Kenneth Gross

Kenneth Gross

  • Alan F. Hilfiker Distinguished Professor in English
  • Professor of English

PhD, Yale University

Office Location
404B Morey Hall
Web Address

Research Overview

Kenneth Gross’s criticism and teaching range from Renaissance to modern literature.  He’s written books on the drama of Shakespeare (one focused intensely on the character of Shylock); on the fantasy of animation in Western culture, especially what he calls “the dream of the moving statue”; and on the mysterious power of puppet theater, both traditional and experimental.  Lyric poetry old and new is one focus of his teaching, and the focus of many more recent essays.  He’s also taught and written about children’s literature, and the child in literature—something at the center of his most recent book Dangerous Children.

Research Interests

  • Shakespeare
  • lyric poetry
  • Renaissance literature
  • romance

Selected Publication Covers

Selected Publications

  • Dangerous Children: On Seven Novels and a Story, University of Chicago Press 2022
  • The Substance of Shadow: A Darkening Trope in Poetic History (editor), University of Chicago Press 2016
  • Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life, Chicago 2011
  • Shylock Is Shakespeare, Chicago 2006
  • The Dream of the Moving Statue, Cornell 1992, paperback edition Pennsylvania State University 2006
  • Shakespeare's Noise, Chicago 2001
  • Spenserian Poetics: Idolatry, Iconoclasm, and Magic, Cornell 1985
  • “All Poems End with the Word Paradise.”  Raritan:  A Quarterly Review, 36, no. 1 (2016), 32-47
  • “The survival of strange sounds:  Forms of Life in Lyric Poetry.”  The Yale Review 103, no. 2 (2015), 27-46
  • "Poets Reading Shakespeare," in Raritan: A Quarterly Review 28.3 (winter 2009), 105-31
  • "John Donne's Lyric Skepticism: In Strange Way," in Modern Philology 101.3 (2004), 371-99


  • Lyric Poetry (spring 2017)
  • Metaphysical Poetry (fall 2016)
  • Shakespeare (spring 2016)
  • Dangerous Children (spring 2016)
  • Poetry and Memory (fall 2015)
  • Renaissance Literature (spring 2012)
  • Milton (spring 2009)


  • 2014-2015 Fellow, The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library
  • 2011-2012 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life
  • Ellen Maria Gorrisen Fellow, The American Academy in Berlin, spring 2008
  • Research Fellow, Bogliasco Foundation, October-November 2007
  • Research Fellow, Bellagio Study and Conference Center (Rockefeller Foundation), September-October 2007
  • Visiting Fellow, Council of the Humanities, Princeton University
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship
  • Senior Research Fellow, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
  • Mellon Faculty Research Fellowship, Folger Shakespeare Library