeare,” published in Thomas Middleton in Context, edited by Suzanne Gossett
      • Author, “John Marston’s Induction to What You Will: A Re-Examination,” published in The Ben Jonson Journal
      • Author, “Was Volpone Acted at Cambridge in 1606?” published in The Ben Jonson Journal
      • Author, “Volpone in Performance and Print (1606-1607)” in Volpone, A Critical Guide, edited by Matthew Steggle
      • Author, “Canonizing Shakespeare: The Passionate Pilgrim, England’s Helicon and the Question of Authenticity,” published in Shakespeare Survey
      • Author, The Passionate Pilgrim and “The Phoenix and Turtle,” published in The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare’s Poetry
      • Author, “When did Shakespeare Write the Choruses of Henry V?” published in Notes and Queries
      • Author, “Biographical Politics: Shakespeare, Jonson, and the Oldcastle Controversy,” published in The Ben Jonson Journal
      • Author, “Marlowe and the English Literary Scene,” published in The Cambridge Companion to Christopher Marlowe, edited by Patrick Cheney
      • Author, “Between Collaboration and Rivalry: Dekker and Marston’s Coactive Drama” published in The Ben Jonson Journal
      • Author, “Writing and Revenge: John Marston’s Histriomastix” published in Comparative Drama
      • Author, “The Promised End: Shakespeare on Time,” published in Confrontation
      • Author, “Hamlet and the Discourse of Secrecy,” published in Ventures in Research
      • Author, “William Kemp,” published in Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History
      • Author, “John Marston,” published in Sixteenth-Century British Non-Dramatic Writers
      • Author, “The Collaborator as Thief: Ralegh’s (Re)Vision of The Faerie Queene,” published in ELH: English Literary History
      • Author, “Marston's Subversion of Shakespeare and Jonson: Histriomastix and the War of the Theaters,” published in Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England
      • Author, “Shakespeare's Purge of Jonson: The Literary Context of Troilus and Cressida,” published in Shakespeare Studies
      • Author, “Deconstruction and It Discontents,” published in The Open Forum
      • Author, “Representing Jonson: Histriomastix and the Origin of the Poets' War,” published in The Huntington Library Quarterly
      • Editor, “Shakespeare” and “Elizabethan and Jacobean Literature,” published in The Critical Temper
      • Author, “The Dual Vision of Paul Klee's Symbolic Language,” published in Passion and Rebellion: The Expressionist Heritage, edited by Stephen Bonner and Douglas Kellner
      • Author, “Robert Armin, Shakespeare's Wise Fool,” published in PLA Report
      • Author, “King Lear and the ‘Offices of Nature,’” published in Ventures in Research
      • Author, “Thomas Dekker” and “John Lyly,” published in The Research Guide to World Drama
      • Author, “Thomas Lodge,” “John Skelton” and “Edmund Spenser,” published in The Research Guide to Biography and Criticism
      • Author, “Edmund Spenser, The English Undertaker,” published in An Gael
      • Author, “Imitations of Spenser in A Midsummer Night's Dream,” published in Renaissance Drama
      • Author, “Ralegh in Spenser's Historical Allegory,” in published in Spenser Studies