Aaron Douglas Professor's Profile Image
Aaron Douglas Professor


California State University, Long Beach, BA

University of California, Los Angeles, MA

University of California, Los Angeles, PhD

Areas of Specialty

The literary culture of Early Modern England, especially the works of Shakespeare, Spenser, and Milton, as well as literature's connections with philosophy and the performing arts.

Courses Regularly Taught

Classical Backgrounds to English Literature

Introduction to Renaissance Literature

Milton (Poetry, Politics, & Prophecy)


Shakespeare on Screen

Personal Teaching Statement

I regularly ask students to read aloud, recite, enact, or perform passages from literature. In encouraging them to bring the language more vividly to life in their own understandings and for their listeners, I share some of my own contemporary musical settings of early modern poetry. When the students respond in kind--a staged dramatic interpretation, a screenplay adaptation, or even an outdoor rally--it shows their grasp of the material and their engagement with it.

For me, the best part of teaching is learning: when everyone in a class, including the instructor, comes away from the experience knowing more (and more deeply) about the subject. Dialogue with students and with colleagues on campus, throughout the discipline, and across disciplinary lines provides both the inspiration and the environment for effective teaching and constructive research. I've found that work in the humanities especially depends not only upon individual insight and effort but also upon collaboration and conversation.

Selected Publications and Projects

Shakespeare in the Cinema: Ocular Proof (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002).

“Jazz and Shakespeare” in the forthcoming Stanford Global Shakespeare Encyclopedia, ed. Patricia Parker (online, Stanford University Press).

Humanities Adviser and Teaching Artist for “Sonnets and Songs,” a free educational program for area students in Grades 7-12. Also Humanities Adviser for “Little But Fierce,” Grades K-6. With Summer Lukasiewicz, Executive Director of Flatwater Shakespeare Company, July 2018. Funded by Humanities Nebraska.

Humanities Adviser and Guest Artist for “Little But Fierce” and “Sonnet Intensive,” free educational programs for area students in Grades K-6 and 7-12. With Becky Boesen, Executive Artistic Director of Flatwater Shakespeare Company, July 2017. Funded by Humanities Nebraska.

“How to Get from Syracuse to the West Side: Kurt Weill's One Touch of Venus and the Shakespearean Broadway Musical,” Shakespearean Theatre Conference, University of Waterloo at Stratford, Ontario, June 2017. Also chair and organizer for session on “Shakespeare and Jazz,” which included this paper.

“Palpable Hits: Popular Music Forms and Teaching Early Modern Poetry,” The CEA Critic 78.2 (July 2016): 229-41.

Panel and Workshop Presenter, “Teaching Shakespeare to Undergraduates,” Folger Institute program; Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, June 2016.

Shakespeare’s First Folio – and the First Folio’s Shakespeare,” public lecture in conjunction with NEH / Folger Shakespeare Library exhibition; Durham Museum, Omaha, NE, April 2016.

“King of Shadows: The Warner Brothers A Midsummer Night's Dream as Source, Intertext, and (Counter)Example,” paper shared with the Re-evaluating Earlier Generations of Shakespeare Films seminar, Shakespeare Association of America; New Orleans, LA, March 2016.

“Falstaff and the Construction of Musical Nostalgia,” paper shared with the Memory and Musical Performance seminar, Shakespeare Association of America; Vancouver, BC, March 2015.

Composer and Performer for Sonnets and Songs by Sweet Will and the Saucy Jacks. Digital EP of pop music settings of Shakespeare. Available for free / pay what you wish download: sweetwill.bandcamp.com. Released 2012.

Education Director and Co-founder, Flatwater Shakespeare Company. Dramaturg and Text Adviser most recently for The Tempest (Swan Theatre and city-wide tour, 2018). Past work as Dramaturg and Text Adviser includes Tony Kushner's Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches and Part Two: Perestroika, with Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot (Haymarket Theatre, 2011-13); A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, The Comedy of Errors, As You Like It, and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Swan Theatre and regional tours, 2011-17); Othello (Lincoln Community Playhouse, 2011); Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice (Swan Theatre, 2015-16). Sound design for Twelfth Night (2012). Contributing Musical Adapter / Composer for Much Ado About Nothing (2013), The Comedy of Errors (2014), and The Merry Wives of Windsor (2017).

Awards and Honors

University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award, 1991. 

University of Nebraska state-wide system's Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award (OTICA), 1999.

Member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Academy of Distinguished Teachers, admitted in 1999. 

Aaron Douglas Professorship for Teaching Excellence, 2010-present (renewed 2015).

Lincoln Arts Council and City of Lincoln Mayor's Arts Awards, Artistic Achievement in Literary Arts, 2015.