Recently Tisch Drama hosted a conversation with Theatre Studies Professor Laura Levine, who discussed her new book Afterlives of Endor: Witchcraft, Theatricality, and Uncertainty from the Malleus Maleficarum to Shakespeare (Cornell University Press, 2023), in an interview with John Dietrich, the department’s Assistant Director of Faculty Services.
Afterlives of Endor offers an analysis of the way early modern English literature addressed the period's anxieties about witchcraft and theatricality. What determined whether or not a demonologist imagined a trial as a spectacle? What underlying epistemological constraints governed such choices and what conceptions of witchcraft did these choices reveal?
“I'm so excited by this research from Professor Levine, especially as performances of witchcraft and "witchery" become more prevalent in popular culture in the United States,” said Tisch Drama Chair Tomi Tsunoda. “This book is a fantastic opportunity to examine how these questions are echoing in our theatricalization of witchcraft today.”
Professor Levine has published widely on Renaissance drama and culture. Her first book, Men in Women's Clothing: Anti-theatricality and Effeminization 1579-1642, examined anxieties about boy actors in women's costumes on the early modern stage. Her new book, Afterlives of Endor (Cornell University Press, Pub. Date: November 15, 2023), looks at fears about witchcraft in the broader context of anxieties about the power of theatrical representations.
Professor Levine has held awards from the NEH, Folger Shakespeare Library, NYU Humanities Center, and the former Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute. Co-founder of the Drama Department's honors program, she is a recipient of NYU's Distinguished Teaching Award.