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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of English Language and Literature

Faculty and Staff Directory

Lawrence Rhu

Distinguished Professor Emeritus
William Josesph Todd Professor of the Italian Renaissance
Department of English Language and Literature

Phone Number: (803) 576-5997
Office: HUO 218


PhD, Harvard University, 1987

Areas of Specialization 

   English and Italian Renaissance
   • American Studies

Recently Taught Courses 

   The Renaissance
   Classic Hollywood Films
   Themes in Literature
   Cavell and Percy
   • Emerson, Nietzsche, and Cavell

Professional Accolades 

   Russell Award for Research in Humanities and Social Sciences, USC, 2013
   William Joseph Todd Chair of the Italian Renaissance, USC, 2008-present
   Fulbright Lecturer, University of Lisbon, 2005
   Klingenstein Fellow, Columbia University, 1983-4

Current Research Projects 

   “Walker Percy and Robert Coles: Friendship and the Life of Writing” (in progress).
   Annotated translation of Baldesar Castiglione’s Il libro del cortegiano (under contract with Hackett Publishing).

Selected Publications 

   • The Genesis of Tasso's Narrative Theory: Translations of the Early Poetics and a Comparative Study of Their Significance (Detroit Wayne State University Press, 1993).
   • Stanley Cavell's American Dream: Shakespeare, Philosophy, and Hollywood Movies (New York: Fordham University Press, 2006).
   • Edition of William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale (Cengage, 2011)

   • “Thoreau and Cavell: Unauthorized Versions” in Thoreau at Two-Hundred: Essays and Reassessments, eds. Kristen Case and K. P. Vann Anglen (New York:  Cambridge UP, forthcoming).
   • “’Plowing the Same Field’:  The Friendship of Walker Percy and Robert Coles,” in Skepticism and Conservatism, ed. Rui Romão (Lisbon, Pt: University of Lisbon Press, forthcoming).
   • “Shakespeare Italianate: Skeptical Crises in Three Kinds of Plays,” Shakespeare and the Italian Renaissance ed. Michele Marrapodi (Farnham, Surrey, UK: Ashgate, forthcoming).
   • “’All in War with Time’: Medium as Meditation in Sherman’s March” in The Philosophy of War Films ed. David La Rocca (Lexington, KY: Kentucky UP, forthcoming)."
   • "Emersonian Affinities: Reading Richard Ford through Stanley Cavell," Stanley Cavell, Literature, and the Idea of America ed. Taylor and Spinks (New York: Routledge, 2013), 217-29.
   • "Competing for the Soul: On Cavell’s Shakespeare," Stanley Cavell and Literary Studies: Consequences of Skepticism eds. Eldridge and Rhie (New York: Continuum, 2011), 136-51, 242-4.
   • "The Cavellian Turn," The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism eds. Myerson and Walls (New York: Oxford UP, 2010), 549-58.
   • "Beyond Adaptation: Stoicism, Transcendence, &  Moviegoing in Percy & Cavell," Analecta Husserliana 96 (Dordecht: Springer, 2008), 199-209.
   • "On Cheney on Spenser’s Ariosto," Connotations 15.1-3 (2005-6), 91-6.
   • "Home Movies and Personal Documentaries: An Interview with Ross McElwee," Cineaste 29.3 (Summer 2004), 6-12.
   • "Paradise Lost as Biblical Interpretation," The Idea of Biblical Interpretation, eds. H. Najman et al. (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 485-512.
   • "King Lear in Their Time: On Bloom and Cavell on Shakespeare," Harold Bloom’s Shakespeare, eds. C. Desmet and R. Sawyer (New York: Palgrave, 2001), 227-46.
   • "Stanley Cavell: An American Philosopher at the Movies," DoubleTake 7.2 (Spring 2001), 115-119.
   • "Shakespeare's Ariostan Skepticism," Shakespeare Yearbook X (1999), 359-73.
   • "Chi non conosce Torquato Tasso? Genere e rinomanza nella Faerie Queene VI," Torquato Tasso e la civiltà estense ed. G. Venturi (Ferrara, 1999), 1:163-173.
   • "Romancing the Pope: Tasso's Narrative Theory and Milton's Demonization of a Genre" in "All in All": Unity, Diversity, and the Miltonic Perspective eds. C. W. Durham and K. P. McColgan (Cranbury, NJ: Susquehanna UP, 1999), 128-37.
   • "Romanzare sul Papa: La teoria narrativa del Tasso e la demonizzazione miltoniana di un genere," in Torquato Tasso e l'Europa ed. Daniele Rota (Bergamo: Centro Studi Tassiani, 1996), 49-59.
   • "Ariosto Moralisé: Political Decorum in Spenser's Imitations of Orlando furioso," Annali d'italianistica 12 (1994), 143-57.
   • "Romancing the Word: Italian Echoes and English Contexts in the Errour Episode," Spenser Studies XI (1994), 101-109.
   • "Agons of Interpretation: Ariostan Source and Elizabethan Meaning in Spenser, Harington, & Shakespeare," Ren. Drama n.s. 24 (1993), 171-88.
   • "Romancing Eliza: The Political Decorum of Ariostan Imitation in The Faerie Queene," Renaissance Papers 1993, 31-39.
   • "Young Tasso's Reckoning with the Orlando furioso" in Reconsidering the Renaissance, ed. M. di Cesare (Binghamton: MRTS, 1992), 271-86.
   • "After the Middle Ages: Prophetic Authority and Human Fallibility in Renaissance Epic" in Poetry and Prophecy: The Beginnings of LiteraryTradition, ed. James Kugel (Cornell UP, 1990), 163-84, 244-6.
   • "From Aristotle to Allegory: Young Tasso's Evolving Vision of the Gerusalemme liberata," Italica 65.2 (Summer, 1988), 111-30.
   • "Tasso's First Discourse on the Art of Poetry as a Guide to the Gerusalemme liberata," Journal of the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association 7 (1986), 65-81.

   • “Skepticism and Shakespearean Tragedy” University of Porto, Porto, Portugal, January 2014.
   • “Stoicism and Tradition in the American South,” University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal, January 2014.
   • “Post-Apocalyptic Othello,” Last Lecture Series, USC Columbia, March 2010.
   • “Othello in Context,” African American History Month Lecture, South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC, February 2010.
   • “Shakespeare Italianate: Skeptical Crises in Three Kinds of Plays,” Tucci Lecture in Italian Culture, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, October 2009.
   • "On Cavell on Shakespeare: Losing Mamillius, Finding Perdita," Symposium on Shakespeare and the History of Philosophy, Newberry Library, Chicago, March 2009.
   • “Hollywood Movies and the American Scholar,” APPI (Associação Portuguesa de Professores de Inglês) Conference, Lisbon, April 2005.
   • "Chi non conosce Torquato Tasso? Genere e rinomanza nella Faerie Queene VI" (invited paper, in Italian), Internat'l Tasso Conference, Instituto per studi rinascimentali, Ferrara (Italy), Dec., 1995.
   • "Romanzare sul Papa: La teoria narrativa del Tasso e la demonizzazione miltoniana di un genere" (invited paper, in Italian), Internat'l Tasso Conference, Centro Studi Tassiani, Bergamo (Italy), May, 1995.