American Philosophical Society
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4. Humanities[X]
1Name:  Professor Peter Stallybrass
 Institution:  University of Pennsylvania
 Year Elected:  2007
 Class:  4. Humanities
 Subdivision:  408
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1949
Peter Stallybrass is Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. For the last thirteen years, he has directed the seminar on the History of Material Texts, and he co-edits the Material Texts series for the University of Pennsylvania Press. While training as a mortician in England after leaving school, he started to read obsessively the novels of Dostoevsky and, with the mistaken impression that one would have more time to read at university, applied to the University of Sussex. Peter was an undergraduate, a graduate, and finally a lecturer at Sussex, where he directed the graduate program in Renaissance Studies and the faculty/graduate seminar in Critical Theory. In 1984, he was a co-founder of the Popular Literature Group at the Centre for Social History in Oxford, organizing conferences on Romance and on Detective Fiction. In 1978, he visited the United States for the first time to teach for a year at Smith College, where he met his wife, Ann Rosalind Jones, Esther Cloudman Dunn Professor of Comparative Literature. After eight years of commuting across the Atlantic, he moved to Dartmouth College in 1986 and, in 1988, to the University of Pennsylvania, with visiting positions at King's College, University of London, and at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He has received fellowships from the American Council for Learned Societies, the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and he has been the Mellon Fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Moses Aaron Dropsie Fellow at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies,. He has also served as Samuel Wannamaker Fellow at the Globe Theatre in London. In 1999, he was chair of the English Institute at Harvard University, and he has been a Trustee of the Institute since 2002. At Penn, he has been awarded both the Ira Abrams Award and the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Most of Peter's early work was on literary and cultural theory, and he published The Politics and Poetics of Transgression, co-written with Allon White, in 1986. His continuing interest in this field has led to a book on Marx, materiality, and memory, published in Brazil in 1999 under the title O Casaco de Marx: Roupas, Memória, Dor. His interest in material culture took a new turn after the death of Allon White and the particular problems of disposing of his friend's clothes. As a memorial lecture for Allon, he wrote "Worn Worlds: Clothes, Mourning, and the Life of Things," which led him to a collaboration with Ann Rosalind Jones on Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory, published by Cambridge University Press and awarded the James Russell Lowell prize by the MLA in 2001. In 1994, Peter founded the seminar on the History of Material Texts at the University of Pennsylvania, which has been meeting weekly ever since, and has brought together academics, librarians, writers, artists, and anyone interested in books and other cultural technologies. Peter's interest in the history of books began after reading Magreta de Grazia's Shakespeare Verbatim, and, drawing upon many of the ideas in her book, he wrote with her The Materiality of the Shakespearean Text (Shakespeare Quarterly 1993). He also began to teach a graduate class that met in and drew upon the wealth of Philadelphia's libraries, including the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Rosenbach Library, and the Free Library, in addition to the University's libraries. Since Roger Chartier was appointed to the History Department at Penn in 2000, he and Peter have been teaching an undergraduate seminar on Reading, Writing, and Printing. Teaching Hamlet, they discovered the material basis of Hamlet's erasable "tables of the mind" in the Folger Shakespeare Library and, together with Frank Mowery (the Folger's Head of Conservation) and Heather Wolfe (the Folger's Curator of Manuscripts), wrote "Hamlet's Tables and the Technologies of Writing in Renaissance England" (Shakespeare Quarterly 2004). Peter's work at the Library Company of Philadelphia led him to collaborate with Jim Green, the Librarian, to curate exhibitions on Material Texts and on Benjamin Franklin (for which Jim and he wrote Benjamin Franklin, Writer and Printer, co-published by Oak Knoll, the Library Company and the British Library in 2006). In 2006, he also co-curated with Heather Wolfe and Michael Mendle an exhibition on Technologies of Writing at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. The same year, Peter gave the A. S. W. Rosenbach Lectures in Bibliography at the University of Pennsylvania on Printing for Manuscript, which will be published in 2008.
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