People / Faculty

Affiliates Faculty

Jeffrey Knapp

Professor & Ida Mae and William J. Eggers Chair in English

Specialty areas

Critical theory, Cultural Studies, Drama, Film, Poetry, Renaissance and Early Modern Literature.

Jeff Knapp


Wheeler Hall, room 401



Jeffrey Knapp, Chair of the Department, is the Eggers Professor of English at Berkeley and a Faculty Affiliate of Film & Media.  After undergraduate and then graduate study at Berkeley, Knapp taught at Harvard for three years before returning to Berkeley in 1990. He has received the campus’s Distinguished Teaching Award and its Faculty Service Award; he is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEH Fellowship.

Knapp has written four books: An Empire Nowhere: England and America from Utopia to The Tempest (1992); Shakespeare’s Tribe: Church, Nation, and Theater in Renaissance England (2002), which won the Best Book in Literature and Language award from the Association of American Publishers, the Book of the Year award from the Conference on Christianity and Literature, and the Roland H. Bainton Prize for the Best Book in Literature from the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference; Shakespeare Only (2009), which Choice named an Outstanding Academic Title of the year; and Pleasing Everyone: Mass Entertainment in Renaissance London and Golden-Age Hollywood (2017) — Knapp’s first book on film as well as literature and theater.

Knapp has previously chaired the Berkeley English department, the campus committees on Privilege and Tenure and on the Budget and Interdepartmental Relations, and the UC system-wide Committee on Academic Personnel.


Pleasing everyone
Shakespeare only
Shakespeare tribe
An empire



Pleasing Everyone: Mass Entertainment in Renaissance London and Golden-Age Hollywood.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Shakespeare Only.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Shakespeare’s Tribe: Church, Nation, and Theater in Renaissance England. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002.

An Empire Nowhere: England, America, and Literature from Utopia to The Tempest. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.


“Entertainment.”  In Entertaining the Idea: Shakespeare, Philosophy, Performance.  Ed. Julia Lupton, Lowell Gallagher, and James Kearney.  Forthcoming from the University of Toronto Press.

Selma and the Place of Fiction in Historical Films.”  Representations 142 (2018): 91-123.  Online version at 

“Hamlet and the Sovereignty of Reasons.”  The Review of Politics 78 (2016): 645-62.

“Shakespeare’s Pains to Please.”  In Forms of Association: Making Publics in Early Modern Europe.  Ed. Paul Yachnin and Marlene Eberhart.  Amherst and Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2015.  256-71.  

“‘Throw That Junk!’  The Art of the Movie in Citizen Kane.”  Representations 122 (2013): 110-42.

“Mass Entertainment Before Mass Entertainment.”  New Literary History 44 (2013): 93-115.

“The Confession of Authorship in Shakespeare’s Sonnets.”  In Word and Rite: Ceremony in Selected Works of Shakespeare.  Ed. Beatrice Batson.  Cambridge: Cambridge Publishers, 2010.

“Author, King, and Christ in Shakespeare’s Histories.”  In Shakespeare and Religious Change.  Ed. Kenneth Graham and Philip Collington.  New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009.  217-37.

“Shakespeare as Coauthor.”  Shakespeare Studies 36 (2008): 49-59.

“‘Sacred Songs, Popular Prices’: Secularization in The Jazz Singer.”  Critical Inquiry 34 (2008): 313-35.

“Religious Pluralization and Single Authorship in Shakespeare’s Histories.”  In Representing Religious Pluralization in Early Modern Europe.  Ed. Andreas Höfele et al.  Berlin: Lit-Verlag, 2007. 153-73.

“Nations into Persons.”  In ReReading the Black Legend: The Discourses of Racism in the Renaissance Empires.  Ed. Margaret R. Greer, Walter Mignolo, and Maureen Quilligan.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.  293-311.

“What is a Co-Author?”  Representations 89 (2005): 1-29.

“Spenser the Priest.” Representations 81 (2003): 61-78.

“Jonson, Shakespeare, and the Religion of Players.” Shakespeare Survey 54 (2001): 57-70.

“Rogue Nationalism.” In Centuries’ Ends, Narrative Means. Ed. Robert Newman. Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1996. 138-50.

“Preachers and Players in Shakespeare’s England.” Representations 44 (Fall 1993): 29-59.

“Elizabethan Tobacco.” Representations 21 (Winter 1988): 26-66.

“Error as a Means of Empire in The Faerie Queene 1.” ELH 54 (Winter 1987): 801-34.