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Claire M. L. Bourne

Claire M. L. Bourne

Associate Professor of English
Helena Rubenstein University Endowed Fellow in the Humanities
Director of Undergraduate Studies
432 Burrowes Building
Mailroom: 430 Burrowes Building

Mailroom: 430 Burrowes Building

Claire Bourne

Spring 2024 Office Hours


Curriculum Vitae


PhD, English, University of Pennsylvania (2013)
MSt, English Literature (1550-1780), University of Oxford (2006)
BA, English & French, Middlebury College (2004)

Professional Bio

¶ I am on research leave during AY2023-2024 to work on a book entitled Accidental Shakespeare, which studies book design experiments, editorial failures, and counterfactual editorial histories around Shakespeare with a focus on book-making practices and materials.

¶ My first monograph, Typographies of Performance in Early Modern England, was published by Oxford University Press in 2020. It is the first book-length study of early modern English playbook typography and tells a new history of drama from the period by considering the page designs of plays by Shakespeare and others printed between the end of the fifteenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth century. It argues that typography, broadly conceived, was used creatively by printers, publishers, playwrights, and other agents of the book trade to make the effects of theatricality—from the most basic (textually articulating a change in speaker) to the more complex (registering the kinesis of bodies on stage)—intelligible on the page.

¶ I am co-author, with Jason Scott-Warren (University of Cambridge) of an article identifying John Milton as the former owner and annotator of the copy of the Shakespeare First Folio now at the Free Library of Philadelphia (Milton Quarterly 56 [2022]).  You can find a digest of media coverage related to this story here, and you can listen to us discuss the book, Milton’s use of it, and the value of collaborative scholarship here.

¶ I am the editor of Shakespeare / Text, published by Bloomsbury Arden in 2021. This collection featuring twenty agenda-setting chapters that rethink the relationships between ‘Shakespeare’ and ‘text’ from a variety of sub-fields and using a range of methods. With Rory Loughnane (University of Kent), I co-edit the Cambridge University Press Elements in Shakespeare and Text series of short books (or ‘mini-graphs’).

¶ My writing has been published in English Literary RenaissancePapers of the Bibliographical Society of AmericaShakespeare Bulletin, Shakespeare, and edited collections on Christopher Marlowe at the intersection of print and performance; Shakespeare in print after 1642; early modern theatrical documents; the anatomy of the book; Shakespeare and textual studies; early modern marginalia; Marlowe's Tamburlaine; &c.

¶ I also edit early modern plays. I am editing Henry the Sixth, Part 1 for the Arden Shakespeare (Fourth Series) and co-editing 1 & 2 Tamburlaine for the Oxford University Press edition of Christopher Marlowe's works.  My edition of John Fletcher and Philip Massinger’s The Sea Voyage can be found in the updated Routledge Anthology of Early Modern Drama (2020). I am also the general editor of the Digital Beaumont & Fletcher project, a collaboration between the Penn State English Department and Penn State Libraries that seeks to publish student-generated, open-access editions of plays published in Comedies & Tragedies (1647), otherwise known as the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio. The project uses PSU Libraries’ copy of this book—digitized here—as its base text.

Areas of Specialization

Book History and Textual Studies

with particular interest in early modern drama; Shakespeare; book history; bibliography; typography; theater studies; textual editing

Renaissance Literature

with particular interest in early modern drama; Shakespeare; book history; bibliography; typography; theater studies; textual editing