Bruce Smith

Professor Emeritus of English
Email Office THH 404G Office Phone (213) 740-2814


  • Ph.D. Medieval, Renaissance, 17th Century, Drama, University of Rochester, 6/1973
  • M.A. English, University of Rochester, 6/1971
  • B.A. English, Tulane University, New Orleans, 6/1968
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Professor of English, Georgetown University, 09/01/1987 – 08/31/2003
    • Associate Professor of English, Georgetown University, 09/01/1978 – 08/31/1987
    • Assistant Professor of English, Georgetown University, 09/01/1972 – 08/31/1978

    Visiting and Temporary Appointments

    • Director, “Shakespeare in an Age of Visual Culture” seminar series, Folger Institute, 1998-1999
    • Visiting Professor of English, University of Hawaii, Manoa,
    • Director, “The O-Factor: Voice, Media, and Community in Early Modern England” seminar, Folger Institute,
    • Visiting Professor of English, University of Colorado at Boulder, Fall Fall

    Other Employment

    • Faculty member, Middlebury College, Bread Loaf School of English, 06/01/1994
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Smith studies the literature and culture of early modern England, including Shakespeare, gender, sexuality, acoustic ecology and historical phenomenology. Among his six published books, “The Acoustic World of Early Modern England” won the 2000 Roland H. Bainton Prize for Literature, attracting the attention of theater professionals, communications specialists and musicologists. At USC College, Smith hopes to develop courses that interest English students, as well as students of music and drama. His current work explores what it was like to live in the kind of body imagined by early modern medicine and to perceive the world through that body. He is particulary interested in how important the senses and the passions were to perception before Descartes divorced the thinking mind from the sensing body in the middle of the 17th century.

    Research Keywords

    Shakespeare, Renaissance drama, visual culture, acoustic ecology, gender, sexuality, phenomenology

  • Contracts and Grants Awarded

    • Mobile Shakespeare Scripts, (NEH Office of Digital Humanities), Bruce R Smith, Katherine Rowe, $50,000, 2011-2012
    • Digital Humanities Start-up Grant, (National Endowment for the Humanities), Bruce R. Smith, Katherine Rowe, Bryn Mawr College, $26,000, 10/01/2009 – 12/31/2010
  • Conference Presentations

    • “Within, Without, Withinwards: The Circulation of Sound in Shakespeare’s Theatre” , Les Metamorphoses de la Voix sur la Scene AnglophoneKeynote Lecture, University of Paris Sorbonne IV, Invited, Paris, France, 2010-2011
    • “The Congeniality of Shakespeare’s Genius” , The Creativity of Genius (year-long lecture series)Lecture/Seminar, Templeton Foundation, Invited, USC, 2008-2009
    • “Ambient Looking” , “Theatre: Crossroads of the Humanities”keynote address, Northwestern University, Interdisciplinary PhD Pro, Invited, Chicago, IL, Spring 2008
    • “How Should One Read a Shakespeare Sonnet?” , Australia and New Zealand Shakespeare Association annual meetingkeynote address, Australia and New Zealand Shakespeare Association, Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand, Spring 2008
    • “‘What Means This Noise?’: Sound and Voice in the Performing of Shakespeare’s Scripts” , Deutsche Shakespeare Gesellschaftkeynote address at opening ceremonies, Deutsche Shakespeare Gesellschaft and Stadt Bochum, Invited, Bochum, Germany, Spring 2007
    • “The Pro- in Shakespeare’s Pronouns” , The English InstituteTalk/Oral Presentation, The English Institute, Invited, Harvard University, Fall 2006
  • Book

    • Smith, B. R. (2010). Phenomenal Shakespeare. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
    • Smith, B. R. (2009). The Key of Green: Passion and Perception in Renaissance Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    • Smith, B. R. (2001). William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night: Text and Contexts (Boston:Bedford-St. Martin’s Press, February 2001)xiv + 410 pp. Boston: Bedford-St. Martins Press.
    • Smith, B. R. (2000). Shakespeare and Masculinity (Oxford:Oxford Univ. Press, 2000),ix + 182pp. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    • Smith, B. R. (1999). The Acoustic World of Early Modern England:Attending to the O-Factor (Chicago:University of Chicago Press,1999), xiv + 386 pp. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    • Smith, B. R. (1994). Roasting the Swan of Avon: Shakespeare’s Redoubtable Enemies and Dubious Friends (Washington, DC: Folger Shakespeare Library, and Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994) ii + 77 pp. Seattle: Folger Shakespeare Library and University of Washington Press.
    • Smith, B. R. (1991). Homosexual Desire in Shakespeare’s England: A Cultural Poetics (University of Chicago Press, 1991). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    • Smith, B. R. (1988). Ancient Scripts and Modern Experience on the English Stage, 1500-1700 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988), xii + 289 pp. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    Book Chapters

    • Smith, B. R. (2010). “Latin Lovers in A Taming of the Shrew” in Shakesqueer, an anthology of Queer readings of all of Shakespeare’s plays. pp. 343-50. Duke University Press.
    • Smith, B. R. (2009). “Resexing Lady Macbeth’s Gender–And Ours,” in Presentism, Gender, and Sexuality in Shakespeare, ed. Evelyn Gajowski. Palgrave Macmillan.
    • Smith, B. R. (2006). “What Means This Noise?” in exhibition catalogue, “‘Noyses, sounds and sweet aires’: Music in Early Modern England,” Folger Shakespeare Library. pp. p. n/a. Seattle, WA: University of Washington.
    • Smith, B. R. (2006). “Shakespeare’s Residuals,” in Shakespeare and Elizabethan Popular Culture, ed. Neil Rhodes and Stuart Gillespie, Arden Companions to Shakespeare. pp. 193-217. London: Thompson.
    • Smith, B. R. (2005). “Female Impersonation in Early Modern Ballads,” in Women Players in England, 1500-1660: Beyond the All-Male Stage. pp. 284-301. Basingstoke: Ashgate.
    • Smith, B. R. (2005). “Ragging Twelfth Night:1602, 1996, 2002-2003,” in A Companion to Shakespeare and Performance, ed. Barbara Hodgdon and W. B. Worthen. (Vol. 57-78) Oxford: Blackwell.
    • Smith, B. R. (2004). “E/loco/com/motion,” in From Script to Stage in Early Modern England, ed. Peter Holland and Stephen Orgel. pp. 131-150. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Journal Article

    • Smith, B. R. (2007). “THWS, CWWC, WSAF, and WSCI in the Shakespeare Book Biz”. Shakespeare Studies. Vol. 35, pp. 158-185.

    Broadcast Media

    • Smith, B. R. (2008, October, 5).”Hark! An Acoustic Archeology of Elizabethan England”. “Hark! An Acoustic Archeology of Elizabethan England”. . London.
    • Smith, B. R. (2008, September, 29).”The Acoustic World of Elizabethan England”. “The Acoustic World of Elizabethan England”. . St. Johns, Newfoundland.
    • Smith, B. R. (2007, April).interview for “Shakespeare’s America,” Pubic Radio International, aired April-May 2007.
    • Dornsife Dean’s Professor, Dean’s Professor of English, 2008
    • Prix Marulic for radio documentary “Hark!” (devised by Chris Brookes, Battery Radio, Canada, broadcast over CBC network in Canada and over BBC Radio in the UK), inspired by Bruce R. Smith, The Acoustic World of Early Modern England (1999), Spring 2009
    • USC Distinguished Professor, , 2004-2008
    • British Academy-Huntington Library Research Fellowship, Fall 2004
    • Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient, , 2001-2002
    • Distinguished Scholar Award, University of Rochester, Spring 2002
    • Honorable Mention, John Ben Snow Prize, North American Conference on British Studies, 2000
    • Roland Bainton Prize for Literature, Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, 2000
    • International Globe Fellowship, Shakespeare’s Globe, London, October 1997, 1997/10
    • Huntington Library Research Fellowship Recipient, Mellon Research Fellowship, 1996
    • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship Recipient, Folger Shakespeare Library, 1987-1988
  • Editorships and Editorial Boards

    • Member, Editorial Board, Shakespeare Studies, 2011 –
    • member of editorial board, Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation, 09/2003 –
    • member of editorial board, Studies in English Literature, 09/1999 –
    • member of editorial board, Shakespeare Quarterly, 09/1991 – 04/2007
    • member of editorial board, PMLA, 2000 – 2002

    Professional Offices

    • President, Shakespeare Association of America, 1994-1995