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Roland Greene

Mark Pigott KBE Professor, Anthony P. Meier Family Professor of the Humanities, and Director, Humanities Center, Professor of English and Comparative Literature
Ph.D., Princeton University (1985)
A.B., Brown University (1979)

Roland Greene's research and teaching are concerned with the early modern literatures of England, Latin Europe, and the transatlantic world, and with poetry and poetics from the Renaissance to the present.

His most recent book is Five Words: Critical Semantics in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes (Chicago, 2013). Five Words proposes an understanding of early modern culture through the changes embodied in five words or concepts over the sixteenth century: in English, bloodinvention, languageresistance, and world, and their counterparts in French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Other books include Unrequited Conquests: Love and Empire in the Colonial Americas (Chicago, 1999), which follows the love poetry of the Renaissance into fresh political and colonial contexts in the New World; and Post-Petrarchism: Origins and Innovations of the Western Lyric Sequence (Princeton, 1991), a transhistorical and comparative study of lyric poetics through the fortunes of the lyric sequence from Petrarch to Neruda. Greene is the editor with Elizabeth Fowler of The Project of Prose in Early Modern Europe and the New World (Cambridge, 1997). His essays deal with topics such as the colonial baroque, Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene and Amoretti, Sir Thomas Wyatt's poetry, and Shakespeare's The Tempest.

Greene is editor in chief of the fourth edition of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (2012). Prepared in collaboration with the general editor Stephen Cushman and the associate editors Clare CavanaghJahan Ramazani, and Paul Rouzer, this edition represents a complete revision of the most authoritative reference book on poetry and poetics.

In 2015-16 he served as President of the Modern Language Association. His theme for the 2016 Annual Convention in Austin, Texas was Literature and Its Publics: Past, Present, and Future.

At Stanford Greene is co-chair and founder of two research workshops in which most of his Ph.D. students participate. Renaissances brings together early modernists from the Bay Area to discuss work in progress, while the Poetics Workshop provides a venue for innovative scholarship in the broad field of international and historical poetics.

Greene has taught at Harvard and Oregon, where for six years he was chair of the Department of Comparative Literature. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

For more information about his past and future courses, publications, conference papers and invited lectures, and professional activities, see Professor Greene's page in the Department of Comparative Literature.


(650) 725-1214

Office Hours

By appointment at

Research Interests

Transatlantic literature