Alberto Cacicedo, Ph.D.
Professor of English and Department Chair
Masters Hall 113
Ph.D., English Renaissance and Restoration Literature, Harvard University
A.M., English and American Language and Literature, Harvard University
B.A., English, Penn State
Al Cacicedo’s proudest moment came when three of his students presented papers at a conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies conference. All three of the papers had originated as essays written for one of Prof. Cacicedo’s classes, and all three were terrific. The top of that great moment was that the students were each working with Prof. Cacicedo’s major research interest, Shakespeare and his world. Thanks to the sometimes intense discussions that take place in Prof. Cacicedo’s classes, the students were well prepared to respond to questions and critiques from members of the audience—in particular one particularly snarky student from another institution who was determined to upstage an unflappably competent senior English-Theater combined major.
Besides Shakespeare, Prof. Cacicedo teaches courses from the early 16th century to the late 18th century, including courses in the Renaissance, Milton and the Seventeenth Century, and Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature. Prof. Cacicedo has written and published in all three areas of his major teaching responsibilities, including articles on Milton’s Paradise Lost and Dryden’s “Astraea Redux.” Given his particular interest in Shakespeare, however, most of Prof. Cacicedo’s publications are on the plays, including Romeo and Juliet and Othello and The Comedy of Errors and Measure for Measure. He has also delivered papers on a wide assortment of other plays, including Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, The Tempest, and each of the problem comedies, both separately and together. He is now working on a paper in which he tries to puzzle through the mystery of Horatio in Hamlet. Prof. Cacicedo also teaches a seminar on literary theory, and he has special interest in psychoanalytic theory, which is the framework for his article on Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five and Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.
In his general studies courses Prof. Cacicedo likes to think through two different aspects of the literary experience. Some of his courses are about the way literature organizes itself. In that vein he teaches courses called “Comedy” and “Tragedy,” in both of which students travel through time and space from the 5th century BCE to the present. Some of his courses are about the literary expression of cultural and social problems. He teaches a course called “Africa in America” in which students read documents written by Africans as they are brought to America, and then documents written by African Americans as they conceive of themselves in the racial dysphoria of the American experience. Another course, called “Novel English Women” traces the dual development of women’s consciousness and of the English novel from the early 19tth century to the present. He teaches a course on the literature of war i the 20th and 21st centuries in which he considers the motivations and illusions that precede war and the realities of war that undermine those motives and illusions.
Prof. Cacicedo has been fortunate to receive two NEH summer fellowships, one on Shakespeare and one on Milton, and has been privileged to receive the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Dr. Henry P. and M. Paige Laughlin Annual Distinguished Faculty Award, and the Dr. Henry P. and M. Paige Laughlin Annual Distinguished Faculty Award for Scholarship.
Areas of Research
- “The Beast Fable in Dryden’s The Hind and the Panther.” Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700, vol. 9, no. 2, 1985, pp. 75-82.
- “Shakespeare and Feminist Readings.” Forum. PMLA, vol. 103, no. 5, 1988, pp. 817-18.
- “‘A formal man again’: Physiological Humours in The Comedy of Errors.” The Upstart Crow, vol. 11, 1991, pp. 24-38.
- “Seeing the King: Classical and Biblical Texts in Astraea Redux.” SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, vol. 32, no. 3, 1992, pp. 407-27.
- “‘Conversing, looking, loving’: The Discourse of Reason in Paradise Lost.” Cithara: Essays in the Judeo-Christian Tradition, vol. 32, no. 2, 1993, pp. 13-38.
- “‘She is fast my wife’: Sex, Marriage, and Ducal Authority in Measure for Measure.” Shakespeare Studies, vol. 23, 1995, pp. 187-209.
- “Hake, Cod, and Poor-John in Romeo and Juliet 1.1.” The Explicator, vo. 61, no. 3, 2003, pp. 134-37.
- “‘You must remember this’: Trauma and Memory in Catch-22 and Slaughterhouse Five.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, vol. 46, no. 4, 2005, pp. 357-68.
- “Othello, Stranger in a Strange Land.” Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Criticism and Theory, vol. 18, no. 1, 2016, pp. 7-27.
Select Conference Presentations
- “‘Passing strange’: Ideal Ego and Ego Ideal in Othello,” at the meeting of the Shakespeare Association, 1987.
- “‘A soldier to a lady’: Civility and Its Discontents in Much Ado About Nothing,” at the meeting of the Shakespeare Association, 1992.
- “The Laws of Marriage in Early Modern England and Measure for Measure,” at the meeting of the Shakespeare Association, 1994.
- “Marriage à la Mode: Spousals and State Power in Measure for Measure,” at the meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association, 1995.
- “Bastards and Patchokes: Don John as Colonial Subject,” at the meeting of the Shakespeare Association, 1997.
- “A Courtier and No Courtier: Bertram Among the Nightingales,” at the meeting of the Shakespeare Association, 2000.
- “Under My Thumb: Ideology and the Problem of Problem Comedies,” at the meeting of the Shakespeaer Association, 2003.
- “To Every Thing There is a Season: Ethical Life on Prospero’s Island,” at the meeting of the Shakespeare Association, 2008.
- “Hamlet: Educating the Prince Then and Now,” at the meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association, 2010.
- “‘Dukedom large enough’: The Prospero Trap,” at the meeting of the Shakespeare Association, 2013.
- “Cressida’s Rank Sex,” at the meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association, 2016.