I am an assistant professor in the Department of Humanities at Central State University, where I have taught literature and composition courses since autumn 2016. In December 2016, I completed a PhD in English at The Ohio State University, where I was a Presidential Fellow.

My dissertation developed out a year-long dissertation seminar at the Folger Shakespeare Library. I argue that previous criticism has distorted early modern conceptions of character by linking characters too closely with modern questions of depth, subjectivity, and individuality. Recent scholarship resurrects some of the tenets of traditional character criticism by offering theoretically sophisticated claims for reading Shakespeare’s characters as naturalistic. My approach presents an alternative model of character that disentangles how we talk about characters from how we talk about actual persons. Unlike previous critiques of character studies, I contend that characters matter a great deal, but that the ways they make and convey meaning have gone largely unacknowledged by scholarship preoccupied by what characters can supposedly tell us about early modern persons or subjectivity.


Ph.D. in English Literature, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio Dec. 2016.
Dissertation: On the Surface of Shakespeare’s Characters. Committee: Luke Wilson (chair), Jennifer Higginbotham, Richard Dutton

M.A. in English, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio June 2011.
Concentrations: Literary History, Rhetoric and Composition

B.A. in English with Research Distinction, Magna Cum Laude June 2009. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Other Publications

“Alexander Pope, Interventionist Editing, and The Taming of the Shrew (1725).” In Canonising Shakespeare: Stationers and the Book Trade, 1640-1740. Ed. Emma Depledge and Peter Kirwan. Cambridge University Press. Oct. 2017

“‘To move the spirits of the beholder to admiration’: Lively Passionate Performance on the Early Modern Stage.” Literature Compass 14.2 (2017): 1-12. Feb. 2017

Blog Posts


    Shakespeare Association of America

    Jonathan Holmes

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