Jeffrey Knapp
Department of English


Jeffrey Knapp

Jeffrey Knapp
Peg Skorpinski photo

24 April 2002 |

For literary scholar Jeffrey Knapp, it was when he began to see his subject matter through his students’ eyes that he rediscovered his joy in literature and became a truly enthusiastic and effective teacher.

“To analyze a pun of Hamlet’s, for instance, I would first have to consider why a man so grief- stricken by the death of his father would bother to joke at all. The next time I taught ‘Hamlet,’ I posed this very question to my students, and the play seemed to unfold for us,” he said.

A former chair of the English department who teaches Shakespeare, Renaissance and British literature, Knapp recently finished a book, “Shakespeare’s Tribe: Church, Nation and Theater in Renaissance England,” and is working on a project about Renaissance poet Edward Spenser.

Joseph Ring, a graduate student and teaching assistant in Knapp’s “Chaucer through Milton” course last fall, was wowed by Knapp’s sense of ease with his subject.

“While he reassured us shocked ‘TAs’ that he does, in fact, use notes during his lectures, this fact is nearly undetectable,” Ring said. “I was continually astonished and amazed throughout.“

Knapp, who received his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in English at Berkeley, recalled having “one amazing teacher in the English Department after another.”


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