William C. Carroll

Professor of English Emeritus, Boston University


desk profile

William C. Carroll
Department of English
Boston University
236 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
e-mail: wcarroll@bu.edu

Academic Positions:

Professor of English Emeritus, Boston University, 2020- Professor of English, Boston University, 1985-2020
Visiting Professor of English, Universita Degli Studi di Firenze, Italy, April 1997, May 2018
Associate Professor of English, Boston University, 1977-1985
Assistant Professor of English, Boston University, 1972-1977
Instructor in English, Oberlin College, 1970-1971
Lecturer in English, Oberlin College, 1969-1970

Administrative Positions:

College of Liberal Arts and Graduate School
Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and the Graduate School, 1982-1988
Director, Boston University Humanities Foundation, 1981-1988
Chair ad interim, Art History Department, 1987-1989
Acting Associate Dean of the Graduate School, 1981-1982

Department of English
Chair, 2008-2011
Director of Graduate Studies, 1989-1992; 1997-2000; 2001-2007; 2015 (interim)
Associate Chair, 1980-1981
Associate Director, Freshman-Sophomore Composition Program, 1976-1978


Ph.D. Yale University, 1972
M.Phil. Yale University, 1969
A.B. Oberlin College, 1967

Academic Honors and Awards:

Bogliasco Foundation Residential Fellowship, 2014, 2022
Templeton Prize for Student Advising, 2017
Folger Library Short-Term Fellowship, 2007-8, 2016-17
Jeffrey Henderson Senior Fellowship, Humanities Foundation, 2011-12
ACLS Senior Fellowship, 1985-6, 2007-8
Co-General Editor, The New Mermaid Drama Series, 2005-
President, Shakespeare Association of America 2005-6
The University Lecture, Boston University, 2005
Vice-President, Shakespeare Association of America 2004-5
Trustee, Shakespeare Association of America, 1996-99, 2004-7
ACLS Travel Grant, 1994
Whiting Foundation Fellowship, 1992-93; 2000-2001
American Philosophical Society Grant, 1992
Boston University Research Grant, 1990
NEH Summer Stipend Fellowship, 1989
NEH Travel to Collections Grant, 1987
Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Boston University, 1980
NEH Senior Fellowship for Independent Study and Research, 1978-79
Woodrow Wilson Fellow, 1967
Graduated summa cum laude with Highest Honors in English, 1967



Adapting Macbeth: A Cultural History, forthcoming from Bloomsbury/Arden, 2022.

(Co-Editor, with Pascale Drouet) The Duchess of Malfi: Webster’s Tragedy of Blood. Paris: Belin/CNED, 2018.

(Editor) Thomas Middleton: Four Plays (New Mermaids). London: Bloomsbury, 2012.

(Editor) William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost (New Cambridge Shakespeare). Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2009; reprinted 2012.

(Editor) William Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona. (Arden Three Series). London: Thomson Learning, 2004; reprinted 2005, 2007.

(Editor) Macbeth: Texts and Contexts. New York: Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press, 1999.

Fat King, Lean Beggar: Representations of Poverty in the Age of Shakespeare. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1996. [Choice Selection, Outstanding Academic Book, 1996]

(Editor) Thomas Middleton, Women Beware Women. (New Mermaids). London: A & C Black, 1994. Reprinted 1995, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2008, 2010.

The Metamorphoses of Shakespearean Comedy. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1985. Reprinted 2014.

The Great Feast of Language in Love’s Labour’s Lost. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1976. Reprinted 2015.


 “Politics, Adaptation, Macbeth,” forthcoming in The Arden Research Handbook to Shakespeare and Adaptation, edited by Diana Henderson and Stephen O’Neill, Bloomsbury/Arden Shakespeare, 2022.

“‘Strange Intelligence’: Transformations of Witchcraft in Macbeth Discourse,” in Shakespeare and the Supernatural, eds. Victoria Bladen and Yan Brailowsky. Manchester: Manchester Univ. Press, 2020.

“‘I knew him in Padua’: London Theatre and Early Modern Constructions of Erudition,” Sederi 28 (2018): 7-32.

“‘The Death of Fathers’: Succession and Diachronic Time in Shakespearean Tragedy,” in Temporality, Genre, and Experience in the Age of Shakespeare: Forms of Time, ed. Lauren Shohet. London: Arden, 2018.

“‘Ce qui est fait ne peut être défait’: succession et temps diachronique dans la tragédie shakespearienne” [“‘What’s Done Cannot Be Undone’: Succession and Diachronic Time in Shakespearean Tragedy”], in Shakespeare au risque de la philosophy, eds. Pascale Drouet and Philippe Grosos. Paris, Éditions Hermann, 2017.

“Vagrancy,” in A New Companion to Renaissance Drama, eds. Arthur F. Kinney and Thomas Warren Hopper. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017.

“Historicizing Historicism,” in SAA 2016: Reflections and Projections, ed. Dympna Callaghan and Suzanne Gossett. London: Arden, 2016.

“Three Gentlemen of Verona,Shakespeare Bulletin 34.1 (2016): 129-43.

“Introduction” to David Greig, Dunsinane (dual language English/French translation Edition). Nouvelles Scènes Anglais. Montpellier: Presses Universitaires du Mirail, 2016.

“The Wars of Love’s Labour’s Lost: Performance and Interpretation,” Société Française Shakespeare (2015): http://shakespeare.revues.org/2891.

“Spectacle, Representation, and Lineage in Macbeth 4.1,” Shakespeare Survey 67 (2014): 345-71.

“The Fiendlike Queen: Recuperating Lady Macbeth in Contemporary Adaptations of Macbeth,” Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation 8.2 (2014). https://openjournals.libs.uga.edu/borrowers/article/view/2213/2118. Reprinted in Shakespeare Criticism: Macbeth, ed. Lawrence Trudeau. Columbia, S.C.: Gale/Cengage, 2016.

“The State of the Art: Twelfth Night since 2000,” in Twelfth Night: A Critical Guide, eds. Alison Findley and Liz Oakley-Brown. London: Bloomsbury, 2014.

“Fleance/Macbeth: The Return of the Repressed,” in Shakespeare on Screen: Macbeth, eds. Sarah Hatchuel and Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin. Rouen: Publications des Universités de Rouen et du Havre, 2014.

Love’s Labour’s Lost in Afghanistan.”  Shakespeare Bulletin 28 (2010): 443-458.

“Multi-cultural, Multi-lingual Macbeth,” in Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance, eds. Scott Newstok and Ayanna Thompson. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

“(Re-)Staging Love’s Labour’s Lost.” Shakespeare Bulletin 25 (2007): 1-11.

Macbeth and the Show of Kings.” University Lecture. Boston: Boston University, 2005.

“‘Two Truths Are Told’: Afterlives and Histories of Macbeths.” Shakespeare Survey 57 (2004), 69-80.

“Shakespeare’s Romantic Comedies” and “Twelfth Night”  in Shakespeare: An Oxford Guide, ed. Stanley Wells and Lena Cowen Orlin. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

“Theories of Kingship in Shakespeare’s England.” A Companion to Shakespeare’s Works: The Histories, ed. Richard Dutton and Jean E. Howard. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003.

“Songs of Madness: The Lyric Afterlife of Shakespeare’s Poor Tom.” Shakespeare Survey 55 (2002), 82-95.

“Vagrancy,” in A Companion to Renaissance Drama, ed. Arthur F. Kinney. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002.

“Recent Studies in Tudor and Stuart Drama.” Studies in English Literature 41 (2001): 417-465.

“Goodly Frame, Spotty Globe: Earth and Moon in Renaissance Literature.” Earth, Moon, and Planets: An International Journal of Solar System Science 85 (1999): 5-23.

“Love’s Labor’s Lost,” in Shakespeare’s World and Work: An Encyclopedia for Students, ed. John F. Andrews. New York: Scribner’s, 2001.

“‘And love you ‘gainst the nature of love’: Ovid, Rape, and The Two Gentlemenof Verona, in Shakespeare’s Ovid: The Metamorphoses in the Plays and Poems, ed. A. B. Taylor. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2000.

“Description,” in Shakespeare’s Dramatic Language, ed. Lynette Hunter, Lynne Magnusson, and Ann Thompson. London: Arden, 2000.

“Semiotic Slippage: Identity and Authority in the English Renaissance,” The European Legacy 2.2 (1997). Reprinted in Nominalism and Literary Discourse:
New Perspectives, ed. Hugo Keiper, Christoph Bode and Richard J. Witz. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1997.

“Love’s Labor’s Lost: A Modern Perspective,” in the New Folger Edition of Love’s Labor’s Lost, ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. New York: Washington
Square Press, 1996.

“The Crisis of the Sign: Vagrancy and Authority in the English Renaissance.” Semiotica 108-3/4 (1996), 381-388.

“The Virgin Not: Language and Sexuality in Shakespeare,” Shakespeare Survey 46 (1994), 107-119. Reprinted in Shakespeare and Gender: A History, ed. Ivo Kamps and Deborah Barker. London: Verso Press, 1995, and in Shakespeare and Sexuality, ed. Catherine M.S. Alexander and Stanley Wells. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2001.

“‘The Nursery of Beggary’: Enclosure, Vagrancy, and Sedition in the Tudor-Stuart Period,” in Enclosure Acts: Sexuality, Property, and Culture in Early Modern
England, ed. Richard Burt and John Michael Archer. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press,

“Language, Politics, and Poverty in Shakespearian Drama,” Shakespeare Survey 44 (1992), 17-24. Reprinted in Shakespeare and Politics, ed. Catherine M.S. Alexander. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004.

“Desacralization and Succession in Richard III.” Shakespeare Jahrbuch (West) 1991, 82-96. Reprinted in True Rites and Maimed Rites, ed. Linda Woodbridge and Edward Berry. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1992.

“‘When Beggars Die, There Are No Comets Seen’: The Discourse of Poverty and the Shakespearean Beggar.” Shakespeare Jahrbuch (Ost) 126 (1990), 96-104.

“New Plays vs. Old Readings: The Division of the Kingdoms and Folio Deletions in King Lear,” Studies in Philology 85 (1988), 225-244.

“‘The Base Shall Top Th’Legitimate’: The Bedlam Beggar and the Role of Edgar in King Lear,” Shakespeare Quarterly 38 (1987), 426-441. Reprinted in New Century Views: Shakespeare’s Middle Tragedies, ed. David P. Young. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1992.

“The Cartesian Nightmare of Despair,Nabokov’s Fifth Arc, eds. J. E. Rivers and Charles Nicol. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1982.

“‘We Were Born To Die’: The Ending of Romeo and Juliet,” Comparative Drama 15 (1981), 54-71.

“The Ending of Twelfth Night and the Tradition of Metamorphosis,” Shakespearean Comedy: Theories and Traditions, ed. Maurice Charney. Special Issue of New York Literary Forum (1980).

“Metalanguage in Shakespearean Comedy,” Shakespearean Metadrama, ed. John W. Blanpied. Rochester: Univ. of Rochester Dept. of English, 1977.

 “‘A Received Belief’: Imagination in The Merry Wives       of Windsor,Studies in Philology 74 (1977), 186-215.

“Nabokov’s Signs and Symbols,” A Book of Things About   Vladimir Nabokov, ed. Carl Proffer. Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1974. Reprinted in Anatomy of a Short Story: Nabokov’s Puzzles, Codes, “Signs and Symbols”, ed. Yuri Leving. New York: Continuum, 2012.


Co-General Editor (with Brian Gibbons, Tiffany Stern) of the New Mermaid Drama Series, published by A & C Black, 2005-2014. Co-General Editor (with Tiffany Stern), 2014-

Guest Co-Editor, Journal of Early Modern Studies, vol. 4
(2015). http://www.fupress.net/index.php/bsfm-jems/index

Member, Editorial Board, English Literary Renaissance, 2014-

Member, Editorial Board, Shakespeare Quarterly, 2008-2013

Editor, Shakespearean Criticism: The Two Gentlemen of Verona. vol. 150 (Detroit: Gale), 2013.

Co-editor (with R. Berry, G. Bradshaw, et al), Shakespearean Criticism: Yearbook 1989 (Detroit: Gale Research, 1991), Yearbook 1990 (1992), Yearbook 1991 (1993), Yearbook 1992 (1994), Yearbook 1993 (1995), Yearbook 1994 (1996), Yearbook1995 (1997), Yearbook 1996 (1998), Yearbook 1997 (1999).

Advisory Editor for Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Third Edition, ed. David Bevington. Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foresman, 1980. Fourth Edition,ed. David Bevington. New York: HarperCollins, 1992. Fifth Edition, ed. David Bevington. New York, Longman, 2003.

Other Professional Activities:

Shakespeare Association of America

–Member, Search Committee for Executive Director, 2017-18 –Chair, Ad Hoc Review Committee on SAA Constitution, 2014-15

–President (2005-6)
–Vice President (2004-5)
–Trustee, 1996-99, 2004-7
–Chair, Program Committee, Year 2000 Conference, 1998-99
–Member, Program Committee, 1996 World Shakespeare Congress, 1992-1996
–Chair, Nominating Committee, Shakespeare Association of America, 1997
–Member, Nominating Committee, 1991, 1994
–Chair, Open Paper Review Committee, 1996

Chair, MLA First Book Prize Committee, 2001; Member, 2000

Co-Chair, Shakespearean Studies Seminar, Center for Literary and Cultural Studies, Harvard University, 1992-present

Member, The New Variorum Shakespeare Committee, MLA, 2002-2006

Faculty Advisor, Willing Suspension Productions, Department of English 1996-2020


College of Liberal Arts and University:

Chair, Dean Search Committee for the College of Fine Arts, 2009-2010

Provost’s Ad Hoc Selection Committee for Associate Provost, 2007
University Lecture Selection Committee, 2005-9
College of Liberal Arts Promotion and Tenure Committee, 1991, 2001, 2004
Search Committee in English Education, School of Education, 2004-2006
Humanities Curriculum Committee, 1995-97; Chair, 1996-97
Search Committee in Renaissance Art, Art History Department, 1997-98
Search Committee in Baroque Art, Art History Department, 1995-96
Search Committee for English Department Chair, 1990-91
Search Committee for Senior Professor in German, 1990-91
Chair, University Promotion and Tenure Committee, 1989-90
Search Committee for Art History Chair, 1987-89
University Fulbright Committee, 1988
University Research Reaccreditation Committee, 1988
Chair of numerous Graduate School Committees:

University Fellowship Committee (1981-85; 1986-88); Martin Luther King and Whitney Young Fellowship Committees (1981-85; 1986-88); University Research Seed Grant Committee (1981-82; 1987-88); Committee on Academic Standards (1981-85; 1986-88)

Chair, Metcalf Prize Selection Committee, 1983; Member, Metcalf Committee, 1981, 1989, 2007
Chair, Search Committee for Director of American and New England Studies Program, 1982
Trustee Scholars Admissions Committee, 1976-78, 1979-81, 2009-11

Department of English

Chair, Seventeenth-Century Literature Search Committee, 2002-3
Chair, Modern/Contemporary Drama Search Committee, 1995, 2012-13
Academic Policy Committee, 1991-92
Merit Review Committee, 1990, 1991, 2003, 2004, 2005
Chair, Seventeenth-Century Literature Search Committee, 2002-3
Director of Graduate Placement, 1979-80; 1983-84; 1988-89; 1993-96; 1997-2007; 2018-19
Appointments Committee, 1973-74; 1980-81
Undergraduate Studies Committee, 1974-77