William Kennedy, the Avalon Foundation Professor Emeritus in the Humanities in the Department of Comparative Literature was recognized for the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies, awarded by the Modern Language Association. He has received an honorable mention, for his book “Petrarchism at Work: Contextual Economies in the Age of Shakespeare” (Cornell University Press).
The award committee called “Petrarchism” an “extraordinary book, immensely learned and nuanced in its interpretations of Petrarch, Stampa, Ronsard, and Shakespeare…Kennedy’s unparalleled analyses of Petrarchan sonnets open up new interpretations highlighting the economic and social relevance of poetry.”
Kennedy’s work focuses on Italian, French, English, and German texts from Dante to Milton. His publications include “Rhetorical Norms in Renaissance Literature,” “Authorizing Petrarch,” “The Site of Petrarchism: Early Modern National Sentiment in Italy, France, and England” and “Jacopo Sannazaro and the Uses of Pastoral,” which received the MLA’s Howard R. Marraro Prize. He is coeditor of “Writing in the Disciplines” and has guest-edited two volumes of “Annals of Scholarship.” His current project, “Global Shakespeare,” is a book-length study of Shakespeare’s impact on twentieth- and twenty-first-century fiction, drama, and poetry in Russia, India, North Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Japan.
After receiving his BA from Manhattan College in 1963, Kennedy received his PhD from Yale University in 1969 in comparative literature. He received an honorary degree, L.H.D., from Manhattan College in 2015.