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J.K. Barret

Assistant ProfessorPh.D., 2008, Princeton University

J.K. Barret



Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature; the Renaissance future; time; literature and the visual arts; early modern legal theory; classical reception; narrative.


J.K. Barret is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her Ph.D. from Princeton University and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. Her first book project, Untold Futures: Time and Literary Culture in Renaissance England, investigates Renaissance literary constructions of the future, the complex relations between futurity and narrative, and the emergence of novel accounts of Englishness that turn on looking to the future rather than the past in the works of Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare and Milton. She has received fellowship support from sources including the University of Texas at Austin, UCLA's Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Whiting Foundation, the Josephine de Kármán Foundation, and the Huntington Library. She has also received funding to participate in seminars at the National Humanities Center and the Folger Shakespeare Library. In addition to time and the future, her research and teaching interests include poetry and poetics, drama, literature and the visual arts, early modern legal theory, antiquity in the Renaissance, pastoral, romance, translation studies and narrative theory.


T C 302 • Doubles, Fakes & Counterfeit

43712 • Spring 2014
Meets MW 1230pm-200pm CRD 007B


Selfish.  Self-conscious. Self-aware. Self-absorbed.  These familiar words characterize both a state of mind and a way of interacting with the world around us, one that implicitly depends on a story familiar in college classrooms: that the modern, autonomous, secular self was born in the Renaissance. More recently, computers have given rise to a way of accessing the world virtually, even allowing us to create online versions of ourselves through social networks like Facebook or role-playing communities like Second Life. In this course, we’ll think about the clash of these two strands—is a human being importantly singular or is a multiple, fractured identity the mark of human progress?—by exploring the literature of "Double, Fakes and Counterfeits." Even before Shakespeare, literary texts have been fascinated with doubled figures, ranging from mirror images to twins to nefarious, forged reproductions. This course will approach a broad sampling of literary texts that take up these popular figures to investigate how, when and why the representation of a second version might tell us something about its original.



Ovid, Metamorphoses (selections)

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (selections)

John Milton, Paradise Lost (selections)

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Henry James, "The Jolly Corner"

Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo

Patricia Highsmith, Strangers on a Train



Daily reaction (100 words) - 5%

Two Brief Research Exercises (1-2 pages each) - 10%

In-class Presentation - 10%

Class Participation - 25%

Two Papers (3-4 pages each) - 30%

Final exam - 20%


About the Professor:

J.K. Barret has been an Assistant Professor of English at UT Austin since 2009.  She grew up in southern California, but lived on the east coast while attending college (University of Pennsylvania), graduate school (Princeton University), and in between (working in finance in Washington DC and at an internet start up company in New York City).  As an undergraduate, she majored in English, focusing on medieval and Renaissance literature, and minored in Classical Studies. In graduate school, she turned her attention to Renaissance texts.  She has been awarded several national fellowships (including the Solmsen Fellowship, the Josephine de Karman Fellowship and the Mrs. Giles Whiting Fellowship) that provided support for her research project on conceptions of time and the future in the literature of Renaissance England. She has also received fellowship support to study French and Italian abroad.  Her academic areas of interest include the intersection between word and image, temporality, performance, narrative, translation, and the influence of antiquity on Renaissance writers.  She is an avid traveler, and has lived in Spain and visited Europe, Latin America and (briefly) Morocco. 


Barret, J.K. Untold Futures: Time and Literary Culture in Renaissance England. Forthcoming from Cornell University Press, 2016.

Barret, J.K. "The Crowd in Imogen’s Bedroom: Allusion and Ethics in Cymbeline." Shakespeare Quarterly 66.4 (Winter 2015) 440-62. 

Barret, J.K. "Chained Allusions, Patterned Futures, and the Dangers of Interpretation in Titus Andronicus," English Literary Renaissance 44.3 (Autumn 2014) 452-85.

Barret, J.K. "Vacant Time in The Faerie Queene," ELH 81.1 (2014) 1-28.

Barret, J.K. "'My Promise Sent Onto Myself': Futurity and the Language of Obligation in Sidney's Old Arcadia" in The Uses of the Future in Early Modern Europe (Routledge 2010), 54-72.

Awards & Honors

Awards & Honors

  • NEH Longterm Fellowship, Huntington Library (2016-17)
  • Summer Research Award, UT Austin (Summer 2016)
  • Faculty Seminar Fellowship, Texas Humanities Institute (Spring 2015)
  • NEH Summer Seminar, "Researching Early Modern Manuscripts and Printed Books," New York (Summer 2013) 
  • Solmsen Fellowship, Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2011-12)
  • Clark Library Short-Term Fellowship, Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies, UCLA (Summer 2012)
  • Junior Fellowship, British Studies, UT Austin
  • Faculty Development Program Fellowship, Center for Women's and Gender Studies, UT Austin
  • Summer Research Award, UT Austin (Summer 2010)
  • National Humanities Center Summer Institute in Literary Studies, "Shakespeare in Slow Motion" (2009)
  • Francis Bacon Foundation Fellowship, Huntington Library (Summer 2008)
  • Josephine de Kármán Foundation Fellowship (2007-08)
  • Mrs. Giles Whiting Dissertation Fellowship in the Humanities (2006-07)
  • Noah Cotsen Junior Fellowship, Princeton University (2005-06)

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