Department of English
126 E. 10th St.
Holland, MI 49423
English Department Faculty
DuMez Professor of English
Hope College (1967); M.A., University of Chicago (1968); Ph.D., University
of Chicago (1975).
Expertise: Renaissance Drama, Shakespeare.
Selected Works: Shakespeare and the
Dramaturgy of Power (1989); A New History of Early English Drama (1997,
Association for Theatre in Higher Education Book of the Year); The Devil
and the Sacred in English Drama, 1350-1642 (2000, David Bevington Prize
Shakespeare's 3 Henry VI, Third Arden Edition, Arden Shakespeare (2001); Seeming
Knowledge: Shakespeare and Skeptical Faith (2007); Julius Caesar (2012).
Distinctions: NEH Fellowship (2004-05); Pew Charitable Trusts
Fellowship (1995-96); NEH Summer Stipend (1993); Summer Teaching Appointment
(University of California, Berkeley, 1988); NEH Fellowship (1985-86); Summer
Teaching Appointment (Harvard, 1979); Mellon Faculty Fellow (Harvard, 1978-79).
Contact: Lubbers Hall 307
||Shakespeare and Renaissance Ethics (2014).
Written by a distinguished international team of contributors, this volume
explores Shakespeare's vivid depictions of moral deliberation and individual
choice in light of Renaissance debates about ethics. Examining the intellectual
context of Shakespeare's plays, the essays illuminate Shakespeare's engagement
with the most pressing moral questions of his time, considering the competing
claims of politics, Christian ethics and classical moral philosophy, as
well as new perspectives on controversial topics such as conscience, prayer,
revenge and suicide. Looking at Shakespeare's responses to emerging schools
of thought such as Calvinism and Epicureanism, and assessing comparisons
between Shakespeare and his French contemporary Montaigne, the collection
addresses questions such as: when does laughter become cruel? How does
style reflect moral perspective? Does shame lead to self-awareness? This
book is of great interest to scholars and students of Shakespeare studies,
Renaissance studies and the history of ethics.
||The City in Its Heart (2014).
The City in Its Heart is a worthy initial contribution to the
Congregational Histories series. Unlike many congregational histories, The
City in Its Heart is not a patchwork quilt of names, events, and dates
stitched together with a slender narrative thread. John Cox, DuMez Professor
of English at Hope College, takes a topical appraoch to the hundred-year
history of Maple Avenue Ministries. His history of this congregation is
structured around theological as well as historical themes of call or vocation,
engagement and separation, crisis and reconciliation, and remnant.
Julius Caesar (2012).
Julius Caesar is a key link between Shakespeare's histories and his tragedies.
Unlike the Caesar drawn by Plutarch in a source text, Shakespeare's Caesar
is surprisingly modern: vulnerable and imperfect, a powerful man who does
not always know himself. The open-ended structure of the play insists that
revealing events will continue after the play ends, making the significance
of the history we have just witnessed impossible to determine in the play
John D. Cox's introduction discusses issues of genre, characterization,
and rhetoric, while also providing a detailed history of criticism of
the play. Appendices provide excerpts from important related works by
Lucretius, Plutarch, and Montaigne.
A collaboration between Broadview Press and the Internet Shakespeare
Editions project at the University of Victoria, the editions developed
for this series have been comprehensively annotated and draw on the authoritative
texts newly edited for the ISE. This innovative series allows readers
to access extensive and reliable online resources linked to the print
Seeming Knowledge: Shakespeare and Skeptical Faith (2007).
"Seeming Knowledge is impressive not only for its vast, in-depth coverage
of Shakespeare's works, but also for its compelling argumentation. John
Cox is extremely well-read in early Tudor and Elizabethan theater and also
in the works of Erasmus, More, Montaigne, Descartes, Pascal and others.
His application of these works to Shakespeare is subtle and original. His
book is in fact a powerful invitation to rethink our usual understanding
of skepticism in the Renaissance and in Shakespeare. By being skeptical
of skepticism, Cox profoundly redefines our view of Shakespeare's relation
to faith and religion. This work is a major contribution to the field." --Dr.
with Eric Rasmussen, editors, Shakespeare's King Henry VI, Part 3 (2001)
This is a completely new edition of Shakespeare's early history play. Professor
Cox wrote the introduction, the notes, the appendices, and the index. The
Arden Shakespeare is the foremost scholarly edition of Shakespeare. The
first series was published early in the twentieth century; the second,
in the mid-twentieth. This is the first series for the twenty-first century.
The Devil and the Sacred in English Drama, 1350-1642 (2000)
A complete survey of plays that include staged devils from the beginning
of drama in English to the closing of the theaters by parliament in 1642.
The book argues that the pattern for staging devils was established in
pre-Reformation drama and remained virtually unchanged by the Reformation.
Important vestiges of that pattern continued to appear in commercial plays
(including two by Shakespeare) until the effective end of the tradition
in the mid-seventeenth century.
with David Scott Kastan, A New History of Early English Drama (1997)
This is a collection of twenty-five completely new essays that the editors
requested from as many scholars of early drama. The book was planned by
eleven former students of David M. Bevington at the University of Chicago,
and it is dedicated to him. The book won the Book of the Year Award for
1997 from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and one essay,
by Peter W. M. Blayney, won a separate award from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
in London. The foreword is by Stephen J. Greenblatt.
Shakespeare and the Dramaturgy of Power (1989)
This is a study of Shakespeare's plays against the background of medieval
religious drama. The argument is that the radical social and political
dimensions of Shakespeare are often, anticipated by his prececessors on
the English stage, who therefore offer a more credible explanation for
the plays' outlook than those typically offered by New Historicism and
Cultural Materialism. In short, the book argues that postmodern critics
of Shakespeare are often right but for the wrong reasons.