Rebecca Lemon

Associate Professor of English

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-3732
Office: THH 429

Personal Website
English Placement statistics


  • M.A. , Cambridge University
  • B.A. , Smith College
  • Ph.D. Renaissance Literature and Culture, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1/2000

  • Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

    Tenure Track Appointments
    • Associate Professor, University of Southern California, 05/01/2006-  
    • Assistant Professor, University of Southern California, 08/01/2000-05/01/2006  
    PostDoctoral Appointments
    • Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford Humanities Center, 2003-2004   

    Description of Research

    Summary Statement of Research Interests
    I work on Renaissance literature, with a particular interest in theatre, law, and political philosophy. My first book, Treason by Words: Literature, Law, and Rebellion in Early Modern England , investigates how English citizens expressed competing notions of treason in opposition to the growing absolutism of the late Tudor and early Stuart states. Analyzing texts surrounding the Earl of Essex's 1601 rising and the 1605 Gunpowder Plot, including writings by John Donne, Ben Jonson, and William Shakespeare, the book argues that the articulation of diverse ideas about treason within literary and polemical texts produced increasingly fractured conceptions of the crime of treason itself. Further, literary texts, in representing issues familiar from political polemic, helped to foster more free, less ideologically rigid, responses to the crisis of treason. As a result, such works of imagination bolstered an emerging discourse on subjects' rights. Treason by Words thus offers an original theory of the role of dissent and rebellion during a period of burgeoning sovereign power. Since the publication of the first book, I have written essays on sovereignty, tyranny, and Shakespeare, which have appeared in several edited collections. I've also co-edited The Blackwell Companion to the Bible in English Literature, which offers a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary examination of the Bible's role and influence on English Literature, from Old English poetry through to T. S. Eliot. Including examples from medieval, early-modern, eighteenth-century and Romantic, Victorian, and Modernist literature, the collection demonstrates how writers from across these periods have been influenced by biblical texts and translations in their work. The volume focuses on authorial engagements with text (rather than belief), so that many ‘secular’ or ‘anti-clerical’ writers are included alongside their ‘Christian’ contemporaries, revealing how the Bible's text shifts and changes in the writing of each author who reads and studies it. I am also interested in critical theory and gender studies, with articles on Shakespeare and Agamben, and Mary Wroth and sexual politics of the lyric. Currently I am working on a book-length study of addiction in early-modern literature.
    Research Specialties
    Renaissance literature, law, history, political philosophy, early modern addictions, and gender studies

    Funded Research

    Contracts and Grants Awarded
    • Addiction in Early Modern England (USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute), Rebecca Lemon, $20,000, Fall 2012   
    • Frances Bacon Foundation Fellowship , Rebecca Lemon, $5,000, 07/2011-09/2011  

    Affiliations with Research Centers, Labs, and Other Institutions

    • Center for Law, History, and Culture, Steering Committee Member,
    • Early Modern Studies Institute, Seminar Leader: Early Modern Evidence,
    • Institute for British and Irish Studies, Director,

    Conferences and Other Presentations

    Conference Presentations
    • "Sacking Falstaff ", Renaissance Society of America, Lecture/Seminar, Berlin, Germany, Invited, Spring 2015   
    • ""Incapacitated Will: Shakespeare, Law, and the Dilemma of Drunkenness" ", Renaissance Literature Seminar, Keynote Lecture, Huntington Library, USC-Huntington EMSI, Invited, Spring 2013   
    • "Shakespeare’s State of Emergency", Shakespeare and Political Theory, Keynote Lecture, Paper, São Paulo, Brazil, Direito GV Law School, Invited, Fall 2012   
    • "Drinking in Early Modern England", Keynote Lecture, Boise, Idaho, Boise State University, Invited, Spring 2012   
    • "Addiction in Shakespeare ", Talk/Oral Presentation, University of Colorado, Boulder , Department of History, Invited, Fall 2011   
    • "Compromised Will", Modern Language Association Conference, Talk/Oral Presentation, Seattle, WA, MLA, Invited, Fall 2011   
    • "Falstaff ", The World Shakespeare Congress, Lecture/Seminar, Prague, Czech Republic, Invited, Spring 2011   
    • "Seminar Leader, "Shakespeare and Science," ", National Conference of the Shakespeare Association of America , Lecture/Seminar, Bellevue, WA, SAA, Invited, Spring 2011   
    • "Lives of the Mind: Shakespeare and Cognition" ", Modern Language Association Conference, Roundtable/Panel, Los Angeles, CA, Invited, Fall 2010   
    • "Shakespeare's Drinkers", Lecture/Seminar, Abstract, Cambridge University Graduate Research Seminar, Cambridge University, Invited, Spring 2010   
    • "Shakespeare's Drinkers", Talk/Oral Presentation, Abstract, Sheffield Hallam University, England, Sheffield Hallam University, Invited, Spring 2010   
    • "Hamlet's Mole: Detecting Addiction in Early Modern England", Lecture/Seminar, Paper, Macmillan Center, Yale University, Yale University, Invited, Fall 2009   
    • "The Alternative World of the English Tavern", MLA, Talk/Oral Presentation, Philadelphia, PA, MLA, Invited, Fall 2009   
    • "The Alternative World of the English Tavern", North American Conference on British Studies , Talk/Oral Presentation, Louisville, KY, NACBS, Fall 2009   
    • "Drinking Habits in Shakespeare", Talk/Oral Presentation, University of Warwick Department of English, University of Warwick, England, Invited, Spring 2009   
    • "Heath Drinking in Seventeenth-Century England", British History Seminar, Lecture/Seminar, Huntington Library, EMSI, Invited, Fall 2008   
    • "'Merry Comrads:' Drinking and Masculinity in the Early Modern Tavern", Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies, Talk/Oral Presentation, Philadelphia, PA, Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies, Fall 2008   
    • "Character Evidence in Shakespeare", UCLA Shakespeare Symposium, Lecture/Seminar, UCLA, UCLA Medieval Renaissance Center, Invited, Spring 2008   
    • "Drinking in Hamlet", Shakespeare Association of America, Talk/Oral Presentation, Paper, Dallas, TX, Shakespeare Association of America, Spring 2008   
    • "Falstaff's Addiction", Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies, Talk/Oral Presentation, Huntington Library, PCCBS, Spring 2008   
    • "Shakespeare and Agamben", Talk/Oral Presentation, Paper, UC-Irvine, UC-Irvine Department of English, Invited, Spring 2008   


    • Lemon, Rebecca; Emma Mason; Jonathan Roberts; Christopher Rowland (Ed.). (2012). Blackwell Companion to the Bible in English Literature. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
    • Stewart, A., Sullivan, G., Lemon, R., Summit, J., McDowell, N. (2012). The Encyclopedia of English Renaissance Literature. (Lemon, Rebecca (associate editor), Ed.). Oxford: Blackwell.
    • Lemon, R., Rowland, C., Mason, E., Roberts, J. (2009). Blackwell Companion to Literature and the Bible. Oxford: Blackwell.
    • Lemon, R. (2006). Treason by Words: Literature, Law, and Rebellion in Shakespeare's England. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

    Book Chapter
    • Lemon, R. (2013). Tyranny and the state of exception in Shakespeare’s Richard III. Richard III: A Critical Reader pp. 111-128. Continuum. PubMed Web Address
    • Lemon, R. (2013). Incapacitated Will. Staged Transgression pp. 170-192. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
    • Lemon, R. (2012). Shakespeare's Richard II and Elizabethan Politics, ed. Jeremy Lopez. Richard II: New Critical Essays New York: Routledge.
    • Lemon, R. (2011). "Shakespeare and Law". Oxford Guide to Shakespeare, ed. Arthur F. Kinney pp. pp.548-564. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    • Lemon, R. (2008). Treason and Tyranny in Macbeth. Macbeth: New Critical Essays pp. 15. New York, NY: Routledge.
    • Lemon, R. (2007). Arms and Laws in Shakespeare's Coriolanus. The Law in Shakespeare (Vol. NA). pp. pp. 233-48. London: England: Palgrave.
    • Lemon, R. (2003). Indecent Exposure in Mary Wroth. (Vol. NA). London: England: in Women and Culture at the Courts of the Stuart Queens, ed. Clare McManus/Palgrave.

    Journal Article
    • Lemon, R. (2013). Compulsory Conviviality in Early Modern England. English Literary Renaissance. Vol. 43 (3), pp. 381-414. PubMed Web Address
    • Lemon, R. (2013). Player's Club. Lampham's Quarterly. pp. 200-208. PubMed Web Address Players Club
    • Lemon, R. (2012). Compulsory Conviviality. English Literary Renaissance.
    • Lemon, R. (2002). Scaffolds of Treason in Macbeth. Theatre Journal/Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. p. 25-43.
    • Lemon, R. (2001). "Review Essay: Accessible Monarchy: Elizabeth I," Huntington Library Quarterly 64.1-2 (2001): 245-50. Huntington Library Quarterly. Vol. 64.1-2, pp. pp.245-50.
    • Lemon, R. (2001). The Faulty Verdict in 'The Crown v. John Hayward'. Studies in English Literature 1500-1900/Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. p.41.1.

    Multimedia Scholarship and Creative Works

    • Guest speaker, Featured speaker on DVD boxset of the Showtime drama "The Tudors.", Fall 2009   
    • Guest speaker, Biography Channel, Biography Channel, Christopher Marlowe. A&E Television Networks, 2014. , Fall 2013   
    • Guest Speaker, Biography Channel, Biography Channel, William Shakespeare. A&E Television Networks, 2014. , Fall 2013   

    Honors and Awards

    • Huntington Library Research Fellowship Recipient, Francis Bacon Fellow, 5/2011-7/2011  
    • Early Modern Studies Institute Fellowship, Fall 2008   
    • Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences, 2007-2008   
    • USC or School/Dept Award for Teaching, CET Mellon Award for Mentoring, 5/1/2006-5/2/2006  
    • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship Recipient, Mellon Fellow, 2003-2004  
    • Stanford Humanities Center Fellowship, 2003-2004  
    • Huntington Library Research Fellowship Recipient, 5/16/2003-8/15/2003  
    • Zumberge Individual Research Grant, 2002  
    • Phi Beta Kappa, 1990  

    Service to the University

    Administrative Appointments
    • Director of Graduate Placement, 2006-2008  

    • Member, Phi Beta Kappa Executive Board, 2006-2008  

    Service to the Profession

    • Member, MLA Division committee, English Renaissance excluding Shakespeare, 2009-2012  
    • Member, Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies Annual Meeting: conference selection committee, 2006-2007   
    • Member, Shakespeare Association of America annual meeting: program committee member, 2006-2007   

    Conferences Organized
    • Co-organizer with Peter Mancall, Addiction in the Early Modern World, Huntington Library, Spring 2006   

    Editorships and Editorial Boards
    • Associate Editor, Blackwell Encyclopedia to Renaissance Literature, 08/01/2008-  
    • Co-editor, Shakespeare section, Blackwell Literature Compass, 02/2008-  

    Professional Memberships
    • North American Association of British Studies, 09/2004-  
    • Renaissance Society of America, 09/1998-  
    • Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies, 09/01/1997-  
    • Shakespeare Association of America, 09/01/1996-  

  • USC Dornsife Department of English
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  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354
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