Born near Cincinnati, Ohio, Dr. Cynthia Lewis attended public high school, then Ohio State University, from which she graduated summa cum laude, with honors, in 1974. She then moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to pursue her Ph.D. in English and American Literature and Language. There, she studied several of her favorite early modern dramatists, including Middleton, Webster, and, of course, Shakespeare. She was a teaching fellow at Harvard University and, in her last year of graduate studies, the recipient of a Whiting Fellowship. In 1980, Dr. Lewis accepted her current teaching post at Davidson College, where she now holds the Charles A. Dana Professorship of English.
Dr. Lewis has written numerous scholarly articles on Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as well as a book, Particular Saints: Shakespeare’s Four Antonios, Their Contexts, and Their Plays. In the early ’80s, she developed a course, “Performing Shakespeare,” in which a small group of students mount a full-scale production of a Shakespeare play from the ground up. Referring to the course as “The Outward Bound of the English Department,” she publishes regularly about teaching Shakespeare through performances of all kinds. The most recent incarnation of “Performing Shakespeare” has been “Radio Shakespeare,” taught in the spring of 2014, in which a small group of students performed The Merchant of Venice on Davidson College’s classical music station, WDAV.
Also in the early ’80s, Dr. Lewis developed and taught a course on advanced composition, which in subsequent years evolved into “Creative Nonfiction.” Her sabbatical in 2000 afforded Lewis the opportunity to begin writing in the genre she’d already been teaching for many years. The question “Whatever happened to the search for Eric Rudolph?” led her to investigate the mystery of the then at-large, alleged serial bomber in the North Carolina mountains, where the killer had been rumored to be. Her efforts were rewarded with her first published nonfiction article in 2001 in Southern Cultures. Since her initial journalistic venture into nonfiction, Lewis has published many articles on a wide variety of topics, from female bodybuilders to the Kim Thomas murder investigation in Charlotte, NC, to Southern debutante culture. She has also published a good deal of personal narrative, including a piece in Charlotte Magazine about moonlighting, during another sabbatical, as a bartender. Several years ago, she and three friends wrote and published Bikini Is a State of Mind for fun. It’s a playful, tongue-in-cheek self-help book based on her real friends, known as The Bikini Team (pictured above).
Dr. Lewis has just published “The game’s afoot”: A Sports Lover’s Introduction to Shakespeare. She currently has two books in progress. You can read about them under the “Writing” tab on this web site and the “Sexual Harassment Project Blog” tab.