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Jenijoy La Belle

Professor of English, Emeritus
Jenijoy La Belle
Contact information for Jenijoy La Belle
Contact Method Value
Mail Code: MC 101-40
Office: Dabney Hall (40)
B.A., University of Washington, 1965; Ph.D., University of California (San Diego), 1969. Assistant Professor of English, Caltech, 1969-76; Associate Professor, 1977-80; Associate Professor of Literature, 1980-88; Professor of Literature, 1988-2004; Professor of English, 2004-2007; Professor Emeritus, 2007-.

Research Interests

William Blake; Shakespeare; Theodore Roethke; Women and Mirrors

Professor La Belle's publications have been concentrated in three areas: William Blake's pictorial works, issues of ideality and physicality in Shakespeare's plays, and issues of identity and physical appearance in 19th- and 20th-century texts about women. These continue to be areas of interest and exploration.

Her current research grows out of earlier work on Shakespeare's representations of sexuality and more directly out of her current teaching. During the 1997-98 academic year, she team-taught a course with Shirley Marneus, director of TACIT (Theatre Arts at Caltech), centering on Shakespeare's Henry V. Since then, they have conducted similar classes on seven other plays, including Richard III, The Merchant of Venice, and Othello. Unlike most academic courses on Shakespeare, these classes stress the plays as stage performance and incorporate into the course TACIT's production of each play. From this hands-on involvement with both teaching and stage production, La Belle's research has evolved towards some new perspectives on Shakespeare's theatricality. This emphasis also speaks to her work on the Shakespeare authorship question.

Stage history has long played a subsidiary role in Shakespeare studies. La Belle intends to make it more central by bringing to bear on the topic recent theoretical developments in performativity, Bakhtin's concept of the carnivalesque, and gender criticism stressing the textuality and mobility of human personality. She first explored the issues of gender and its (self) representations in her book Herself Beheld (Cornell University Press). Thus she is attempting to bring together several disparate fields and activities -- pedagogical and scholarly, psychological and theatrical.

Selected Publications


Herself Beheld: The Literature of the Looking Glass. Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1988.

The Echoing Wood of Theodore Roethke. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1976.

Co-author with Robert N. Essick, Night Thoughts or the Complaint and the Consolation Illustrated by William Blake. New York, Dover Press; Toronto, General Publishing Company; London, Constable and Company, 1975. Reprinted, 1996.

Co-author with Robert N. Essick, Flaxman's Illustrations to Homer. New York, Dover Press; Toronto, General Publishing Company, London, Constable and Company, 1977.


"Theodore Roethke and Tradition; `The Pure Serene of Memory in One Man,'" Northwest Review, Special Issue: Theodore Roethke, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Summer 1971), 1-18.

"Words Graven with an Iron Pen: The Marginal Texts in Blake's Job," The Visionary Hand: Essays for the Study of William Blake's Art and Aesthetics, Hennessey & Ingalls, Inc. (1973), 526-550.

"Roethke's `I Knew A Woman,'" The Explicator, Vol. XXXII, No. 2 (October 1973).

"Martyr to a Motion Not His Own: Theodore Roethke's Love Poems," Forum, Vol. XVI, No. 2 (Spring 1975), 71-85.

"Theodore Roethke's Dancing Masters in `Four for Sir John Davies,'" Concerning Poetry, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Fall 1975), 29-35.

"Theodore Roethke's `The Lost Son': From Archetypes to Literary History," Modern Language Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 2 (June 1976), 179-195.

"Out of the Cradle Endlessly Robbing: Whitman, Eliot, and Theodore Roethke," The Walt Whitman Review, Vol. 22, No. 2 (June 1976), 75-84.

"Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" The Explicator, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Fall 1976).

"Blake's Visions and Revisions of Michelangelo," Blake in His Time: Studies in Aesthetic Theory and Practice, Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press (1978), 13-22, plates 6-28.

"Blake and Morland: The First State of `The Industrious Cottager,'" Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly, Vol. 12, No. 4 (Spring 1979), 258-261.

"Vernon Watkins: Some Observations on Poetry," The Anglo-Welsh Review, Number 65, 1979, 100-106.

"A True Love's Knot: The Letters of Constance Fowler and the Poems of Herbert Aston," Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Vol. 79, Number 1 (January 1980), 13-31.

"Hardy's Ironic Allusiveness to Tennyson," The Explicator, Vol. 38, No. 3 (Spring 1980).

"Dickinson's `Savior! I've no one else to tell,'" The Explicator, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Summer 1980).

"Michelangelo's Sistine Frescoes and Blake's 1795 Color-printed Drawings: A Study in Structural Relationships," Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly, Vol. 14, Number 2 (Fall 1980), 66-84.

"A Strange Infirmity': Lady Macbeth's Amenorrhea," Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 31, Number 3 (Autumn 1980), 381-86.

"The Huntington Aston Manuscript," The [London] Book Collector, Vol. 29, No. 4 (Winter 1980), 542-567. "William Blake, Theodore Roethke, and Mother Goose: The Unholy Trinity," Blake Studies, Vol. 9, Numbers 1 and 2 (1980), 74-86.

"Blake's Insanity: An Unrecorded Early Reference," Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly, Vol. 15, Number 2 (Fall 1981), 100-101.

"Theodore Flopkins-Hopkins Roethke," Hopkins Among the Poets: Studies in Modern Responses to Gerard Manley Hopkins, ed. Richard F. Giles, The International Hopkins Association Monograph Series (Hamilton, Canada: International Hopkins Association, 1985), 80-83.

"A Pencil Sketch for Blake's Dante Illustrations," Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly, Vol. 19, Number 2 (Fall 1985), 73-74.

"Mutiny Against the Mirror: Jane Eyre and The Mill on the Floss," Pacific Coast Philology, Vol. 20, No. 1-2 (November 1985), 53-56.

"William Blake's Reputation in the 1830s: Some Unrecorded Documents," Modern, Vol. 84, Number 3 (February 1987), 302-307.


"Touchstone's Dial: Horology or Urology?" English Language Notes, Vol. 24, Number 3 (March 1987), 19-25.

"Published Writings of Hallett Smith," The Huntington Library Quarterly, Vol. 50, Number 3 (Summer 1987), 171-177.

"The Piper and the Physicist," Approaches to Teaching Blake's "Songs of Innocence and of Experience," ed. Robert Gleckner and Mark Greenberg. New York: Modern Language Association (1989), 84-87.

"Blake's Bald Nudes," Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly, Vol. 24, Number 2 (Fall 1990), 52-58.

"The Authorship Question; or, Will the Real William Shakespeare Please Stand Up?" Engineering & Science, Vol. 55, Number 1 (Fall 1991), 22-29.

"A Reprinting of Blake's Portrait of Thomas Alphonso Hayley," Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly, Vol. 25, Number 3 (Winter 1991/92), 136-38.

"George Morland (1763-1804)," The Encyclopedia of Romanticism: Culture in Britain, 1780s - 1830s, ed. Laura Dabundo. London, Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1992.

"The National Library of Poetry: A Scam that Doesn't Scan," AWP Chronicle (journal of the Associated Writing Programs), Vol. 30, Number 3 (December 1997), 30.

"Two Roads Converged in a Wood," forthcoming in Writing Talk: Sentence to Paragraph, ed. J. R. McCuen. New York: Prentice Hall.