Daniel Blank

B.A. Columbia University, 2009.
M.St. University of Oxford, 2010.

I study the literature and drama of the early modern period. My dissertation, Scholars and Players: University Drama in the Age of Shakespeare, examines the development of theatrical performances at Oxford and Cambridge in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By investigating the shifting purpose of drama in the English universities as well as the academic debates this shift provoked, I show how the university stage evolved from a pedagogical forum into a major source of inspiration for the plays of the London stage. Through discussions of Shakespeare and Jonson, I demonstrate how professional playwrights incorporated elements of university drama and the controversies surrounding them into their own plays, ultimately illustrating the rich exchange that developed between these two seemingly distant theatrical venues.

My dissertation makes extensive use of archival research, much of which I completed as a Recognized Student at the University of Oxford during AY 2014-15, while supported by a Donald and Mary Hyde Academic Year Research Fellowship from Princeton. Overseas research has also been supported by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies. In 2015-16, I was a Graduate Prize Fellow at the Center for Human Values, and for the current academic year I am a Graduate Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion.

In addition to university drama, my research and teaching interests include Shakespeare and his contemporaries; theater history; intellectual history; history of education; history of the book; Neo-Latin studies; manuscript studies.

My articles have been published or are forthcoming in Renaissance Quarterly, Renaissance Studies, and the Bodleian Library Record.