Bill Sherman


Prof. Bill Sherman
The Warburg Institue
Woburn Square
London WC1H 0AB

Academic Background and Research

Professor Bill Sherman holds a BA from Columbia University and MPhil and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge. He was founding director of the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the University of York from 2005 to 2011, and comes to the Warburg from the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he has served as director of the Collections division and head of the project creating a V&A Research Institute (VARI), leading the Museum’s programmes with partners in both the universities and the creative industries.

Professor Sherman’s research has been driven by a love of archives and other collections, and by an interest in how objects from the past come down to us and speak across time and space. He has published widely on the history of books and readers and on the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Best known for his books on marginalia (including John Dee and Used Books), much of his current work explores the interface between word and image, the relationship between knowledge and power and the surprising connections between the modern and the early modern. He was associate editor of Shakespeare Quarterly for more than a decade and sits on a number of editorial and advisory boards as well as a range of trusts and councils on both sides of the Atlantic.

Selected Publications

Renaissance Collage, edited with Juliet Fleming and Adam Smyth as a special issue of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (2015)

Shakespearean Configurations, edited with Stuart Sillars and Jean-Christophe Mayer as a special issue of Early Modern Literary Studies (2013)

Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist (with Peter Holland), in The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)

Prison Writings in Early Modern England, edited with Bill Sheils as issue 72:2 of The Huntington Library Quarterly (2009) [winner of the inaugural Voyager Award of the MLA’s Council of Editors of Learned Journals]

Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England (2007)

On Shakespeare, edited with Peter Holland as issue 10.3 of Performance Research(September 2005)

William Shakespeare’s The Tempest (with Peter Hulme), a Norton Critical Edition (New York: Norton, 2004)

On Editing, edited with Claire MacDonald as issue 7.1 of Performance Research (March 2002)

The Tempest and its Travels, edited with Peter Hulme (London: Reaktion Books, 2000)

John Dee: The Politics of Reading and Writing in the English Renaissance (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1995; paperback, 1997)

Articles and Chapters in Books:

“‘Nota Bembe’: How Bembo the Elder Read His Pliny the Younger,” in Guido Beltramini, Howard Burns, and Davide Gasparotto (eds.), Pietro Bembo e le Arti (Venice: Marsilio, 2013), 119-133

“The Social Life of Books,” in Joad Raymond (ed.), The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)

“How to Make Anything Signify Anything,” Cabinet 40 (January 2011)

“The Beginning of ‘The End’: Terminal Paratext and the Birth of Print Culture,” in Helen Smith and Louise Wilson (eds.), Renaissance Paratexts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 65-87

“Digging the Dust: Renaissance Archivology,” in Leonard Barkan, Bradin Cormack, and Sean Keilen (eds.), Forms of Renaissance Thought: New Essays on Literature and Culture (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

“Of Anagrammatology,” English Language Notes 47:2 (2009), 139-148

“Shakespearean Somniloquy: Sleep and Transformation in The Tempest,” in Margaret and Thomas Healy (eds.), Renaissance Transformations: The Making of English Writing, 1500-1650 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009)

“On the Threshold: Architecture, Paratext, and Early Print Culture,” in Sabrina A. Baron, Eric Lindquist, and Eleanor Shevlin (eds.), Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies and the Legacy of Eisenstein (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007)

“Bringing the World to England: The Politics of Translation in the Age of Hakluyt,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 14 (2004), 199-207

“Distant Relations: Letters from America, 1492-1677,” in a special issue on “Cultural Studies in the History of Letter-Writing,” Huntington Library Quarterly 66:3-4 (Winter 2003), 225-45

“‘Rather soiled by use’: Attitudes Towards Readers’ Marks,” The Book Collector 52:4 (Winter 2003), 471-90

“Stirrings and Searchings (1500-1720),” in Peter Hulme and Tim Youngs (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002), 17-36
“Travel and Trade,” in Arthur Kinney (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Renaissance Drama (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), 109-20

“Anatomizing the Commonwealth: Language, Politics, and the Elizabethan Social Order,” in Elizabeth Fowler and Roland Greene (eds.), The Project of Prose in Early Modern Europe and the New World (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997), 104-21

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