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Timothy Hampton

Aldo Scaglione and Marie M. Burns Distinguished Professor of French and Comparative Literature, and Director of the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities
4218 Dwinelle Hall
Tuesdays 2-4 and by appointment

Research Areas

Professor Hampton’s research interests include the relationship between literature and politics, poetry and song, the history of emotion, the history of diplomacy, and the transmission of culture in the Renaissance and early modern periods. He has written widely on literature in its many forms (epic, lyric, dramatic, novelistic) across several languages and national traditions. In addition to his work in French and Comparative Literature, he is Director of the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities at Berkeley, past director of the Designated Emphasis in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and co-chair of the "Democracy, Free Speech, and Values" study group. He was recently awarded a grant by the France-Berkeley Fund and the Diebold Foundation for a 2022 project on the translation of poetry.  His most recent books, Bob Dylan:  How the Songs Work and Cheerfulness:  A Literary and Cultural History, were published by Zone books in 2019 and 2022.  A memoir and essay on American education, Trespassing, is in the works, to be followed by a study of colonies before the rise of modern colonialism.  In addition to many scholarly venues, his work has appeared in such publications as Salon and Aeon/Psyche. He writes about literature, music, and education at A podcast interview about his work may be found here:

Selected Publications

"Joachim du Bellay and the Truce of Vaucelles." Early Modern Studies, 2022. 

"The Theology of Cheer," in Positive Emotions in the Early Modern Period (Manchester University Press, 2021).

"Tangled Generation:  Dylan, Kerouac, Petrarch, and the Poetics of Escape"  Critical Inquiry, 39, 4 (2013).

"Virgil in India:  Epic, History, and Military Tactics in the Lusiads," MLN, 130 (2015).

"Montaigne's Gaiety,"  Montaigne Studies, 30 (2018).

"Bob Dylan in the Country:  Rock Domesticity and Pastoral Song," Representations, 152, Fall 2020.

"Sancho's Fortune:  Money and Narrative Truth in Don Quixote," MLN, Spring 2021.

"Baroque Diplomacy" Oxford Handbook of the Baroque, ed. John Lyons (OUP, 2019)