Dr. Steve Mentz
B.A., Princeton University
Ph.D., Yale University
Research Focus: Shakespeare, 16th and 17th-Century English Literature, Environmental humanities, ecocriticism, oceanic culture, blue humanities
Steve Mentz teaches Shakespeare, literary theory, and maritime literature and culture with a focus on the “environmental humanities.” Trying in his work and teaching to respond to ecological crisis has brought his work beyond Shakespeare to embrace oceanic culture, environmental philosophy, and artistic performances. He believes that all arts are performing arts, and his Shakespeare classes see at least one live performance each semester.
Dr. Mentz is author of five single-author books, Ocean (2020), Break Up the Anthropocene (2019), Shipwreck Modernity: Ecologies of Globalization 1550 – 1719 (2015), At the Bottom of Shakespeare’s Ocean (2009), Romance for Sale in Early Modern England: The Rise of Prose Fiction (2006), and five edited or co-edited collections, The Routledge Companion to Marine and Maritime Worlds, 1400-1800 (2020), The Sea in Nineteenth-Century Anglophone Literary Culture (2017), Oceanic New York (2015), The Age of Thomas Nashe (2014) and Rogues and Early Modern English Culture (2004). He has published numerous articles on Shakespeare, ecological criticism, maritime culture, the history of the book, and related topics. A sample of his interests, published works, and ongoing projects can be found on his blog, The Bookfish (www.stevementz.com).
He has received prize fellowships and grants from such bodies as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the John Carter Brown Library, and the National Maritime Museum in London.
Before arriving at St. John’s in 2003, Dr. Mentz taught for three years in the English Department at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY. His undergraduate degree is from Princeton University, where his senior thesis won the Francis LeMoyne Page Prize in Creative Writing, and his PhD from Yale University.
Dr. Mentz directed the graduate programs in English from 2011-2017, during which time the doctoral program successfully petitioned the New York State Board of Education to offer the Ph.D. degree.