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NEWCOMB, Lori Humphrey


Female. Education: Duke University, Ph.D., 1993.


Office—University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Deptartment of English, 608 South Wright, Urbana, IL 61801. E-mail—[email protected]


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, associate professor; Duke University, Durham, NC, associate professor.


Reading Popular Romance in Early Modern England, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Author of numerous professional articles on early modern romances and popular culture.


Printed Bodies, Performing Words: The Drama of Presence in Greene and Shakespeare; Early Modern Women Out-of-Doors.


Lori Humphrey Newcomb is a professor of English whose main areas of interest are seventeenth-century literature, with a focus on fiction and drama, and theories of class, gender, audience, and cultural value. Her article-length writings have dealt with topics from early modern prose romance as an indication of the rise of popular culture to reading for servants, women's work in pastoral literature, and aspects of early modern women writers. In her 2002 critical study, Reading Popular Romance in Early Modern England, Newcomb focuses on a popular romance of the Elizabethan period—Pandosto, by Robert Greene—and the influence it had on William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. Newcomb thus takes a fresh look at the inspiration for a Shakespearean masterpiece and at the same time provides a survey of the expansion of the publishing industry between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries.

Reviewing Newcomb's book in Renaissance Quarterly, Catherine R. Eskin noted that the author "treats [Greene's] popular prose romance of the early modern period with respect." Greene's book was a popular success for 250 years, yet such works, evidence of a popular culture, are too often derided as mindless entertainment. For Eskin, Newcomb is "by turns theoretical, intellectual, and often defensive of her subject(s)." Eskin further noted that Newcomb "painstakingly proves what scholars have tried to ignore—the snobbery we share with the elitist readers and critics of earlier centuries regarding popular literature." Paul Salzman, writing in Modern Philology, noted that Newcomb's book "adds a great deal of concrete information to the more general forays into the history of early modern popular culture," while Pam Lieske, reviewing the same work in College Literature, praised Newcomb's "meticulous research into social and material practices and their discursive connections [that] provide new insights into the relationship of popular romance to early modern readers, their culture, and the history of literary genres."



College Literature, winter, 2004, Pam Lieske, review of Reading Popular Romance in Early Modern England, pp. 184-189.

Modern Philology, November, 2002, Paul Salzman, review of Reading Popular Romance in Early Modern England, pp. 265-267.

Renaissance Quarterly, autumn, 2003, Catherine R. Eskin, review of Reading Popular Romance in Early Modern England, pp. 928-930.


Columbia University Press Web site, (July 6, 2004), "Reading Popular Romance in Early Modern England: Lori Humphrey Newcomb."

University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign English Department Web site, (July 6, 2004), "Lori Humphrey Newcomb."*

Newcomb, Lori Humphrey

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