John Cox of the Hope College English faculty has been awarded a prestigious fellowship by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

The fellowship will support Cox for a year of research and writing at a research library of his own choosing. Cox's fellowship was one of just 180 awarded this year by NEH, from among 1,289 applications.

Cox received the award for his current book project, called "Shakespeare Thinking." The book interprets Shakespeare's writing in light of important philosophical questions, including questions about God, goodness and evil, politics, art, and how humans know what they know. Cox acknowledges that Shakespeare was a busy man in a flourishing commercial theater, but the book argues that Shakespeare also read widely and thought carefully about many issues of enduring concern.

This is the third award Cox has received from NEH. His first book, "Shakespeare and the Dramaturgy of Power," published by Princeton University Press in 1989, was supported by another yearlong fellowship from NEH. In 1993, Cox was awarded a summer grant from NEH to work on his third book, "The Devil and the Sacred in Early English Drama," published by Cambridge University Press in 2000.

NEH embodies the United States' commitment to scholarship in the humanities. Investment in humanities scholars is a way of investing in the future of the nation. Scholarship enriches and supports teaching in the nation's colleges and universities, and teaching forms tomorrow's leaders.Cox earned his undergraduate degree from Hope College in 1967 and his graduate degrees from the University of Chicago. He joined the Hope faculty in 1979 and since 1984 has served as director of the college's interdisciplinary studies program. In 1996 he was appointed to the newly established DuMez Endowed Professorship in English.

In addition to the books mentioned previously, he is co-editor of "A New History of Early English Drama," published in 1997 by Columbia University Press, and co-editor of the Third Arden Shakespeare edition of "Henry VI, Part 3," published by Thomson Learning in 2001. He has also written many scholarly articles and book reviews on Renaissance drama and contemporary writers.