Eli Cumings, St John's

Degree: PhD
Course: MedRen - Ren
Supervisor: Dr Edward Wilson-Lee
Dissertation Title:

Monstrous Subjects: Reading Bodily Difference in Early Modern England


Biographical Information

I completed my BA in English Literature at the University of Bristol (2016). I completed my MPhil at Cambridge in 2018 and returned in 2019 to begin my PhD. Before and in between my studies, I held a diverse (some would say chaotic) range of roles in e.g. publishing, education, hospitality and film. 

Research Interests

My work examines the representation of bodily difference in the textual culture of Reformation England. I'm particularly interested in how classical discourses concerning monstrous births and the monstrous 'races' were adapted by continental humanists with an appetite for reform and, subsequently, English writers and printers. Existing research has considered the admonitory tradition: monstrous birth broadsides and prodigy books in particular. Future work will return to more comfortably literary materials, including Spenser's Faerie Queene.

The history of reading; the Reformation/reformations; sensory perception and impairment; interiority and subject-formation; and the construction of bodily difference (esp. discourses of race and disability). Narrative poetry from the late medieval period and the 16th century with a particular interest in Spenser.

Areas of Supervision

I teach on the Practical Criticm and English Literature 1500-1700 papers