Research Group Members

Dr Gavin Alexander, Faculty of English: English literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Particular research interests include Philip Sidney and related writers; poetry and music in the Renaissance; lyric; rhetoric; poetics; the history of literary criticism; textual studies; classical receptions; versification; literature and the visual arts; literature and material culture. Published work includes a book on the literary response to Sidney, a Penguin Classics edition of Renaissance literary criticism, and an edition of an important, late Elizabethan treatise on poetics, which was discovered in manuscript only recently.

Dr Joseph Ashmore, Gonville and Caius: I am interested in scriptural hermeneutics and the relationship between faith and epistemology in early modern religious writing, and also in devotional forms of reading in the period. Particular authors include Andrewes, Browne, Crashaw, Vaughan and Milton.

Dr Christopher Burlinson, Jesus: I work on seventeenth-century poetry. At the moment I’m writing an edition of Richard Corbett’s poems, and am interested more broadly in the transmission and reception of poetry in Oxford University in the early seventeenth century, as well as in the challenges of critical editing. I’m also interested in the links between theology and literature (and indirectly, in Geoffrey Hill), and have a couple of future projects in mind: one on the history of the Cavalier, and one on different kinds (and figures) of immateriality.

Dr Ian Burrows, Faculty of English: My current research interests centre on non-verbal aspects of performance in early modern plays and the ways in which they are represented in print. The monograph I am working on will examine how punctuation marks in early modern printed plays come to inform a reader’s understanding and recognition of individualised personality. I am also editing texts for The Complete Works of James Shirley and The Works of Thomas Kyd. I hope to explore these editorial and critical interests further by thinking about their pedagogical applications and developing classroom tools with editors, critics, and performance practitioners.

Dr Philip Connell, Selwyn: My interest in this period is focused largely on the Interregnum and Restoration–more specifically, the poetry of Marvell, Milton, and Dryden in its relation to political and church history.

Dr Alex da Costa, Faculty of English: My research frequently focuses on incunabula and early printed books meant for an English readership. I’m particularly interested in cheaper books and books which went through multiple editions and what they suggest about less learned and more “popular” reading practices and tastes. I have published articles on Mirk’s Festial, and pilgrimage souvenirs and guides to English shrines. I also have a wider interest in religious literature in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, especially the ways in which these texts speak to political and pastoral concerns too. My current work focuses on controversial tracts and material, and the ways in which printers and writers might try to negotiate restrictions on their publication and circulation.

Dr Tania Demetriou, Sidney Sussex: She works on a range of topics relating to classical reception in the early modern period, with an emphasis on the reception of Greek literature in England and English drama in particular, and on the interaction between the practices of reading, scholarship, translation, and literary imitation in this period.

Frances Eastwood, Clare Hall: I am exploring the London apprentice disturbances of the 1590s, and their interface with a range of texts, incuding drama, pamphlets, ballads, and sermons. I am interested in the triangulation of power between city, court and apprentices, and the impact of its popular depiction.

Dr Katrin Ettenhuber, Pembroke: I work mainly on the relationship between religious and literary writing in the early modern period, though I also have interests in rhetoric and poetics. I have just finished an edition of Donne’s Lincoln’s Inn sermons; my current book project examines the impact of neo-scholastic thought on literary form in the seventeenth century.

Dr Anna-Maria Hartmann, Trinity: My research focuses on the reception of mythology in sixteenth and seventeenth-century literature (mainly, but not exclusively Graeco-Roman mythology) and the genre of mythography. This was also the topic of my first book, English Mythography in Its European Context, 1500-1650. I have further interests in Francis Bacon; classical influences on English Literature 1500-1700; Shakespeare; translation; theory of literary reception; questions of genre.

Dr David Hillman, King’s: I’m primarily a Shakespearean, but also teach other Renaissance drama; I have a longstanding interest in the history and theory of the body and in psychoanalytic approaches to culture; and I have particular enthusiasms vis-à-vis various philosophical approaches to literature. I’m currently working on a book on Greetings and Partings in Shakespeare.

Professor John Kerrigan, St John’s: Shakespeare and early modern drama; seventeenth-century literature, especially from an archipelagic set of angles; anything in verse.

Dr Bonnie Lander Johnson, Newnham: My research covers Shakespeare; Ford; Webster; Milton; gender; genre; early modern medical, theological, and political history; gardens; domestic arts; birth and midwifery; court masques; Tudor and Stuart Petrarchism; material cultures; and English performance of all kinds. My current writing project covers Shakespeare, botany, gender, and the intersection between the theatre, early modern health ‘industries’, and the aestheticised consumption of medical products and practices.

Dr Hester Lees-Jeffries, St Catharine’s: I have an ongoing project with the working title ‘Textile Shakespeare’: I’m interested in textile objects, broadly interpreted, their processes of manufacture and use, and what might be called ‘the early modern textile imaginary’ as a context for the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Most recently I’ve been working on bloodstains and how the body and its interior might be imagined (and staged) in textile terms; I’m about to turn to tailors and ideas about dependence, gender, and ‘self-fashioning’.

Professor Raphael Lyne, Murray Edwards: I’m involved in a number of projects, often taking ‘cognitive’ approaches to renaissance literature. My two most recent major publications were a book on memory and intertextuality (2016) and an edition (with Cathy Shrank) of Shakespeare’s poems (2017). Since then I’ve been writing essays on a range of topics, focusing on Shakespeare and early modern drama, and increasingly on poetry (Herbert and Herrick, amongst others). From 2013 to 2019 I wrote a blog, ‘What Literature Knows About Your Brain’, which, I hope, is still worth browsing.

Dr Oliver Morgan, Faculty of English: My research focuses on conversation, both in the sense of that word familiar today and in the broader sense current during the Renaissance. More specifically, it focuses on the fictional representation of conversation in works of literature, and on works of literature that are—in some quite specific ways—in conversation with each other. My recent book, Turn-taking in Shakespeare, addresses the first of these two concerns. My current research project, The Poetry of Reply in Early Modern England, will address the second.

Dr Amy Morris, English Faculty: My interests are in transatlantic and early American writing. I have written a book on early American puritan poetry, an article comparing the Bay Psalm Book with Francis Rous’s Psalter, and, more recently a piece on literary responses to the discovery of giant teeth in the Hudson Valley. One of my favourite authors is the minister-poet Edward Taylor, whose commonplace books I am currently studying. I plan to write about his engagement with natural history and about the relationship between note-taking and writing poems. My research interests extend from the later part of the early modern period to twentieth-century American literature. They tend to cluster around ideas of poetry, puritanism, the natural environment, wonder and displacement.

Dr Subha Mukherji, Downing: Renaissance literature; Shakespeare; law and literature, especially drama; the poetics of space; literary form and epistemology. Current book-project focuses on the uses of doubt, and ways of knowing, in early modern literature. Principle Investigator on the 5-year interdisciplinary project, Crossroads of Knowledge in Early Modern England: the Place of Literature, co-hosted by CRASSH and the Faculty of English:

Dr Josie O’Donoghue, Clare: I am broadly interested in connections between the disciplines of linguistics and literary criticism, with a particular emphasis on cognitive linguistics and pragmatics. My PhD thesis, which I am currently in the process of revising for publication, explored ways in which relevance theory (a theory of communication currently influential in the field of pragmatics) might shed light on the interpretation of metaphor in Shakespeare’s plays, the poetry and letters of Emily Dickinson, and Seamus Heaney’s poetry and critical writings.

Dr Jane Partner, Trinity Hall: I am interested in relations between literature and visual art during the early modern period (and beyond); illustration and material texts; sixteenth- and seventeenth-century poetry; Shakespeare and contemporary dramatists; academic drama and court masques; anatomy, the body, clothing and jewellery; female authorship. My current research includes a book called Visualizing Shakespeare about the way that paintings, sculpture and diagrams have shaped the way we think about Shakespeare’s writing. I am also researching the early modern semantics of ink; connections between bodies and texts; the Muses, inspiration and literary authorship.

Dr Sophie Read Christ’s: I work primarily on seventeenth-century poetry, with a few excursions both backwards and forwards. I’m interested in the intersection of literature and religion (theology, liturgy, the Bible), and in rhetorical constructs: my first book was Eucharist and the Poetic Imagination (Cambridge, 2013). My current research is on perfume and the sense of smell in the early modern world. Authors on whom I’ve written include Southwell, Shakespeare, Andrewes, Donne, Herrick, Crashaw, Vaughan, Milton and Swift.

Dr Lotte Reinbold, Selwyn: I’m interested in dream poetry, from the late Middle Ages to the late Early Modern period. I’m also interested in Chaucerian afterlives and reception, medievalism, and the children’s fantasy writer Diana Wynne Jones.

Dr Jason Scott-Warren, Gonville and Caius: My work brings together literary studies, history of the book, and cultural history. I’m currently completing a microhistory based on the life-records of Shakespeare’s first documented reader, and an essay collection on the relations between reading and eating. I also run the Cambridge Centre for Material Texts, an interdisciplinary hub that explores the embodied forms of texts of every conceivable kind.

Dr Andrew Taylor, Churchill: I work primarily on literary and scholarly relations in the sixteenth century and the transmission of humanism. My particular interest in translation, which started with work on poetry and the Bible, is currently sustained by the editing of English translations of Ovid’s Heroides and Tristia and the interpretation of John Cheke’s Latin translations of Greek texts, including some Byzantine works. My neo-Latin interests, particularly in the epigram, are focused on Anglo-French poetic relations in the early English Renaissance.

Dr Christopher Tilmouth, Faculty of English: My interests centre on seventeenth and eighteenth-century literature, particularly with respect to relations between literature and philosophy (i.e., epistemology, ethics & political thought) and between literature and intellectual history more widely. Other, more specific early modern interests include: early modern physiology and its place in literature; Shakespeare; Montaigne and English Literature; John Donne; Burton’s /Anatomy of Melancholy/; Thomas Hobbes; Descartes and English literature; Anglo-French libertinism; John Milton; the Earl of Rochester; and Restoration literature more generally.

Dr Ted Tregear, Gonville and Caius: I specialise in English literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, from Thomas Wyatt to John Milton. My doctoral thesis was on Shakespeare, and set out to explore how his poems and plays engaged with the culture of commonplacing in which they appeared. I am tentatively starting work on a new project on artistic labour, looking at how artists from Michelangelo to Milton thought of the work they did, and how that work is remembered or forgotten in their artworks. Other topics of research include early modern poetics and literary criticism, classical reception, and political theory.

Dr Edward Wilson-Lee, Sidney Sussex: My research looks broadly at literature and the history of the book in the early modern period, and I am currently working on the history of Shakespeare reading/performance/translation in East Africa, as well as on the ways in which collections were organized in the early ages of print. The latter interest is taking shape through a project on the life and library of Hernando Colón (son of the explorer Columbus) about which more can be seen here.

Georgina Wilson, Fitzwilliam: I work on the intersection of literary and material texts in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. My current project is on paper: its presence both in the book trade and in the early modern imagination. More broadly I’m interested in questions of literary and material form, textual depths and surfaces, and the history of the book.

Dr Alex Wong, St. John’s: English literature, c. 1540-1700, especially poetry; also Renaissance Humanist culture and the ‘Classical Tradition’ generally, and the relationship between English and Continental (particularly Neo-Latin) verse. My doctoral work focussed on the Neo-Latin tradition of kissing poems (‘basia’), and the influence of this sub-genre on poets in the British Isles. Metaphysical, ‘Cavalier’ and Restoration lyric are special interests, as is verse associated with ‘Laudian’ religion (e.g. Richard Crashaw, Joseph Beaumont). My prime interests are in poetic style and form across historical boundaries, including matters of prosody and genre, and my approach tends to emphasise literary history (i.e. the history of literature, rather than history through literature). Much of my research is based on the literature of the nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries.

Dr Andrew Zurcher, Queens’: My research to date has focused on the shared language, concepts, and practices of early modern English legal and literary writers, with particular focus on the works of Edmund Spenser and William Shakespeare. I also have form in early modern manuscript studies, and especially the study of early modern letters. I am currently editing the works of Edmund Spenser, along with the correspondence of Sir Thomas Browne, for Oxford University Press, and am completing a book on the figure of hypallage and hypallactic objects in early modern literature.

PhD Students

Eli Cumings, St John’s: 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.

Jean David Eynard, Pembroke: My PhD project currently investigates the reception of humanist ideas of discordant poetics in seventeenth-century England, with special focus on the work of Spenser, Burton, Marvell, Cowley and Milton. I argue that these authors were interested in various forms of musical and pictorial dissonance, which influenced their literary practices, and which pushed them to think about the political implications of employing more or less harmonious aesthetic forms. Other interests include economic criticism, antiquarianism, and material texts.

Rebekah King, Hughes Hall: My PhD will examine the history of the Solomon myth and its influence on representations of magicians on the early modern stage. I am interested in the history of hidden or forbidden knowledge, and the overlap between what we might call ‘magic’ and ‘science’ respectively. The ways in which these debates shape and are shaped by theatrical magic will form, not only a crucial feature of my academic writing, but of practical public-facing workshops and interventions. I am interested in using my experience as a theatre-maker to inform my analysis of early modern plays, keeping in mind the logistics of the playhouse, and the limitations that necessitated imaginative means of depicting the supernatural on stage.

Tom Mortimer, Trinity: I am interested in the intersection between science, medicine and literature in the early modern period. My PhD explores different ways in which ‘chance’ was instrumentalised in renaissance England: in literature, law, and natural philosophy. At the moment, this research covers the work of Francis Bacon, Shakespeare, and the English epigram.

Liz Stevenson, Darwin: My work involves the study of linguistic authority and the construction of gender through language in Renaissance stage literature with an emphasis on digital analysis. I am currently using R to map and mine textual information from dramatic texts that can help us understand the language underpinning gender and gendered authority in new ways. I am especially interested in the interplay between digital forms of reading and traditional, human-read perceptions of plays as competing forces in how scholars understand literature. My work currently focuses primarily on Shakespeare and Marlowe, as well as the work of Spenser and Ariosto for comparative purposes.