Scott Shershow

Scott Shershow's picture

Position Title
Professor of English



BA, Yale University, 1975
BA, New College, Oxford University, 1977
MA, PhD, Harvard University, 1983

Scott Cutler Shershow's newest book is The Love of Ruins: Letters on Lovecraft, co-authored with Scott Michaelsen He is also the author of Bread from Bloomsbury's Object Lessons series (2016), Deconstructing Dignity: A Critique of the Right-to-Die Debate (2014), and of other essays and books on a variety of other topics in critical theory, popular culture, and early-modern theater.


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The Love of Ruins ranks among the small handful of the very best Lovecraftian analyses. Erudite, sophisticated, and insightful, this volume is a pure joy to read. A must have for anyone interested in Lovecraft or the field of dark fantasy.”

— Gary Hoppenstand, author of Clive Barker's Short Stories: Imagination as Metaphor in the Books of Blood and Other Works




"Shershow reveals how deeply political and philosophical issues concerning hospitality (aka the breaking of bread) are fueled and interrupted by bread itself.  All other bread books are now toast." 

— Timothy Morton, Rice University



Deconstructing Dignity:

A Critique of the Right-to-Die Debate

The question of a “right to die” — or what is sometimes called euthanasia or assisted-suicide — remains today the subject of vexed legal, political, ethical and philosophic debates.  Deconstructing Dignity brings the thought of deconstruction to bear on this debate to uncover the knot of unexamined assumptions at its core.  

"Scott Shershow is engaged here in practical deconstruction of the highest order and most compelling kind. ... this book does not just shift the debate; it turns it to face an utterly new, unknown direction, the only direction from which a future can come."

— Peggy Kamuf, co-editor of The Seminars of Jacques Derrida 

"Thinking and Rethinking the Right to Die":

An essay on the University of Chicago Press blog



The Work and the Gift considers how, in a wide range of western culture and thought, the ideas of working and giving remain locked in a fatal dilemma, each one representing the other's aspiration and absolute limit. Ranging from Marx and Derrida to Friedrich Hayek and Alvin Toffler, this book explores, among other things: the predictions of social thinkers on both the Right and the Left about a coming crisis of work; the debates among anthropologists and historians about an archaic gift-economy that preceded capitalism and might re-emerge in its wake; contemporary political battles over charity and social welfare; and attempts by modern and postmodern artists to destabilize the Work of art. The book also finally envisions, beyond these self-defeating oppositions of work and gift, a community of unworking, grounded neither in ideals of production and progress, nor even in an ethic of liberal generosity, but simply in our fundamental being-in-common.

"An acute and multifaceted approach to a burning debate where is put into play our present civilization and its future."

— Jean-Joseph Goux, Rice University 


 Other Publications

  • “Reading Jokes.”  CR: The New Centennial Review 21:2 (Fall 2021).
  • Agriculture as “Writing:” Some Thoughts on the Contemporary Relevance of Derrida’s Of GrammatologyCR: The New Centennial Review 17.1, Spring 2017.
  • "The Sacred Part: Deconstruction and the Right to Die."  CR: The New Centennial Review.  12:3 (2012): 153-186.
  • "The Time of Sacrifice: Derrida Contra Agamben." ReconstructionStudies in Contemporary Culture 11:2 (2011). 
  • "A Triangle Open on its Fourth Side:" On the Strategy, Protocol, and 'Justice' of Deconstruction."  Derrida Today 4: 1 (2011): 59-85 
  • "Of Sinking: Marxism and the 'General' Economy."  Critical Inquiry 27:3 (Spring 2001): 486-492.
  • "Myth and Nihilism in the Discourse of Globalization." CR: The New Centennial Review, 1.1 (2001): 257-282.
  •  Marxist Shakespeares, ed. Jean E. Howard and Scott Cutler Shershow. London: Routledge, 2000.
  •  Puppets and "Popular" Culture. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995.
  • “New Life: Cultural Studies and the Problem of the ‘Popular.’”  Textual Practice 12.1 (1998): 23-47.
  • “Idols of the Marketplace: Rethinking the Economic Determination of Renaissance Drama.”  Renaissance Drama n.s. 26 (1995; published 1997): 1-27.    
  • "The Mouth of "em All:" Jonson, Authorship, and the Performing Object."  Theatre Journal 46:2 2 (May, 1994) 187-212.
  • "Higlety Piglety, Right or Wrong: Providence and Poetic Justice in Rymer, Dryden and Tate."  Restoration 15:1 (1991): 17-26.  
  • Laughing Matters: The Paradox of Comedy.  Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1985.

In collaboration with Scott Michaelsen:



Education & Interests:

  1. Ph.D.(Harvard); Critical theory, popular culture, history and theory of drama