Henry S. Turner
Professor of English
(848) 932-7030

Murray Hall, Room 053, College Ave Campus

Drama, Early Modern, Theory

Early Modern Literature; Literature and Science; Literature and Intellectual History

Henry S. Turner is a specialist in Renaissance literature, with a focus on theater and intellectual history, especially relations between literature and science, literature and political thought, and literature and philosophy. He is currently working on the idea of the essay in literature and philosophy and on notions of art, fiction, and theatricality in the work of Ben Jonson. He will be editing Jonson’s Poetaster for the forthcoming Routledge Anthology of Early Modern Drama, ed. Jeremy Lopez. More details about past, current, and future work may be found at www.henrysturner.com.

Professor Turner is the author of three monographs on Renaissance literature and culture. The most recent, The Corporate Commonwealth: Pluralism and Political Fictions in England, 1516-1651 (University of Chicago Press, 2016), traces the history of the corporation as a political institution and political idea from Thomas More’s Utopia to Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan. The book shows how the corporation addressed problems of group life that formed the core of political philosophy from its inception: relations between the one and the many, the nature of sovereignty, administration and constitutions, justice as an adjudication among competing systems of value, the nature of group “personhood” and group action. His second monograph, Shakespeare’s Double Helix(Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2008), juxtaposes a reading of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the history of genetics and contemporary debates over genetic engineering and theories of the posthuman. His first book, The English Renaissance Stage: Geometry Poetics, and the Practical Spatial Arts, 1580-1630 (Oxford, 2006), places the history of theater into the rich culture of early scientific thought in England, showing how poets and playwrights borrowed some of their most important ideas about form and representation from the fields of geometry, mathematics, and cartography. In 2007, The English Renaissance Stage was awarded Honorable Mention for the best book of the year in literature and science by the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts. His work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, and by a Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.

Professor Turner has edited a large-scale collection of essays on Early Modern Theatricality (Oxford, 2013), a collection on literature, economics, science, and urban history entitled The Culture of Capital: Property, Cities, and Knowledge in Early Modern England (Routledge, 2002), and a special double issue of Configurations: Journal of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts 17.1–2 (Winter 2009) on “Mathematics and the Imagination” (with Arielle Saiber). His articles, essays, reviews, and interviews have appeared in Annals of Science, Configurations, differences, ELH, Isis, JEMCS, Nano, postmedieval, Public Books, Renaissance Drama, Renaissance Quarterly, Shakespeare Quarterly, Shakespeare Studies, South Central Review, and The Spenser Review, as well as in a wide range of edited collections. He has served on the Editorial Board of Shakespeare Quarterly, Renaissance Drama, Exemplaria, and The Hare, as Book Review editor for The Upstart Crow (2005-09) and Configurations (2005-6), and on the Editorial Board of the book series “Edinburgh Critical Studies in Shakespeare and Philosophy” (Edinburgh University Press). In 2008, he chaired the Executive Committee for the MLA Division of Literature and Science (2004-09).

At Rutgers, Professor Turner is the Director of the Center for Cultural Analysis (CCA), the leading institute for advanced interdisciplinary research in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences in SAS. He also currently runs EMRG @ RU: The Early Modern Research Group at Rutgers, an interdisciplinary research program on the period 1400-1700 that is currently sited at the CCA (formerly the Program in Early Modern Studies). In the English Department, he teaches undergraduate courses on Renaissance comedy and social life, poetry and poetics in English, French Structuralism and its legacy, and philosophies of the human. At the graduate level, he teaches seminars on early modern literature and science, on literature and political thought, on early modern theatricality, and on Ben Jonson, and he supervises graduate students in all of these areas.

  • "Introduction to Literary Study: Poetry"
  • "Dekker, Middleton, Jonson, and the Drama of Everyday Life"
  • "French Structuralism and its Legacy"
  • "What is the Human?"
  • "Ben Jonson"
  • "The Meaning of Life: Determining the Human and Beyond"
  • Imagining Science in Early Modern England"
  • "The Early Modern Political Imagination"
  • ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars. 2012-13 residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.
  • M. H. Abrams Fellowship, National Humanities Center. 2010-11.
  • Honorable Mention, Michelle Kendrick Memorial Book Prize, awarded to The English Renaissance Stage, 2007
  • Graduate Teaching Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006
  • National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowship, 2004-5
  • Member, Modern Language Association
  • Member, Shakespeare Association of America
  • Member, Renaissance Society of America
  • Member, Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts

PhD, Columbia University
MA, University of Sussex, Brighton
Diplôme Supérieur d’Etudes Françaises, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France
BA, Wesleyan University