Photo of Seth Herbst

Dr. Seth Herbst

Assistant Professor

seth.herbst@westpoint.edu

Biography


Assistant Professor, Department of English & Philosophy (2015 – Present) Course Director, EN 151 (2017-19) Course Director, EN 152 (2018-19) Course Director, EN 101 (2019-present)

Ongoing Research Projects


I’m currently at work on several book-length projects, all connected by my interest in the interaction between literature and music. 

My primary book project, tentatively titled Milton and Music, explores both the powerful influence music exerted on the poet John Milton as well as later musical adaptations of Milton’s work. Combining close reading with interdisciplinary analysis, Milton and Music proposes a new way of appreciating Milton’s visionary poetics and its impact on later art.

Another book project, Shakespeare Without Words: Romeo and Juliet from Play to Ballet, inquires how Sergei Prokofiev’s iconic ballet can so successfully translate Shakespeare’s play into music and dance when the defining dimension of Shakespeare’s art—his language—is wholly absent from the drama.

Finally, I’m in the early stages of editing a new Cambridge Companion to Literature and Music.

In smaller-scale projects, I’m at work on academic articles concerning the strange, experimental meter of Milton’s late drama, Samson Agonistes; how Milton imagined political tyranny in terms of the sounds it produced; and Shakespeare’s sense of the phenomenological distinction between drama on the stage and drama on the page. I’ve also been invited to write a chapter on Milton and music for a new book on Milton and adaptation from Oxford University Press.

Publications & Presentations


REFEREED ARTICLES AND CHAPTERS IN PRINT

“Milton and Music,” Essays in Criticism 2016 66 (1): 96-116.

“Sound as Matter: Milton, Music, and Monism.” In Milton, Materialism, and Embodiment: One First Matter All, edited by Kevin J. Donovan and Thomas Festa, Duquesne UP, 2017, pp. 37-55.

PRESENTATIONS

public lectures

“Loving Words for ‘Working Days’ in Much Ado About Nothing,” Friday Night Prologue Series: A Talk with Seth Herbst, pre-performance lecture, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Garrison, NY, July 26, 2019. Talk also given to Harvard-Radcliffe Club of the Hudson Valley, June 9, 2019.

 

Richard II and the Invention of Political Speech,” Friday Night Prologue Series: A Talk with Seth Herbst, pre-performance lecture, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Garrison, NY, Aug. 3, 2018.

 

“Macbeth’s Nihilism,” Friday Night Prologue Series: A Talk with Seth Herbst, pre-performance lecture, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Garrison, NY, July 22, 2016.

conference talks

Samson Agonistes as Pastoral Elegy,” International Milton Symposium 12, University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France, June 2019.

 

“Milton’s Unmusical Grand Style,” panel in memory of Barbara Lewalski at the Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, Toronto, Canada, March 2019.

 

“Beneath the Seventh Veil: Panaesthetic Desire in Strauss’s Salome,” panel in memory of Daniel Albright at the Modernist Studies Association Conference 2018, Columbus, OH, Nov. 2018.

 

Roundtable participant, “Teaching Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Disability in Early Modernist Classrooms, Part II,” Sixteenth Century Society & Conference, Albuquerque, NM, Nov. 2018.  

 

“Milton and the Sounds of Tyranny,” Milton Society of America panel at the Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, March 2018.

 

“Penderecki’s Paradise Lost and the Music of Fallenness,” Conference on John Milton, Birmingham, AL, October 2017.

 

“Milton, Handel, and the Problem of Cacophony,” Milton Society of America panel at the Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, March-April 2017.

 

“Soundscape and Social Order in Paradise Lost,” Eleventh International Milton Symposium, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK, July 20-24, 2015.

 

“Milton, Music, and Monism,” Conference on John Milton, Murfreesboro, TN, October 2013.

 

“Milton’s Broken Line: Infinite Meter in Samson Agonistes,” American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, April 2013.

 

“Milton and Music,” Tenth International Milton Symposium, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan, August 2012.

 

Opera Without Words: Linguistic Music in Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare at the Opera, Panel at NeMLA Annual Meeting, Rochester, NY, March 2012.

 

“A Formalist Case for Interdisciplinarity: Shakespeare and Prokofiev,” Unruly Times: Graduate Advising Committee Symposium, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, March 2011.

 

“Milton and Music: Aesthetics, Morality, and Sound in Milton’s Grand Poetic Vision,” Harvard Renaissance Colloquium, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, November 2010.