Ellen Maria Gorrissen Fellow - Class of Spring 2008
Professor of English, University of Rochester
Kenneth Gross is Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of English at the University of Rochester. His books include Spenserian Poetics: Idolatry, Iconoclasm, and Magic (1985), The Dream of the Moving Statue (1992, rpt. 2006), Shakespeare’s Noise (2001), and Shylock is Shakespeare (2006), and he has published essays on a diversity of subjects, including Dante, Shakespeare, and Milton, modern poetry, contemporary theater, and literary twinship. He has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, The National Endowment for the Humanities, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Rockefeller Foundation (Bellagio Study Center), the Bogliasco Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies. In the spring of 2008 he was the Ellen Maria Gorrisen Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. The book he was researching and writing during his tenure at the Academy will be published in the fall of 2011 by the University of Chicago Press, under the title Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life.
American Academy Project
On the Art of the Puppet
Puppets big and small can animate our wishes, desires, and fears. They receive our impressions and filter our voice. But puppetry as an art form also means “playing with things you are not supposed to play with,” says Kenneth Gross, Spring 2008 Ellen Maria Gorrissen Fellow and professor of English at the University of Rochester. As such, they represent a particular kind of madness, Gross says; they show human beings how to see something else in objects besides their material worth or use-function. They animate the pathos of human drama by other means. »