I am Professor of Shakespeare, late 16th and early 17th century English Drama, and Women’s and Gender studies at Hunter College, CUNY.  My most recent book is Women and Shakespeare’s Cuckoldry Plays:  Shifting Narratives of Marital Betrayal, Routledge, 2017.  I am also an Editor, with Helen Ostovich, of the series “Late Tudor and Stuart Drama: Gender, Performance, and Material Culture,” for Medieval Institute Publications. My research and teaching interests include, Shakespeare, Early Modern English drama, gender studies, sexuality, political history, history of women, marriage law, parrhesia, feminist ethics.



PhD, English, University of Washington, 1997

BA, MA, English, California State University, Fresno, 1987, 1991

— Acting, Theater Production, Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts, 1981-83

Other Publications


Women and Shakespeare’s Cuckoldry Plays: Shifting Narratives of Marital Betrayal, Routledge, 2017.  “Women and Gender in the Early Modern World.”

Preview the introduction, available from Taylor and Francis.  Chapter one, “Early Modern Women’s Narratives of Marital Betrayal,” is available in Routledge’s Shakespeare Studies Chapter Sampler.

Fantasies of Female Evil: The Dynamics of Gender and Power in Shakespearean Tragedy.  Newark:  U of Delaware P, 2003.  (Available on Google Play Books and Questia, a library subscription service.)


“‘Let’s Consult together’: Women’s Agency and the Gossip Network in The Merry Wives of Windsor.”  Solicited for publication in The Merry Wives of Windsor:  New Critical Essays. Eds.  Phyllis Rackin and Evelyn Gajowski.  New York:  Routledge, 2015. 38-50.

“‘Proceed in Justice’: Narratives of Marital Betrayal in The Winter’s Tale.”  Solicited for publication in Justice, Women and Power in English Renaissance Drama, Edited by Andrew J. Majeske and Emily Detmer-Goebel.  Madison and Teaneck, N.J.:  Farleigh Dickinson UP, 2009.  46-65.

“Elizabeth Cary’s Female Trinity: Breaking Custom with Mosaic Law in The Tragedy of Mariam.”   Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 3, (2008):  61-103.

“Looking for Goneril and Regan.”  Privacy, Domesticity and Women in Early Modern England, ed. Corinne Abate. Aldershot, Hampshire, UK:  Ashgate, 2003.  167-198.

“‘Blood Will Have Blood’:  Power, Performance, and Lady Macbeth’s Gender Trouble.”  Jx: A Journal in Culture and Criticism.  2.2 (1998): 179-207.

“King Lear’s ‘Immoral’ Daughters and the Politics of Kingship.”  Exemplaria:  A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies.  8.2 (1996):  375-400.

“Staging the Feminine Performance of Desire:  Masochism in The Maid’s Tragedy.”   Papers on Language and Literature.  31.3  (1995):  313-333.


Series Editor, with Helen Ostovich, “Late Tudor and Stuart Drama:  Gender, Performance, and Material Culture.” Medieval Institute Publications — MIP — The University Press at Kalamazoo.


The Selected Correspondence of Elizabeth and Anthony Bourne, under contract, Routledge.  “The Early Modern Englishwoman in Print, 1500-1750:  Contemporary Editions.”  Co-Editor with Emily Sherwood (University of Rochester).

Upcoming Talks and Conferences

RSA 2019

Panel Chair, “Gender and Embodiment on the Shakespearean Stage.” Monday, March 18, 9:00-10:30, Sheraton Centre Toronto – Provincial South

“How dost thou mean, a fat marriage?”: Queer Fat Aesthetics in The Comedy of Errors
Royce Best, Johns Hopkins University

“Amazons, Fairies, and Ship-Women: Queer Size in A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Valerie Billing, Central College

“Lavinia’s Revenge: Rape, Shame, and Disgust in Titus Andronicus”
Jennifer M. Panek, University of Ottawa


Panel Organizer, “Feminist Ethics on the Early Modern Stage.” Tuesday, March 19, 9:00-10:30 AM.  Sheraton Centre Toronto – Osgoode Ballroom West

Chaired by Helen M. Ostovitch,  McMaster University

“Isabella’s Feminist Ethics in Measure for Measure,”
Cristina León Alfar, Hunter College, CUNY

“The Feminist Ethics of Reading Pregnancy on the Early Modern Stage,”
Alicia Page Andrzejewski, The Graduate Center, CUNY

“Virtues that Matter: Ethics and Embodiment in Hamlet,”
Holly Crocker, University of South Carolina



SAA 2019

“‘Stay, dog, for thou shalt hear me’: Masculinist Revulsions and Margaret’s Feminist Ethics in Richard III” in the seminar, “Shakespearean Revulsions” lead by Claire McEachern.  Thursday, April 18, 3:30-5:30.




Cristina León Alfar

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