To be or not to be—that is the question in more ways than we imagine. Several versions of Hamlet exist, but which is definitive? Penn professor Zachary Lesser, the latest scholar to join this literary sleuthing, untangles textual clues to give us a whole new understanding of this archetypal tragedy.
The Penn Humanities Forum is thrilled to rejoin the Chicago Humanities Festival in 2014 as CHF celebrates Journeys, its 25th anniversary festival!
Penn professor Zachary Lesser teaches Shakespeare and Reinaissance literature, as well as the history of the book and print culture. He received his PhD in English literature from Columbia University and his BA in Renaissance Studies and Religious Studies from Brown University. Before coming to Penn, he taught at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His teaching and research interests focus on Shakespeare and early modern drama, the history of the book, literary form and genre, and early modern political and religious debate.
He is the author of Hamlet after Q1: An Uncanny History of the Shakespearean Text (Penn Press, 2015); and Renaissance Drama and the Politics of Publication: Readings in the English Book Trade (Cambridge University Press, 2004), which won the Elizabeth Dietz Award, presented annually by Studies in English Literature to the best book of the year in early modern studies. With Alan B. Farmer, he is co-creator of DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks, an online resource for studying the printing, publishing, and marketing of Renaissance drama. With Farmer, he is currently working on a revisionist study of print popularity, entitled Print, Plays, and Popularity in Shakespeare's England.