Bradin Cormack

Professor of English


609) 258-7768


25 McCosh Hall


Bradin Cormack studies early modern and Renaissance literature, with a focus on poetry and drama as they relate to law, the bookish disciplines, and intellectual culture more generally. His first book, A Power to Do Justice (Chicago, 2007), considers how writers including Skelton, Wyatt, More, Spenser, and Shakespeare addressed the principle and practice of jurisdiction at a time when the central law courts were consolidating the common law’s institutional identity in relation to the state and its subjects. With Richard Strier and Martha Nussbaum, he has recently edited Shakespeare and the Law: A Conversation among Disciplines and Professions (Chicago, 2013); and with Leonard Barkan and Sean Keilen, he edited The Forms of Renaissance Thought (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). Cormack’s interest in the material history of the book is reflected in the analytic catalogue Book Use, Book Theory, 1500–1700 (University of Chicago Library, 2005), co-authored with Carla Mazzio. Most recently, Cormack has been writing on the philosophical dimensions of early modern poetry and drama. A new book, Shakespeare’s Substance: Being in the Sonnets, places the 1609 Quarto of Shakespeare’s sonnets in the grammatical and logical culture of the late sixteenth century, so as to read the poems as experiments in erotic philosophy at the boundary of ethics and ontology. Related work includes an afterword on lyric desire in the reissue of Thom Gunn’s edition of The Selected Poems of Fulke Greville (University of Chicago Press, 2009). Cormack is also writing a short book on Shakespeare and Law, towards which he has published essays on the shape of legal possession and legal sovereignty in Shakespeare Quarterly, Shakespeare, and Law and Humanities. In addition to a range of courses on Renaissance literature, he teaches on Utopianism, poetry and poetics, and media studies. Cormack came to Princeton from the University of Chicago in 2013. He holds his Ph.D. from Stanford University.

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