2004 University Lecture
Macbeth and the Show of Kings
Presented by William C. Carroll
William C. Carroll was born in Oklahoma, and attended junior and senior high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He did his undergraduate work at Oberlin College, graduating summa cum laude with Highest Honors in English and membership in Phi Beta Kappa; he was a member of the cross-country and track teams at Oberlin for four years. Upon graduation, he was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Graduate Fellowship and attended Yale University where he took his M. Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in English. He joined the Boston University Department of English in 1972. Professor Carroll has regularly taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Shakespeare, English drama, and other topics in the early modern period. He has also taught freshman courses in drama and fiction, and advanced courses in the nineteenth-century European novel and the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov. Professor Carroll was awarded the Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 1980 and the Outstanding teaching Award in the CAS College Honors Program in 1996.Professor Carroll’s publications include the critical books The Great Feast of Language in ‘Love’s Labours Lost’ (1976) and the Metamorphoses of Shakespearean Comedy (1985), both from Princeton University Press, and Fat King, Lean Beggar: Representations of Poverty in the Age of Shakespeare (Cornell University Press, 1996), which was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Book. He has also published the following scholarly editions of English plays: Thomas Middleton, Women Beware Women (New Mermaid Series, 1994), Shakespeare, Macbeth: Texts and Contexts (Bedford Shakespeare Series, 1999), and Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Arden Third Series, 2004).
He has three books in progress: the New Cambridge Shakespeare edition of Love’s Labour’s Lost, an edition of an eighteenth-century prose novella about Macbeth, and a critical book on succession and tragedy in Shakespeare, from which this year’s University Lecture derives. Professor Carroll has published articles on such topics as the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov, the textual problems of King Lear, the influence of Ovid on early Shakespearean drama, seventeenth and eighteenth-century appropriations of King Lear and Macbeth, and language and sexuality in Shakespeare. In 2000 he was invited to write the year’s work in review essay for Studies in English Literature.
In addition to the many talks and presentations he has made at meetings of the Modern Language Association, the Shakespeare Association of America, and the International Shakespeare Association and other fora, Professor Carroll delivered the opening plenary lectures at the International Conference on Earth-Moon Relationships, held at the Accademia Galileiana di Scienze Lettere ed Arti at the University of Padua, Italy, and at the International Conference on Shakespeare and Tudor Theatrical Traditions, which marked the opening of the Shakespeare Globe Theatre in London in 1996. He was Visiting Professor of English at the Universita Degli Studi di Firenze, Italy, in April 1997.
Professor Carroll has held senior research fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and research support grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Philosophical Society, Boston University, the national Endowment for the Humanities and the Whiting Foundation. He has served on and chaired the Modern Language Association First Book Prize Committee, and now serves on the Shakespeare Variorum Committee of the Modern Language Association. He has co-chaired the Shakespearean Studies Seminar at the Center for the Humanities at Harvard University since 1992. He has been a trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America, serving in successive years as Chair of the Open Paper Review Committee, Chair of the Nominating Committee, and Chair of the Program Committee, as well as a member of the Program Committees for the 1996, 2001, and 2006 World Shakespeare Congresses. He was recently elected to a second term as a trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America, serving as Vice-President of the Association in 2004-05. In March 2005 he will become President of the Shakespeare Association of America.
At Boston University, Professor Carroll served as Acting Associate Dean of the Graduate School in 1981-82 and as Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and the Graduate School from 1982-1988. Professor Carroll was named founding director of the Boston University Humanities Foundation in 1981, serving in that position until 1988. He served as Chair ad interim of the Art History Department from 1987-89, and has been Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English for several years.
Professor Carroll lives in Newton, Mass. with his wife Carol, who is a public educator in Holliston Mass. His son David is a CAS junior at Boston University, majoring in religion. On the rare occasions that he is not thinking about Shakespeare, Professor Carroll serves as a referee and the league referee assignor for Newton Youth Soccer.