Professor Peter Holbrook

Professor and Director

ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (UQ Node)
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+61 7 336 53215


Peter Holbrook is Professor of Shakespeare and English Renaissance Literature at the University of Queensland, and Director of the UQ Node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (Europe 1100-1800).

Peter’s research has focused on political, social, and philosophical aspects of English Renaissance literature (in particular, tragic drama), and on the influence of Shakespeare on diverse writers and thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including (for example) Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Hardy, and Philip Larkin. He is the author of Shakespeare’s Individualism (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 2010) Literature and Degree in Renaissance England: Nashe, Bourgeois Tragedy, Shakespeare (Newark N.J. and London: University of Delaware Press, 1994), and, most recently, English Renaissance Tragedy: Ideas of Freedom (London: Arden, 2015). He is editor of a special issue of the Shakespeare International Yearbook entitled Shakespeare and Montaigne Revisited, and co-editor, with David Bevington, of The Politics of the Stuart Court Masque (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

At the University of Queensland, Peter has taught a wide range of English literature courses, including undergraduate courses on Shakespeare, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature, Tragedy, and English and American poetry, and has supervised numerous Honours, Masters, and Doctoral dissertations on both early modern and later topics. He has been an active voice in debates surrounding the teaching of English in Australia, serving as a member of the English Learning Area Reference Committee, Queensland Studies Authority, from 2010 to 2011, and as a member of the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts from 2006 to 2009. His work on literature and education has appeared in Australian print media and on ABC Radio National, and he has reviewed numerous academic publications for the Times Literary Supplement and other journals.

He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, a Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre for History of Emotions (Europe 1100-1800), and currently serves as Chair of the International Shakespeare Association.

Research Interests

  • English Renaissance literature, in particular Shakespeare


  • Fellow of Australian Academy of the Humanities
  • PhD, Yale University
  • Master of Philosophy, Yale University
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), University of Melbourne


  • Holbrook, Peter (2011) Endless mornings on endless faces: Shakespeare and Philip Larkin. Shakespeare Survey, 64 328-339. doi:10.1017/CCOL9781107011229.029

  • Holbrook, Peter (2011). Thomas Hardy. In Adrian Poole (Ed.), Scott, Dickens, Eliot, Hardy: Great Shakespeareans (pp. 139-183) London, United Kingdom: Continuum International Publishing Group.

  • Holbrook, Peter Shakespeare's individualism. Cambridge, U.K. ; New York, U.S.A.: Cambridge University Press, 2010. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511675980

  • Holbrook, Peter (2006) Shakespeare, 'The cause of the people', and The Chartist Circular 1839-1842. Textual Practice, 20 2: 203-229. doi:10.1080/09502360600703112

  • Holbrook, Peter (2003) Shakespeare as a force for good. Shakespeare Survey, 56 56: 203-214.

  • Holbrook, Peter (2000) The left and 'King Lear'. Textual Practice, 14 2: 343-362. doi:10.1080/09502360050082659

View all Publications


  • (2016) Master Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Featured Publications


Book Chapter

  • Edmondson, Paul and Holbrook, Peter (2016). Introduction: Great creating shakespeare. In Paul Edmondson and Peter Holbrook (Ed.), Shakespeare’s creative legacies: artists, writers, performers, readers (pp. 1-9) London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare.

  • Holbrook, Peter (2016). Materialist and Political Criticism. In Bruce R. Smith (Ed.), The Cambridge Guide to the Worlds of Shakespeare (pp. 1774-1781) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Holbrook, Peter (2015). Afterword. In Richard Meek and Erin Sullivan (Ed.), Renaissance of emotion: understanding affect in Shakespeare and his contemporaries (pp. 264-272) Manchester, England: Manchester University Press.

  • Holbrook, Peter (2014). Nietzsche's Shakespeare. In Jennifer Ann Bates and Richard Wilson (Ed.), Shakespeare and Continental Philosophy (pp. 76-93) Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press.

  • Holbrook, Peter (2014). Shakespeare, Montaigne, and classical reason. In Patrick Gray and John D. Cox (Ed.), Shakespeare and Renaissance Ethics (pp. 261-283) New York, NY United States: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9781107786158.016

  • Holbrook, Peter (2011). Shakespeare and poetry. In Mark Thornton Burnett, Adiran Streete and Ramona Wray (Ed.), The Edinburgh companion to Shakespeare and the arts (pp. 37-48) Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press. doi:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635238.003.0003

  • Holbrook, Peter (2011). Thomas Hardy. In Adrian Poole (Ed.), Scott, Dickens, Eliot, Hardy: Great Shakespeareans (pp. 139-183) London, United Kingdom: Continuum International Publishing Group.

  • Holbrook, Peter (2008). Shakespeare and self-creation. In Dahiya, Bhim S. (Ed.), Shakespeare's Intellectual Background (pp. 151-164) New Delhi: Viva Books Private Limited.

  • Holbrook, Peter (2006). Ian Fairweather: Vision and abandonment. In S. Alderton (Ed.), Ian Fairweather: An Artist of the 21st Century (pp. 5-10) NSW: Lismore Regional Gallery.

  • Holbrook, Peter (2006). Introduction. In Graham Bradshaw and Tom Bishop (Ed.), The Shakespearean International Yearbook: Special section, Shakespeare and Montaigne Revisited (pp. 5-20) Aldershot, Hants, England ; Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate.

  • Holbrook, Peter (2003). Class X: Shakespeare, Class and the Comedies. In R. Dutton and J. Howard (Ed.), A Companion to Shakespeare's Works, Volume III: The Comedies (pp. 67-89) Oxford, England: Blackwell.

  • Holbrook, Peter (2003). Dark Shakespeare. In Graham Bradshaw, John M. Mucciolo, Tom Bishop and Angus Fletcher (Ed.), The Shakespearean International Yearbook: Where are we now in Shakespearean studies? (pp. 115-127) Surrey, U.K.: Ashgate Publishing.

  • Holbrook, Peter (2002). Shakespeare at the Birth of Historicism. In P. Kelly (Ed.), The Touch of the Real: Essays in Early Modern Culture (pp. 22-37) Crawley, WA: University of Western Australian Press.

Journal Article

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision