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Guide to the Joel Fineman Papers, ca. 1974-1989
BANC MSS 90/44 c  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Joel Fineman Papers,
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1974-1989
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 90/44 c
    Collector: Fineman, Joel.
    Extent: Number of containers: 2 boxes, 4 cartons Linear feet: 5.8
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Collection includes professional and personal correspondence, articles and extensive notes and research regarding Fineman's Shakespearean literary scholarship, emphasizing the principles of contemporary psychoanalysis and structuralism as tools of criticism.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Manuscripts Division. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. The literary executor of the estate of Joel Fineman is Bentley Layton, of Yale University. Requests for permission to publish are to be directed to Professor Layton and to Elliot Fineman. Consult repository for address.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Joel Fineman papers, BANC MSS 90/44 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Materials Cataloged Separately

    • Videotapes/sound recordings have been transferred to the Microforms Division of The Bancroft Library.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Joel Fineman Papers were donated to The Bancroft Library on September 26, 1989 by his brother, Elliot Fineman.


    Joel Fineman, son of Alan Finemanand Sylvia Balakoff Fineman, was born in New York City on January 14, 1947. He received his B.A. (cum laude) in English from the University of California, Berkeley in 1968 and his M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1974.
    From 1969 to 1971, Fineman was a teaching assistant at SUNY-Buffalo. He became an instructor at the University of the Negev in Beersheva, Israel for the years 1972-1973. Through a teaching fellowship, he returned to New York in 1974 as an adjunct instructor at Hunter College, City University of New York. In 1976-1977, Fineman was honored as the Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at The Center for the Humanities, Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Lastly, he returned to the University of California, Berkeley as an assistant professor in 1977; he was promoted to associate professor status in 1983.
    In addition to the honor of being named a Mellon Fellow in 1976, Joel Fineman was a Visiting Fellow at New York University's Institute for the Humanities in the summer of 1980 and won a National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship in 1981. In 1985 he was named a Fellow by the Guggenheim Foundation and in 1986 he was the recipient of the James Russell Lowell Prize, given to him by the Modern Language Association of America for his crowning achievement, Shakespeare's Perjured Eye: The Invention of Poetic Subjectivity in the Sonnets.
    Fineman supplemented his personal academic pursuits by his participation on the editorial boards of several journals, including Representations and October. He was a frequent guest lecturer at universities and scholarly institutions in both the United States and abroad.
    Joel Fineman died March 28, 1989 at the age of 42. At the time of his death, he was working on his proposed second book, Shakespeare's Will, a study of the playwright's influence on theorization of person.

    Scope and Content

    Joel Fineman's correspondents consist mainly of colleagues, either those with whom he associated during his doctoral years at the State University of New York or those who were associate professors at the University of California, Berkeley during the same period as he. Other correspondents include publishers and prospective publishers.
    Fineman's writings are centered mainly on the study of Shakespeare, with an emphasis on the principles of contemporary psychoanalysis and structuralism as tools of criticism. Other subjects that he pursued included the history and theory of criticism and the history of drama. Also, Fineman reviewed and responded to works by others that are concerned with his subjects of study, and he often gave lectures (or read shortened versions) of his works.
    The subject files are quite comprehensive and include ample information on the works that Fineman studied, both in notes and research. By starting with the material contained in these files, it would be possible to trace the path that Fineman took from a germinating idea to the finished product. Almost every work of Shakespeare is represented and there are notes on many of the theories of Freud and psychoanalysis.
    There are minimal files on Fineman's course materials; the lack of lecture notes is the most serious deficiency. Class readers and syllabi comprise the major part of this portion of the collection.
    The personal files on Joel Fineman contain details of his professional career, such as Fineman's curriculum vitae, information on his academic honors, and reviews of his book, Shakespeare's Perjured Eye: The Invention of Poetic Subjectivity in the Sonnets.