Michelle Ephraim, Associate Professor of English, Dept. of Humanities and Arts
In each issue, we dive deep with a Faculty member through items in their office
1. The Jew as Other
This poster represents my research on Jews in early modern English literature, especially Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. My book Reading the Jewish Woman on the Elizabethan Stage (Palgrave) is considered a major contribution to the study of gender and Judaism in English literature.
2. Cat wearing football helmet
This photo of my cat Robert (RIP) is the first thing you see when walking into my office. It’s important for my students to know I have a sense of humor.
3. Shakespeare, Not Stirred
These are the North American and UK editions of my book, Shakespeare, Not Stirred: Cocktails for Your Everyday Dramas (Penguin and Scribe publishers), which I co-authored. This project was all about my commitment to bringing Shakespeare out of the Ivory Tower, and offering up some humor as a vehicle to teach his work.
4. Ceramic apple
This was given to me by my students the first time I taught in a literature course, as a college student working as a teaching assistant for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth summer program.
5. Audels Marine Engineers Handbook
The Engineers Handbook belonged to my late father, who was an engineer. He loved that I work at WPI!
6. Shakespeare toys
I keep these in my office for my four kids when they visit the campus.
7. Wooden swords
I bring these to class for my students to use as props when they act out a scene. One’s
a dagger and the other a longsword. For example: Two student groups act out the first scene in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, when Duke Theseus tells his prisoner/fiancée, the Amazon Queen Hippolyta: “I woo’d thee with my sword,/And won thy love, doing thee injuries;/But I will wed thee in another key,/With pomp, with triumph and with reveling.” Each group picks a sword, and then decides how Theseus will use the prop in the scene. Then we discuss their different interpretations.
8. Folger Shakespeare
This poster of Shakespeare with aviators and an unbuttoned shirt conveys a message that with regard to sexuality, gender, class, and race, Shakespeare is modern, provocative, and relevant.