Dr Hester Lees-Jeffries, St Catharine's



Biographical Information

I completed my BA and MA (Hons.) at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, before coming to Cambridge as a Commonwealth Scholar to begin my PhD in 1999. From 2003-6 I was a Research Fellow at Magdalene College, and since 2006 I have been a Fellow of St Catharine's College, where I'm one of the directors of studies in English. I became a University Lecturer in 2013 and a Senior University Lecturer in 2018. I lecture and supervise for the Shakespeare and Renaissance papers in Part I and the Material Renaissance and Early Modern Drama papers at Part II, and frequently teach the textual bibliography / history of the book component of the Renaissance MPhil. I coordinate the programme of exhibitions for the Centre for Material Texts. 

Research Interests

I work on Shakespeare and early modern literature in general, with a particular interest in performance and visual and material culture, and in interdisciplinary approaches. My current monograph project has the working title Textile Shakespeare: so far it's about sleeves and silk, bloodstains and linen, gloves, folds, tailors, sewing scenes, and cloaks, cloaking, and black cloth. I'm also writing the new introduction for the New Cambridge Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet, and I've prepared the commentary for The Example by the Caroline playwright James Shirley, for the Complete Works of James Shirley (OUP). In 2018 I wrote about Romeo and Juliet every day, starting at the beginning; follow @starcrossed2018 for (occasional) new posts, or see the whole thing http://www.english.cam.ac.uk/research/starcrossed/ I prepared The Shakespearean Forest, by the late Anne Barton, for publication by Cambridge University Press (2017).

Areas of Graduate Supervision

Shakespeare and early modern literature, especially drama; visual and material culture, especially gardens and textiles

Selected Publications


Shakespeare and Memory (Oxford Shakespeare Topics) (Oxford, 2013)

England’s Helicon: fountains in early modern literature and culture (Oxford, 2007)

Journal Articles and Chapters in Books

'Nostalgia', in Shakespeare and Emotion, ed. Katharine Craik (Cambridge, 2020) (in progress)

'"Thou hast made this bed thine altar": John Donne's sheets', in Domestic Devotions in the Early Modern World, ed. Marco Faini, Alessia Meneghin (Leiden, 2018), 269-287

'Mantled in blood: Shakespeare's bloodstains and early modern textile culture', in Blood Matters, ed. Bonnie Lander Johnson and Eleanor Decamp (Philadelphia, 2018), 61-78 

‘“My mother’s maids, when they did sew and spin”: staging sewing, telling tales’, Shakespeare Survey 70 (2017), 171-9

'Tragedy and the Satiric Voice', in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean Tragedy, ed. Michael Neill and David Schalkwyk (Oxford, 2016)

'What's Hecuba to him? Absence, silence, and lament in Troilus and Cressida and Troilus and Criseyde', in Love, history and emotion in Chaucer and Shakespeare, ed. Elisabeth Kempf, Russell West-Pavlov, Andrew James Johnston (Manchester, 2016)

'Greater Shakespeare: working, playing, and making with Shakespeare', Shakespeare Survey 66 (2013), 188-97

‘No country for old men? Ciceronian friendship and old age in Shakespeare’s second tetralogy and beyond’, Review of English Studies 62 (2011), 716-37

‘Pictures, places and spaces: Sidney, Wroth, Wilton House and the Songe de Poliphile’, in Renaissance Paratexts, ed. Helen Smith, Louise Wilson (Cambridge, 2010), 185-203

‘Lear and Shakespeare as Godfathers’, Notes and Queries 57 (September 2010)

‘Literary gardens from More to Marvell’ in A New Companion to English Renaissance Literature and Culture, ed. Michael Hattaway (Oxford, 2010), 379-95

‘A learned dialogue of BERNARD PALESSY, Concerning waters and fountaines, both naturall and artificiall: Translated Owt of French into English, by Thomas Watson’, Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes 30 (2010), 1-56

‘Thomas Lodge’s translation of Seneca: a possible Shakespearean echo’, Notes and Queries 56 (March 2009), 81-4

‘A subtle point: sleeves, tents, and "Ariachne’s broken woof" (again)’, Shakespeare Survey 62 (2009), 92-103

‘Location as metaphor: Veritas temporis filia (1559) and its afterlife’. In The Progresses, Pageants and Entertainments of Queen Elizabeth I, ed. Jayne Archer, Elizabeth Goldring, Sarah Knight (Oxford, 2007), 65-85

‘Sacred and profane love: four fountains in the Hypnerotomachia (1499) and the Roman de la Rose’. Word & Image 22.1 (2006), 1-13

‘Sidney’s Zelmane and the Songe de Poliphile’. Sidney Journal 21 (2003), 67-75

‘From the fountain to the well: Redcrosse learns to read’. Studies in Philology 100 (2003), 135-176

‘A new allusion by Jonson to Spenser and Essex?’ Notes and Queries 50 (March 2003), 63-65