Joe Loewenstein

Professor of English​
Director of the Humanities Digital Workshop and the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities
PHD, Yale University
research interests:
  • Renaissance Literature
  • Book Culture
  • Early Modern Literature
  • 18th Century British Literature
  • Drama
  • Literature and Philosophy
  • Literature and Politics
  • Literature and Religion
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    contact info:

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
    • CB 1122
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    ​Professor Loewenstein's two most recent books are studies of Early Modern intellectual property, the prehistory of copyright, but he is also extremely interested in prosody and poetics.

    Professor Loewenstein's two most recent books - The Author's Due (2002) and Jonson and Possessive Authorship (2002) - are studies of Early Modern intellectual property, the prehistory of copyright, but he is also extremely interested in prosody and poetics. Most of his scholarly energy is now devoted to an edition of the Complete Works of Edmund Spenser for Oxford University Press, a project in which a number of undergraduates and graduate students, from Arts & Sciences and from Engineering, are involved. But he is also working on a study of the material props of the Self in Early Modern England - spectacles, watches, commonplace books, signet rings, and poems: his working title for this undertaking is "Accessorizing the Renaissance." Professor Loewenstein is also the director of the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities. He teaches courses on Shakespeare, Milton, and Spenser; on literature and skepticism; on the cultural poetics of the book; and on the ways writers read. Professor Loewenstein also directs the Humanities Digital Workshop.

    Courses

    • L14 3725: The Renaissance of Doubt
    • L14 395C: Shakespeare
    • L14 412: Competition, Emulation, and Imitation in Sixteenth-Century Literature
    • L14 498: Spenser
    • L14 498W: The Spenser Lab
    • L14 514: Seminar: Accessorizing the Renaissance
    The Author's Due: Printing and the Prehistory of Copyright

    The Author's Due: Printing and the Prehistory of Copyright

    The Author's Due offers an institutional and cultural history of books, the book trade, and the bibliographic ego. Joseph Loewenstein traces the emergence of possessive authorship from the establishment of a printing industry in England to the passage of the 1710 Statute of Anne, which provided the legal underpinnings for modern copyright. Along the way he demonstrates that the culture of books, including the idea of the author, is intimately tied to the practical trade of publishing those books.
     

    Ben Jonson and Possessive Authorship

    Ben Jonson and Possessive Authorship

    Writing before the institution of copyright, Renaissance authors were not recognized as owning their works. Yet, in an environment in which the written word could be variously marketed by printers or by acting companies, and in which authors could be held uncomfortably responsible for their writings, we can discover complex stirrings of possessiveness among such writers as Bacon, Heywood, Daniel, Shakespeare, Wither, and--most powerfully and interestingly--Ben Jonson. This book probes the literary and institutional history, the politics, and the psychology of possessive authorship.