Raphael Falco


Raphael Falco is a Professor of English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He received his B.A. and his Masters degrees from Columbia University and his Ph.D. from New York University.

His latest book, Cultural Genealogy (Routledge), explores the popularization in the Renaissance of the myth that later cultures are the hereditary descendants of ancient cultures. The core of this myth is the widespread belief that a numinous charismatic power can be passed down unchanged, in concrete forms, from earlier eras. Professor Falco's previous book, Charisma and Myth (Bloomsbury), explored areas beyond his usual precincts of early modern literature. The book introduced a completely new element to the study of myth—the idea that myth and myth systems operate in the same way as charismatic groups.

Professor Falco’s earlier books included Charismatic Authority in Early Modern English Tragedy (Johns Hopkins University Press) and Conceived Presences: Literary Genealogy in Renaissance England (University of Massachusetts Press). His articles have appeared in a wide range of journals, such as Modern Philology, Shakespeare Studies, Criticism, Soundings, Theory, Culture, Society, Max Weber Studies, and English Literary Renaissance.

He was the 2012-2013 Lipitz Professor of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and in 2016 he was selected for a Fulbright Specialist grant. He is on the editorial board of the on-line journal APPOSITIONS, he is a member of the Central Executive Committee of the Folger Institute, and he is a peer reviewer for the American Council of Learned Societies.

Raphael Falco is also a dramatist and recently started finding venues for his plays. His one-act play, The Lights of Ossining, was awarded first prize in the First Stage One-Act Play Contest in Los Angeles (November 2014) and also received a staged reading in the Raymond J. Flores Short Play Series in New York City (June 2014). Three Tailors, a full-length play, was a selection at the Baltimore Playwrights Festival (March 2014) and was given a staged reading. Frankie’s Market (a one-act) received a staged reading at the Quotidian Theatre in Bethesda, MD (April 2012) and was published in the journal Confrontation (Spring 2015).

Selected Academic Research

Through examples ranging from Petrarch to Columbus, Maffeo Vegio to the Habsburgs, this book shows how the new techne of systematic genealogy facilitated the process of "remythicizing" the ancient authorities, utterly transforming Greek and Roman values and reforging them into the mold of contemporary needs
"An original take on the place of myth in the modern world. And very well written to boot."
–Robert A. Segal, University of Aberdeen
"In the study of charisma, there is no other book; in the theory of tragedy, there is nothing like it."
–Arthur F. Kinney, University of Massachusetts

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