Henry S. Turner is an associate professor of English at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where he specializes in English Renaissance drama, the history of science, and the history of philosophy and literary theory. His book The English Renaissance Stage: Geometry, Poetics, and the Practical Spatial Arts, 1580–1630 (Oxford University Press, 2006) examines how English poets and playwrights borrowed a formal vocabulary and working methods from artisans and mathematical practitioners, and his Shakespeare’s Double Helix (Continuum, 2008) places a close reading of A Midsummer Night’s Dream alongside discussions of Renaissance occult philosophy, the history of mimesis, the use of models in experimental science, and definitions of the human in Renaissance poetics and in today’s genetic engineering.
While at the Radcliffe Institute, Turner will write a study of the corporation as a form of political membership in 16th- and 17th-century England. How did English writers make sense of the fictive nature of corporate “personhood”? How did they understand a collectivity that was both imaginary and material, coherent but unbounded, “many” and at the same time “one”? What can the history of the corporation tell us about our own moment, when public goods are increasingly privatized, and citizens seek new models of association and meaningful political action?
Turner earned his BA from Wesleyan University and his PhD from Columbia University. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Humanities Center. His Radcliffe Institute fellowship is supported by an ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship.