Lena Cowen Orlin




Department of English
General profile



+1 202-687-6315


Office hours

Spring 2014: W 1:00 - 3:00


Lena Cowen 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. In 1996 she became Executive Director of the Shakespeare Association of America, a professional organization with an annual convention and about 2,000 members; she continues in this position.

She is the author of Locating Privacy in Tudor London (Oxford, 2009) and Private Matters and Public Culture in Post-Reformation England (Cornell, 1994). Soon to appear is The Bedford Shakespeare, co-edited with Russ McDonald; she has also edited A Sourcebook for English Studies: The Renaissance (2009) and Elizabethan Households: An Anthology (1995). Her edited collections include Othello: The State of Play (2014), Women Making Shakespeare: Essays in Honor of Ann Thompson (with Gordon McMullan and Virginia Mason Vaughan, 2013), Shakespeare without Boundaries: Essays in Honor of Dieter Mehl (with Christa Jansohn and Stanley Wells, 2010), Staging Shakespeare: Essays in Honor of Alan C. Dessen (with Miranda Johnson-Haddad, 2007), Center or Margin: Revisions of the English Renaissance in Honor of Leeds Barroll (2006), New Casebooks Othello: Contemporary Critical Essays (2003), Shakespeare: An Oxford Guide (with Stanley Wells, 2003), and Material London, ca. 1600 (2000). Her current project is a biography of William Shakespeare.

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 Deutsche Shakespeare-Gesellschaft in Weimar; as a historian for the Mackay Lecture Series at Dalhousie University; and as an art historian at the University of Nebraska School of Architecture. Recent keynotes include the Annual Patrides Lecture at the University of York (2011); the Inaugural Shakespeare’s Birthplace Lecture at the Ohio State University (2013); and plenary presentations at a “Time and Space” conference at Queen’s University Belfast (2014), the Sixth Biennial Conference of the Society for Renaissance Studies in Southampton (2014), and the Inaugural Conference of the Asian Shakespeare Association in Taiwan (2014).

She has been awarded major research fellowships from the National Humanities Center (2014-2015), the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (for a Folger Shakespeare Library residency, 2011-2012), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2002-2003), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (2000-2001 and 1989-1990). She has also held residential fellowships at the Bogliasco Foundation’s Liguria Study Center, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study Center, the Yale Center for British Art, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art (US), 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 (with Ann Thompson) and the Oxford Shakespeare Topics series (with Peter Holland and Stanley Wells). She is a member of the Executive Committee for the International Shakespeare Conference of the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon and of the Executive Committee of the International Shakespeare Association.