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, Shakespeare and the Spectacle of University Drama, examines how theatrical performances at Oxford and Cambridge during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries influenced the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. By investigating the shifting purpose of drama in the English universities as well as the academic controversies this shift provoked, this project traces the university stage’s evolution from a pedagogical forum into a major source of inspiration for the London stage. It then explores how commercial playwrights like Shakespeare and Jonson incorporated the university dramatic tradition into their own plays, ultimately bringing to light the rich exchange that developed between 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 in 2016-17, I was a Graduate Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion.

For the current academic year, I am a Quin Morton Teaching Fellow, leading a first-year writing seminar entitled “Authenticity and Performance” as a member of the Princeton Writing Program faculty. At Princeton, I have taught both parts of the Shakespeare sequence and, together with Professor Nigel Smith, a new Milton seminar entitled “Milton’s Epic and the Drama of Revolution.” I was honored to receive the Graduate School Teaching Award in 2017.

Selected Publications: 

“Actors, Orators, and the Boundaries of Drama in Elizabethan Universities,” Renaissance Quarterly 70.2 (Summer 2017), 513-47.

“Performing Exile: John Foxe’s Christus Triumphans at Magdalen College, Oxford,” Renaissance Studies 30.4 (September 2016), 584-601.

“John Hales’ Funeral Oration for Sir Thomas Bodley: An Edited Translation” (with Leah Whittington), Bodleian Library Record 25.2 (October 2012), 144-82.