Lena Cowen Orlin




Department of English
General profile



+1 202-687-6315


Office hours

Spring 2017: W 11:00am-12:00pm & 3:00-4:00pm


Lena Cowen Orlin, Professor of English, is also Executive Director of the Shakespeare Association of America. The SAA, which is sponsored by Georgetown University and which has about 2,000 members, is a professional organization for the advanced international study of Shakespeare’s works, his time, and his afterlife in scholarly and public culture.

She is the author of "Locating Privacy in Tudor London" (Oxford, 2009) and "Private Matters and Public Culture in Post-Reformation England" (Cornell, 1994). She is the co-editor (with Russ McDonald) of a college textbook, "The Bedford Shakespeare," and editor of "A Sourcebook for English Studies: The Renaissance" (Palgrave, 2009). Among her publications are also nine essay collections, including "Shakespeare: An Oxford Guide" (edited with Stanley Wells, 2003).

For her interdisciplinary research into the material culture of private life in Shakespeare´s time she has traveled throughout Great Britain studying historic houses and exploring manuscript archives for legal records, property documents, and family papers from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. She has been invited to speak as a Shakespearean at the Asian Shakespeare Association in Taiwan, as a historian for the Mackay Lecture Series at Dalhousie University, and as an art historian at the University of Nebraska School of Architecture.

Orlin has been awarded fellowships from the National Humanities Center, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has also held residencies at the Liguria Study Center, the Bellagio Study Center, the Yale Center for British Art, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, and the Huntington Library.

She serves on the editorial boards of the journals Shakespeare Studies (US) and Shakespeare Survey (UK) and is co-editor of the Arden Shakespeare State of Play Series and the Oxford Shakespeare Topics series. She is on the Executive Committees of the International Shakespeare Conference of the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon and of the International Shakespeare Association. She has been elected a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and is a Corresponding Fellow of the English Association.

Orlin came to Georgetown in the fall of 2007. From 1982 to 1996 she coordinated postdoctoral seminars and conferences at the Folger Shakespeare Library as Executive Director of the Folger Institute. From 1996 to 2007 she was Professor of English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, named Presidential Research Professor in the spring of 2007.