Rebecca Lemon

Professor of English, Comparative Literature and History
Rebecca Lemon
Email Office THH 429 Office Phone (213) 740-3732

Research & Practice Areas

Renaissance literature, law, history, political philosophy, early modern addictions, and gender studies


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

    • Professor, University of Southern California, 11/01/2018 –

    PostDoctoral Appointments

    • Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford Humanities Center, 2003-2004
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    I work on Renaissance literature, with a particular interest in theatre, law, and political philosophy. I have just completed two book projects. Addiction and Devotion in Early Modern England (Penn, 2018) illuminates a previously-buried conception of addiction, as a form of devotion at once laudable, difficult, and extraordinary, that has been concealed by the persistent modern link of addiction to pathology. Surveying sixteenth-century invocations, this book reveals how early moderns might consider themselves addicted to study, friendship, love, or God. However, I also uncover an understanding of addiction as a form of compulsion that resonates with modern scientific definitions. King Richard III: Language and Writing (Arden Shakespeare, 2018) offers an analysis of Shakespeare’s play with an eye to helping students write analytical papers. The volume considers the play’s history, language, and adaptations in its four chapters. My first book, Treason by Words: Literature, Law, and Rebellion in Early Modern England (Cornell, 2006), 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, 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. I’ve also co-edited The Blackwell Companion to the Bible in English Literature (2009), 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.

    Research Specialties

    Renaissance literature, law, history, political philosophy, early modern addictions, and gender studies

  • Book

    • Lemon, Rebecca (Ed.). (2022). Addictions: a special issue of English Language Notes. (Vol. 60, ELN (Duke University Press).
    • Lemon, R. (2018). Addiction and Devotion in Early Modern England. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Amazon link
    • Lemon, R. (2018). King Richard III: Language and Writing. London: Arden Bloomsbury.
    • 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 Chapters

    • Lemon, R. (2021). Here and There: Staging Tyranny in Shakespeare’s Richard III. Playing Shakespeare’s Tyrants and Rebels, volume 4 pp. 17-31.
    • Lemon, R. (2016). Sacking Falstaff. Culinary Shakespeare pp. 113-134. Duquesne Press.
    • 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. (2022). “Reframing Addiction: Devotion, Commerce, Community”. English Language Notes/Duke University Press. Vol. 60 (1), pp. 1-15. Article Access
    • Lemon, R. (2021). “States of Emergency: Hunger in Shakespeare”. Modern Philology. Vol. 119 (1), pp. 94-110.
    • Lemon, R. (2016). Scholarly Addiction: Doctor Faustus and the Drama of Devotion, winner of the Roma Gill Prize. Renaissance Quarterly. Vol. 69 (3), pp. 865-98.
    • Lemon, R. (2013). Compulsory Conviviality in Early Modern England, winner of the PCCBS Biennial article prize. 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. (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.
    • Renaissance Literature and Culture: On Words, Engl 520, Fall 2018
    • Anglo-American Literature and Law: Conceptions of Slavery and Tyranny, Engl 355, Spring 2018
    • Shakespeare and His Times, Engl 230, Spring 2016
    • Guest speaker, Featured speaker on DVD boxset of the Showtime drama “The Tudors.”,
    • Guest speaker, Biography Channel, Biography Channel, Christopher Marlowe. A&E Television Networks, 2014.

    • Guest Speaker, Biography Channel, Biography Channel, William Shakespeare. A&E Television Networks, 2014.

    • Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, Roma Gill Prize, 2015-2016
    • PCCBS Biennial article prize for “Compulsory Conviviality in Early Modern England”, 2013-2014
    • Huntington Library Research Fellowship Recipient, Francis Bacon Fellow, 2011/05-2011/07
    • 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, 2006/05/01-2006/05/02
    • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship Recipient, Mellon Fellow, 2003-2004
    • Stanford Humanities Center Fellowship, 2003-2004
    • Huntington Library Research Fellowship Recipient, 2003/05/16-2003/08/15
    • Zumberge Individual Research Grant, 2002
    • Phi Beta Kappa, 1990
  • Administrative Appointments

    • English department executive committee, 2022 –
    • Dean’s Leadership Fellow for the Humanities, 08/16/2021 – 08/15/2024
    • Chair, 08/16/2022 – 08/15/2023
    • USC Society of Fellows, 2018 – 2021
    • Director of Graduate Placement, 2014 – 2016
    • Director of Graduate Placement, 2006 – 2008


    • Member, English Department Executive Committee, 2020 –
    • Member, UCAPT, 2019 –
    • Chair, Merit Review committee, 2021-2022
    • Co-Chair, Trojan Elders Task Force, 2018 – 2020
    • Member, Phi Beta Kappa Executive Board, 2006 – 2020
    • Member, Society of Fellows Postdoctoral Fellowship committee, 2019-2020
    • Member, Society of Fellows postdoctoral fellowship committee, 2018-2019
    • Member, Provost’s Strategic Planning Committee, 2015 – 2016
    • Member, Center for Law, History and Culture steering committee, 2014 – 2016
  • Committees

    • 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 –

    Review Panels

    • Fulbright Fellowship, UK fellowship committee, 2018-2019
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