Sean Lawrence

Sean Lawrence photo 2013

Sean Lawrence (standing) and Michel de Montaigne (seated)

Dr. Sean Lawrence, Associate Head
Associate Professor, English
Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
The University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
CCS 372, 1148 Research Road
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7

T: 250.807.9415

Teaching | Research

I explore the intersections of sixteenth-century literature and twentieth-century continental philosophy, especially through the works of William Shakespeare and Emmanuel Levinas. English Studies in Canada, Renascence, The European Journal of English Studies and essay collections have published my articles, and in 2012 Duquesne University Press published my monograph, Forgiving the Gift: The Philosophy of Generosity in Shakespeare and Marlowe. Currently, my work is organized around ideas of peace in Shakespeare.


Courses Winter 2015-16

ENGL 220 002   Foundations:  Literature in Historical Context I
ENGL 353 101    Shakespeare:  Later Works

I believe that teaching converts research into dialogue, and turns a personal pleasure into a public good. My teaching interests therefore grow out of my research interests, focusing on literature and especially Shakespeare. In the 2011-12 academic year, I am teachingEnglish 220 (Literature in English to the 18th century) and English 439 (Later Shakespeare), but also an honours seminar / graduate course on peace in Shakespeare (English 497 / 524A), and an experimental second-year course on the history of the book(CCS 200).

I also serve as coordinator for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Research Interests

Mais il me semble parfois que toute la philosophie n'est qu'une méditation de Shakespeare. (Emmanuel Levinas, Temps et l’Autre)

My research concentrates on the intersections between continental philosophy, especially that of Emmanuel Levinas, and Elizabethan drama, particularly William Shakespeare’s. This nexus embraces analogous questions raised by the relationship of Elizabethan drama to the reformation theological context in which it found itself.

I have become increasingly interested in the tendency for critics of Shakespeare to evade philosophical, religious, or ethical questions in order to concentrate on social and political issues. My forthcoming monograph, Forgiving the Gift: The Philosophy of Generosity in Shakespeare and Marlowe, addresses that curious gap. I limit myself to neither an early modern social practice nor overt depictions of gift-giving on the stage, but on the contrary posit radical generosity as a violation of the various economies, circulations and exchanges which weave the fabric of society.

My current project, on peace in Shakespeare, questions the tendency of critics, theorists and philosophers to treat war as normative and even ubiquitous. War in Shakespeare is certainly frequent, of course, but the plays also enunciate a concern with peace, both negatively, by emphasizing the horrors of war, and positively, by offering alternative models of human life.

Last reviewed shim7/20/2015 3:45:17 PM