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James Hirsh

Emeritus, Professor

Ph.D., University of Washington, 1978


Shakespeare, English Renaissance Literature


Dr. Hirsh’s scholarly publications have focused mainly on Shakespeare, English Renaissance drama, dramatic technique, theatrical history, and audience response.

In his first book, The Structure of Shakespearean Scenes, published by Yale UP, Dr. Hirsh argued that scenes are the most important element in the dramatic structures of Shakespeare’s plays and catalogued the various scenic structures he employed.

His most recent book, Shakespeare and the History of Soliloquies, provides the first systematic and comprehensive account of the conventions governing soliloquies in Western drama from antiquity to the present day with special attention to Shakespeare’s imaginative employment of the conventions of his period. This study received the 2004 South Atlantic Modern Language Book Award.

Dr. Hirsh received the GSU Distinguished Honors Professor Award for teaching excellence.


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Shakespeare and the History of Soliloquies.  Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2003. London: Associated University Presses, 2003. Republished as a Google ebook, 2010.

Winner of the 2004 South Atlantic Modern Language Association Book Award.

Ed. New Perspectives on Ben Jonson. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1997. London: Associated University Presses, 1997. Republished as a Google ebook, 2010.

The Structure of Shakespearean Scenes.  New Haven and London: Yale UP, 1981.

Journal Issue

Ed. English Renaissance Drama and Audience Response. Spring 1993 issue of Studies in the Literary Imagination (Vol. 26, No. 1).

Book Chapters and Journal Articles 

“Soliloquies and Self-Fashioning in Volpone: An Empirical Approach.” Ben Jonson Journal 25 (2018): 52-80.

“Soliloquies in Romeo and Juliet: An Empirical Approach.” Critical Insights: Romeo and Juliet. Ed. Robert C. Evans. Amenia, NY: Salem Press, 2017. 145-62.

“Pedagogy and Resources: The Devil Is in the Details.” The White Devil: A Critical Reader. Ed. Paul Frazer and Adam Hansen. London: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2016. 201-26, 272-75.

“The Origin of the Late Renaissance Dramatic Convention of Self-Addressed Speech.” Shakespeare Survey 68 (2015): 131-45. Shakespeare Survey is published by Cambridge UP.

The Second Part of Henry IV: Expectation and Disappointment.” Reading What’s There: Essays in Honor of Stephen Booth. Ed. Michael Collins. Newark: U of Delaware P, 2014. 51-62.

“Late Renaissance Self-Address Fashioning: Scholarly Orthodoxy versus Evidence.” Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 27 (2014): 132-60.

Hamlet and Empiricism.” Shakespeare Survey 66 (2013): 330-43.

“Pervasive Contentiousness in The Taming of the Shrew.” Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Ed. Margaret Dupuis and Grace Tiffany. NY: Modern Language Association, 2013. 55-64.

“Dialogic Self-Address in Shakespeare’s Plays.” Shakespeare 8 (2012): 312-27. Published by Routledge, Shakespeare is the journal of the British Shakespeare Association.

“Guarded, Unguarded, and Unguardable Speech in Late Renaissance Drama.” Who Hears in Shakespeare? Auditory Worlds on Stage and Screen. Ed. Laury Magnus and Walter W. Cannon. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2012. 17-40.

“Eloquence in Shakespearean Drama.” Allegorica: Traditions and Influences in Medieval and Early Modern Literature 27 (2011): 71-91. Allegorica is published by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at St. Louis University (St. Louis, Missouri).

“The ‘To be, or not to be’ Speech: Evidence, Conventional Wisdom, and the Editing of Hamlet.” Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 23 (2010): 34-62.

“The ‘To be, or not to be’ Speech in Its Dramatic Context.” Shakespeare Newsletter 59 (2010). 77-78 (1771 words). Published by Iona College (New Rochelle, NY).

“Case Studies in Reading Critical Texts: Four Classics of Scholarship.” The Seventeenth Century Literature Handbook. Ed. Robert C. Evans and Eric J. Sterling. London: Continuum, 2010. 108-31 and 231-33.

“Theories of Relativity.” PMLA 123 (2008): 1762-63 (773 words).

“Shakespeare’s Stage Chorus and Olivier’s Film Chorus.”  Shakespeare On Screen: The Henriad.  Ed. Sarah Hatchuel and Nathalie Vienne-Guerin.  Rouen: Publications des Universités de Rouen et du Havre, 2008. 169-92 and 355-56.

“Covert Appropriations of Shakespeare: Three Case Studies.”  Papers on Language and Literature 43 (2007): 45-67. Published by Southern Illinois U, Edwardsville.

“Rome and Egypt in Antony and Cleopatra and in Criticism of the Play.”  In Antony and Cleopatra: New Critical Essays.  Ed. Sara Munson Deats.  New York: Routledge, 2005.  175-91.

“The Commodification of Shakespeare.”  South Atlantic Review 68 (2003): 97-110. SAR is the journal of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association.

“Hamlet’s Stage Directions to the Players.”  Stage Directions in Hamlet: New Essays and New Directions.  Ed. Hardin L. Aasand.  Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2003.  47-73.

“Vittoria’s Secret: An Approach to Teaching John Webster’s The White Devil.”  Approaches to Teaching English Renaissance Drama.  Ed. Alexander Leggatt and Karen Bamford.  New York: Modern Language Association, 2002.  73-79.

“Act Divisions in the Shakespeare First Folio.”  Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 96 (2002): 219-56.

“To Take Arms against a Sea of Anomalies: Laurence Olivier’s Film Adaptation of Act Three, Scene One of Hamlet.”  EnterText 1 (2001): 192-203. Published by Brunel U (London).

A Funeral Elegy, Shakespeare, and Elizabeth Cary.”  Ben Jonson Journal 7 (2000): 567-87. Published by Edinburgh U (Scotland).

“Provoking Thought.” Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  Ed. Maurice Hunt.  New York: Modern Language Association, 2000.  163-71.

“Attributing A Funeral Elegy.” PMLA 112 (1997): 431-32 (786 words).

“Jonsonian Voices.”  New Perspectives on Ben Jonson.  Ed. James Hirsh.  Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1997.  11-15.

“Cynicism and the Futility of Art in Volpone.”

(1)  New Perspectives on Ben Jonson.  Ed. James Hirsh.  Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1997.  106-27.

(2) Rpt. Literary Criticism from 1400 to 1800 158 (2009): 22-33.Detroit: Gale.

“Shakespeare and the History of Soliloquies.”  Modern Language Quarterly 58 (1997): 1-26. Published by Duke UP.

“Morgann, Greenblatt, and Audience Response.”  English Renaissance Drama and Audience ResponseStudies in the Literary Imagination 26 (1993): 1-5.

“Picturing Shakespeare.”  Teaching Shakespeare Today.  Ed. James E. Davis and Ronald E. Salomone.  Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 1993.  140-50.

“Samuel Clemens and the Ghost of Shakespeare.”  Studies in the Novel 24 (1992): 251-72. Published by the U of North Texas.

Othello and Perception.”

 (1) Othello: New Perspectives. Ed. Virginia Mason Vaughan and Kent Cartwright.  Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1991.  135-59.

 (2) Rpt. in Shakespearean Criticism Yearbook 1991: A Selection of the Year’s Most Noteworthy Studies.  Ed. Ralph Berry, et al.  Detroit: Gale, 1993.  276-86.

“Teaching Paradoxes.”  Shakespeare Quarterly 41 (1990): 222-29. Published by the Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington, DC).

“Laughter at Titus Andronicus.”

(1) Essays in Theatre 7 (1988): 59-74. Published by the University of Guelph (Ontario).

(2) Rpt. Shakespearean Criticism 134 (2010): 150-58. Detroit: Gale.

“Teaching King Lear through Dramatic Structure.”  Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare’s King Lear.  Ed. Robert H. Ray.  New York: Modern Language Association, 1986.  86-90.

“The ‘To be, or not to be’ Scene and the Conventions of Shakespearean Drama.”  Modern Language Quarterly 42 (1981): 115-36.