Karol Cooper

Associate Professor
Director of English Literary Studies


310 Marano Campus Center

Office hours


and by appointment: http://karolcooper.simplybook.me

Spring 2019 Schedule

Karol Cooper

In my teaching and research, I trace the historical precedents for issues of current concern as they are portrayed in British drama, satire, and romantic prose from the 1600s and 1700s, and in literatures of recent times. In my research, I examine the history of soul rhetoric in early modern British literature, the tactics of anti-romantic women writers, the commercialization of intimacy, discourses of personal identity, the history of blackness and whiteness in the West, the deconstruction of representation in twentieth- and twenty-first-century avant-garde drama, and critical theories of language, politics, culture, gender, violence, and race. I am presently working on an essay, “Dice and the Commercial End of the ‘Pleasing Delusion’ of War-Like Love in Aphra Behn’s The Luckey Chance,” for an edited collection, The Games of War in British and American Literature, 1588-1783.

Since 2010, I have served as faculty sponsor for Alpha Sigma Eta, the Oswego chapter of the international English honor society Sigma Tau Delta. Our latest project, “Employment and Literary Critique,” gives members practice in using their unique gifts with language to find a place for themselves, and their voices, in the world of work. Members will go beyond the notion of the job search to undertake writing- and community-based tasks that will help them fashion a critical, ethical approach to the workplace and its language, and create a vision for how their own work in language could be valued there.


“’The man is either mad, or I am in a dream’:  Masculine Prerogative as Mental Disease in the Late Novels of Eliza Haywood,” in Symptoms of Disorder: Reading Madness in British Literature 1744-1845, edited by Ilaria Natali and Annalisa Volpone, Cambria Press, 2016.

 “Raping Justice in John Webster’s The White Devil,” in Woman on Trial: The Construction of Gender in Plays about Women Accused of Crime, edited by Amelia Howe Kritzer and Miriam López-Rodríguez, Teneo Press, 2015.

 “The Modernization of the Medieval Staging of Soul in Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus.” Early Modern Literary Studies, Special Issue 23: Christopher Marlowe: Identities, Traditions, Afterlives, vol. 17, no. 2, 2014. https://extra.shu.ac.uk/emls/journal/index.php/emls/index

“’Too high for souls like mine to hide’:  Feminine Retreat and Exposure in Aphra Behn’s The Feign’d Curtizans.” Restoration and Eighteenth Century Theatre Research, vol. 23, no. 1, 2008, pp. 34-45.


Ph.D., English, University of Washington

B.A., English and Journalism, Indiana University

Classes taught


ENG 326/800 TR 12:45-2:05 142 Marano CC
ENG 365/810 TR 11:10-12:30 142 Marano CC

ENG 326 ENGLISH DRAMA: CITY COMEDY- Crossdressing, Sex and Power in Early 1600s England. After the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, and the arrival of King James and the Scottish Stuart monarchs, English drama turned further to the dark side. John Webster’s The White Devil exploited boy actors in feminine costumes to evoke a sense of loathing and terror of unnatural female desire, even while obsessing over women’s supposed natural modesty. Plots that hinged on sex, money and political power delivered a massive body count by the tragedy’s end. In the comedies, violence came in the form of witty attacks. Middleton’s and Dekker’s The Roaring Girl was based on the real-life Moll Cutpurse, a female criminal who liked to go about in men’s attire. The character of Moll satirized decadent aristocrats as well as the new-money cits—middle-class citizens who were starting to have more social and economic power. Ben Jonson’s The Masque of Blackness, was performed by and for the elite social class at the king’s court. The masque, the only type of play in which women were permitted to act, explored the symbolic value of dark African beauty when set off against a heroicized England. Women writers had to be careful of their reputations, but still managed to gain fans for their work. Elizabeth Cary’s Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry was circulated among a wide circle of friends and admirers, but never performed on the public stage. All this dramatic productivity would be interrupted by the English civil war of the 1640s, when class and religious conflicts led to the beheading of the king, and the shutdown of the majority of theatrical outlets for nearly two decades.    Coursework:  (1) one presentation paper on British social history; (2) frequent homework assignments about the literary and critical texts; and (3) a final research paper.

ENG 365 JUNIOR SEMINAR: APHRA BEHN-Aphra Behn, the First Professional Woman Writer in England.  In the late 1600s, British writer Aphra Behn was a widely-read novelist, playwright and poet. She pleased audiences with comic plays about sexual games that for the first time showed women’s perspectives on love, sex, marriage, and the violent lifestyles of the rich and powerful. Towards the end of her career, she wrote mostly satirical romance fiction, including her famous novel, Oroonoko, about an African prince and his wife who were kidnapped and sold into slavery in a British colony. To help us understand what made Behn’s work unique, we will read highlights from other important writers of her day: Katherine Philips, Margaret Cavendish, the Earl of Rochester, William Wycherley, and John Dryden.

Coursework:  (1) one presentation paper on British social history; (2) frequent homework assignments about the literary and critical texts; and (3) a final research paper.