Research Group Members

Dr Gavin Alexander, Christ’s: My interests centre on Sidney and related writers; Renaissance rhetoric, poetics, and literary criticism; relations between literature and music; textual studies; and lyric poetry. I’m currently developing a research project on Renaissance poetics, writing a book on lyric, and starting to think about a project on how Renaissance literature thinks about and with musical instruments and other musical technologies.

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, English Faculty: 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 Hero Chalmers, Fitzwilliam: I have a special interest in seventeenth-century writing by women. I am currently preparing a piece on the politics of the romance genre in the work of Cavendish, Hutchinson and Pulter. My ongoing research centres on these writers, alongside Bradstreet and Philips, and it aims to help refine our models of the relationship between poetics and political allegiance in the 1640s, 16450s and 1660s.

Dr Charis Charalampous, St Edmunds: I focus primarily on questions about the body and its relation to the mind, emotions, the soul and cognition in literature, philosophy and science. More specifically, I examine a neglected feature of intellectual history and literature in the early modern period: the ways in which the body was theorized and represented as an intelligent cognitive agent, with desires, appetites and understanding independent of the mind. Too many readers have been content to assume simplistically that mind and body were conjoined until Descartes, and then suddenly they were separated. But this is not how ideas are typically propagated, particularly ideas as fundamental and visceral as mind-body relations. My central aim is to rethink the origin of dualism commonly associated with Descartes; uncover hitherto unknown lines of reception regarding a form of dualism whereby the body was itself imagined to be a thinking and feeling entity, one that was not merely associated with abjection, moral blemish and mortality, but with moral, spiritual and artistic gain; explore the importance of this intellectual history for readers’ responses to the period’s literary writing; and interrogate related ideological, formal and rhetorical aspects of literary art.

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.

Professor Helen Cooper, Magdalene: My interests cover both medieval and early modern literature, and in particular the afterlife of Middle English in print, reading, rewriting, and stagecraft. I have worked primarily on secular literature, including the post-Classical pastoral tradition, Chaucer, romance, and most recently Shakespeare’s debts to the Middle Ages. My next big project will be on the afterlife of Chaucer.

Dr Joanna Craigwood, Sidney Sussex: I work on the relationship between early modern literary and diplomatic forms of representation, with a particular focus on the writings of Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare and Donne, as well as early modern diplomatic treatises and related historical documents. I am currently working on a book on the subject and you can read some of my (open access) work on the subject here. I am also interested in diplomatic agency in the international circulation of books, manuscripts and literary news in early modern Europe. Over the last two years I have been acting as co-investigator on an AHRC-funded international research network called Textual Ambassadors: Cultures of Diplomacy and Literary Writing in the Early Modern World and am currently editing two collections of essays related to the project.

Dr Alex da Costa, Newnham: I’m working on a book on sixteenth century evangelical texts and how readers experienced the early Reformation through them. I’m particularly interested at the moment in the rhetorical ways paratextual features like indexes, notes and even errata notices were used. I’m also writing two bibliographical articles: one will be on a printer, Thomas Godfray, who seems to have had a subversive streak; the other will be on print correction in England.

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 Nick Hardy, Trinity: My work aims to reorient the attention of scholars of the history of literary criticism, rhetoric and poetics towards the crucial but under-studied relationship between English and continental humanism during the long seventeenth century. I am especially interested in humanists who regarded themselves as ‘critics’ and ‘philologists,’ and the archives, academic institutions, confessional identities and cultural forms associated with their work. This has generated publications on the King James Bible, as well as figures such as John Selden, Isaac Casaubon and Paolo Sarpi.

Dr Paul Hartle, St Catharine’s: Having just finished my magnum opus, the Clarendon edition of the poetry of Charles Cotton (1630-1687), which should see the light of day next year, I’ve begun work on cultural interconnections between Japan and Britain in the Early Modern period, the first fruits being a conference paper (which will appear in the Proceedings) on the English Factory in Hirado (1613-1623). I maintain a strong interest in the Classics in 16/17C Britain, my most recent article (‘Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History’, 2014) being on versions of Lucian’s ‘Dialogues’.

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.

Dr Rachel E. Holmes, CRASSH: I am a Post-doctoral Research Associate on the ERC-funded project Crossroads of Knowledge in Early Modern England: The Place of Literature. I work transnationally on early modern European law and literature, with a particular focus on marriage, contractual faith, and the difficult status of proof in sexual matters. My post-doctoral research explores the keen social interest in early modern Europe in the high stakes of defining and distinguishing rape from other kinds of sexual contracts. I also sit on the Steering Committee of the University of St Andrews Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research and its Centre for Mediaeval and Early Modern Law and Literature.

Dr Bonnie Lander Johnson, Selwyn: 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.

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 Micha Lazarus, Trinity: I work on the relationship between poetic theory and literary experiment in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The book I’m writing on the reception of Aristotle’s Poetics in sixteenth-century England has led me to Renaissance education and the trivium, booklists and bibliography, Greek learning and lexicography, and biblical and Shakespearean tragedy; it’s about how the theoretical debates of the period work through its poetry, and how they change in the process. After that I want to start thinking about ideas of ‘voice’ in Renaissance poetry: voice as style, as sound, as rhetorical device, as physiology, and as one of the formative myths of a poetic career. I also have a sideline in fabulous creatures and am always interested in pictures of centaurs.

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’.

Dr Raphael Lyne, Murray-Edwards: I’m involved in a number of projects taking ‘cognitive’ approaches (that is, I am interested in how cognitive science and literary criticism can inform one another) to renaissance literature. These include a book on memory and intertextuality (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press), and several essays (on distributed cognition and The Alchemist, social cognition in The Knight of the Burning Pestle, and kinesic intelligence in Shakespeare). I am also nearly finished editing Shakespeare’s Poems for the Annotated English Poems series, jointly with Cathy Shrank. I post regularly on research-related matters on my blog, ‘What Literature Knows About Your Brain’.

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 Joe Moshenska, Trinity: My first book, Feeling Pleasures, investigated the significance of the sense of touch in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: in Spenser, Milton, and Lancelot Andrewes, and in relation to theological debates, the visual arts, nascent scientific experiment, and tickling. I have just finished a book, titled A Stain in the Blood, on the 1628 Mediterranean voyage undertaken by the polymathic Sir Kenelm Digby, and I continue to gather and annotate Digby’s letters for an edition of his collected correspondence. My next monograph, Iconoclasm as Child’s Play, will start with the fact that during the Reformation, formerly holy things were sometimes given to children as toys rather than being burned or broken, and use these occurrences to consider the tangled relationship between piety, violence, play, and aesthetic experience.

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 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 Lucy Razzall, Emmanuel: My research looks at the intersections between literature and material culture in the early modern period. My first book is about the box – one of the most ordinary and yet most evocative objects we encounter – in early modern writing. I’m especially interested in ideas about materiality, material texts, and textiles.

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 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 Tim Stuart-Buttle, CRASSH: I work on the interrelationship between epistemology, moral philosophy and religious apologetic in the early modern period. I have a particular interest in the tradition of Ciceronian academic scepticism: Visions of Humanity: Ciceronian Scepticism from Locke to Hume will be published by Oxford University Press next year. I have written articles on Locke, Shaftesbury and Gibbon. As a Research Associate on Crossroads of Knowledge, I’m at work on a monograph on the development of English moral theology and political philosophy from Hooker to Locke, with a particular interest in the conceptual genealogy of adiaphora (‘things indifferent’).

Dr Elizabeth L. Swann, CRASSH: Lizzie’s research interests are focused on early modern sensory history, affect, and epistemology. She has two current monograph projects. The first explores the relationship between the physical sense of taste, and taste as a term for different forms of knowledge-production. The second investigates the physical and affective dimensions of processes of knowing.

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, Peterhouse: 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 Edward Wilson-Lee, Sidney Sussex: I work on medieval and early modern literature and culture, with particular interests in the history of the book, translation, romance, libraries, travel, and Shakespeare. I’ve just completed a project on the reading, translation, and performance of Shakespeare in East Africa (c.1850 to the present), and have another ongoing project on the life and library of Hernando Colón, natural son of the explorer Columbus.

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

Joseph Ashmore, Pembroke: 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.

Amy Bowles, Girton: My research focuses on the scribal circulation of early modern literature, with particular focus on the copyist Ralph Crane. I’m also interested in scribal imitation of print, and the construction of early modern manuscripts more generally, especially bindings, bookmarks, and marbled paper. Other interests are the development of handwriting and punctuation, the collection and dispersal of libraries, and early book auctions.

Sean Geddes, Magdalene: My main interest is Shakespeare and, more specifically, the uses he made of Classical literature and the medieval mediations of that. Secondary interests are prosody; lyric poetry; Sidney and Greville; and the intersections of philosophy and poetry. I am currently working on a dissertation that looks at what Shakespeare does with the rich complexity of Classical and medieval fama in the late plays and the Sonnets.

Ezra Horbury, Darwin: I am working on a Ph.D thesis about prodigalities and the parable of the prodigal son in early modern drama. My research interests specific to the early modern period include the representation of the family in drama, material culture, the reinterpretation of classical philosophies, and gender theory. I also conduct research on narratives of childhood and adolescence, queer studies, and transgender studies.

Joe Jarrett, Christ’s: My doctoral research investigates the influence early modern mathematical thinking had on the period’s drama, particularly in plays by Shakespeare, Dekker, Jonson, Webster, Chettle and Ford. The idea for the project arose from a longstanding interest in the relationship between intellectual culture and artistic production, particularly in the Renaissance but also elsewhere. Other, more tangential interests include: Greek tragedy; comparative drama; law and literature; Descartes; and literary theory.

Josie O’Donoghue, Christ’s: My research is broadly concerned with the workings of metaphor as a linguistic phenomenon in literary contexts. It is not confined to the early modern period but I am interested in Renaissance rhetoric and the role and reception of metaphor in Shakespeare’s plays and poetry.

Jitka Stollova, Trinity: My research focuses on the reputation and representation of Richard III in the seventeenth century. I investigate how the image of Richard II as the epitome of tyranny coexisted with emerging revisionist views of his character. I also have a special interest in textual studies, paratexts in play books and elsewhere, and the London book trade in the seventeenth century. For more details, see here.

Theodore Tregear, Trinity: I’m just starting a PhD looking at Shakespeare’s appearance in early seventeenth-century anthologies and collections of poetry, including printed examples like ‘Englands Parnassus’ and ‘Belvedere’ as well as analogous manuscript compilations. The anthology, I think, could be a useful notion in considering not just how we think of early-modern readerships – as concerned with the aesthetic glamour of long poetic passages as with the immediate utility of pithy maxims – but how we think of Shakespeare too. My hunch is that Shakespeare was intensely sensitive to this way of reading; that some of the passages included in ‘Englands Parnassus’ (‘This sceptred isle’, say, an instant favourite) have an especially anthologizable quality to them in the first place; and that such passages might even have been put into the plays in order to be taken out again by anthologizing readers. Other interests in the period include the study of forms like the early-modern letter, especially philosophical correspondence of the later seventeenth century, and the early-modern sermon; and outside the period, German philosophy and theory from Kant to Adorno, and music, from the sixteenth century to the present day.

Nadine Weiss, Downing: My primary research interests are in sixteenth-and seventeenth-century devotional lyric poetry, especially the English religious sonnet, its continental predecessors and the relationship between music and literature more generally.

Tobias Wright, Girton

Molly Yarn, Lucy Cavendish: My research explores women editors of Shakespeare in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with a particular emphasis on the idea of the ‘domestic text’ (illustrated, expurgated, student editions, etc) as an entry point for women’s voices in the field. I also come from a drama background, and maintain interests in Shakespearean actresses, past and present, and their relationship with texts, and general performance history and theory.

MPhil Students