My work has focussed on Renaissance and early modern literature
with particular reference to the drama. Publications span a period
from c.1550-1685 and range from women's writing in the Renaissance
to the censorship of drama during the Exclusion crisis of the late
My first book ‘Art made tongue-tied by authority':
Elizabethan and Jacobean Dramatic Censorship (1990; second
edition 1999) explored the impact of literary and dramatic
censorship on the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The
debate about early modern censorship is ongoing and I have
continued to contribute articles and lectures on the subject.
My next book, Drama of the English Republic, 1649-1660
(2002; reprinted in paperback 2005) is an edition of, and
comprehensive introduction to, the plays and entertainments
performed during a period when theatre was in retreat and/or
opposition. Three of the five texts (William Davenant's The
Cruelty of the Spaniards in Peru and The History of Sir Francis
Drake, together with the anonymous Tragedy of that Famous
Roman Orator Marcus Tullius Cicero) were edited for the first
time. The study breaks away from the familiar binary of Puritanism
and theatre to reveal complex and shifting allegiances and the
adaptation of the theatrical medium to contain folk celebration,
current affairs and pamphlets. I argue that, far from being a
dramatic backwater, drama of the Commonwealth provided the impetus
for much that was to follow in the drama of the Restoration. I also
focus on the complex reception of classical republicanism, the
appropriation of the ‘black legend' and of Elizabethan materials
(the Drake legend, for example) during the period of the
Revenge Tragedies of the Renaissance (2006) is
published in the series 'Writers and their Work', and includes the
drama of Kyd, Shakespeare, Chettle, Marston, Middleton, Webster and
Ford, amongst others. The book considers the classical legacy of
revenge plays, and asserts their historical position while
addressing them from contemporary critical perspectives, including
gender, national identity and aesthetics of performance. My
argument is that, rather than conforming to a genre that rehearses
convention, revenge plays show themselves to be unpredictable in
their ways of projecting ethical dilemmas and unstable in their
recourse to farce, satire, parody and melodrama.
My most recent publication is Shakespeare’s Stage Traffic:
Imitation, Borrowing and Competition in Renaissance Theatre
(Cambridge University Press, 2014).
- Shakespeare’s Stage Traffic: Imitation, Borrowing and
Competition in Renaissance Theatre (Cambridge University
- Revenge Tragedies of the Renaissance (Plymouth,
- Drama of the English Republic,
1649-1660 (Manchester, 2002; pbk. 2005)
- 'Art Made Tongue-tied by Authority': Elizabethan and
Jacobean Dramatic Censorship (Manchester, 1991; second
- (ed. with Stephen O'Neil) Shakespeare and the Irish
Writer (Dublin, 2010)
- (ed. with Veronica O'Mara) Literature, Readers and
Dialogue: Essays by and in Reply to Douglas Jefferson (Dublin,
- (ed. with Roy Eriksen) Contexts of Renaissance Comedy
Selected articles and chapters contributed to
- 'Introduction', Four Revenge
Tragedies, New Mermaids (LOndon: Methuen Drama, 2014).
- ‘Shakespeare: Revising and Re-visioning’,
Alicante Journal of English Studies, 25 (2013), 19-32
- ‘Buried in the Open Fields: Ofelia and Early
Modern Suicide’, Journal of Early Modern Studies, 2
- ‘"His bruised helmet and his bended sword”:
Henry V, Essex und das Auflben des Heldenkults im Jahr 1599’ in
'Heroen und Heroisierungen in der Renaissance', ed. Achim
Aurnhammer and Manfred Pfister, Wolfenbütteler Abhandlungen zur
Renaissanceforschung, 28 (Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden,
- Countering Anti-theatricality : Davenant and
the Drama of the Protectorate’ in The Oxford Handbook of
Literature and the English Revolution, ed. Laura Lunger
Knoppers, Oxford University Press, 2012, 498-515.
- ‘Shakespeare and Paradigms of Early Modern Authorship’,
Journal of Early Modern Studies 1.1. 2012, 137-53.
- ‘Censorship’ in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare ed.
Arthur Kinney, Oxford, 2012, 276-94.
- ‘The Theatre and Political Control’ in Thomas Middleton in
Context, ed. Suzanne Gossett, Cambridge, 2011, 176-184.
- ‘Medley History: The Famous Victories of Henry the
Fifth to Henry V’, Shakespeare Survey, 63,
- ‘Hamlet and Modernism: T.S Eliot and G. Wilson Knight' in
Shakespeare and European Politics, ed. Dirk Delabastita,
Jozef De Vos and Paul Franssen, Newark, Univ. of Delaware Press,
- ‘Banishing Ovid: Elizabethan Antitheatrical Polemic and its
Replies' in La guerra dei teatri: Le controversie sul teatro in
Europa dal secolo XVI alla fine dell'Ancien Régime, edited by
Donatella Pallotti and Paola Pugliatti (Pisa: Edizioni ETS, 2008),
- ‘The "Histories" of Henry VI in Shakespeare in
Europe: History and Memory, edited by Marta Gibińska and
Agnieszka Romanowska, Krakow: Jagiellonian University Press, 2008,
- ‘"Assim, emu ma pessoa vivo muitas outras": performance e
identidade nas peças históricas de Shakespeare' in
Performances: Estudos de literatura em homenagem a
Marlene Soares dos Santos (Rio de Janeiro: Contra Capa
Livraria, 2007), 39-53.
- "Better a Shrew than a Sheep": Intertextuality and Shrew Taming
Plays', Shakespeare Studies, 45, 2007, 26-44.
- ‘Transgressing Authority in English Renaissance Drama',
Textus,English Studies in Italy (2007), 355-72.
- ‘Negotiating the Boundaries: English
Renaissance Dramatic Censorship', Anglistica Pisana, III.2
- with Raymond Hargreaves `Hamlet and the Theatre of the
Mind' in Literature, Readers and Dialogue: Essays by and in
Reply to Douglas Jefferson (Dublin, 2006), 23-38.
- `The "complexion" of Twelfth Night', Shakespeare
Survey 58 (2005), 199-208.
- ‘Shakespeare Productions in Ireland, 2002-2004',
Shakespeare Survey 58 (2005), 260-68.
- `Drama and Commonwealth 1642-1660' in The Cambridge History
of British Theatre, edited by Jane Milling and Peter Thomson
(Cambridge, 2004), 458-76.
- `Censorship and Negotiation' in Literature and Censorship
in Renaissance England, edited by Andrew Hadfield
(Basingstoke, 2001), 17-31.
- `Marlowe's "Theatre of Cruelty"' in Constructing
Christopher Marlowe, edited by A.J. Downie and J.T. Parnell
(Cambridge, 2000), 74-88.
- `Marston: Censure, Censorship and Free Speech' in The Drama
of John Marston, edited by F.W. Wharton (Cambridge, 2000),
- `Jonson's "Comical Satires" and the Art of Courtly Compliment'
in Refashioning Ben Jonson: Gender, Politics and the Jonsonian
Canon, edited by Julie Sanders et al. (Basingstoke, 1997)
- `New Historicism and the Question of Censorship in the
Renaissance', English Literary Renaissance, 1997,
- `Women Writers of the Renaissance', Renaissance Forum,
I, 1997, 1-23.
- `Transgressing Boundaries: Women Writers of the Reformation and
Renaissance' in An Introduction to Women's Literature: From the
Middle Ages to the Present Day, edited by Marion Shaw (New
Jersey, 1997), 37-65.
- `"Shadowes of Correction": the Production and Reception of
Jonson's Comical Satires' in Contexts of Renaissance
Comedy, edited by Janet Clare and Roy Eriksen (Oslo, 1996),
- Essays on 1 and 2 Henry IV and Love's Labour's
Lost in Shakespeare: his Plays in Performance, edited
by Pamela Mason and Keith Parsons (London: Salamander Books,
- `The Production and Reception of Davenant's Cruelty of the
Spaniards in Peru', Modern Language Review,
89, 4 (1994), 832-41.
- `"All Run Now into Politicks": Dramatic Censorship during the
Exclusion Crisis, 1678-82' in Writing and Censorship in
Britain, edited by N. Sammells and P. Hyland (London, 1992),
Awards: AHRC Research Fellowship, February to
November 2012 for the project 'Shakespeare's Stage Traffic:
Imitation, Borrowing and Competition in Renaissance Theatre'.
Shakespeare’s Stage Traffic: Imitation, Borrowing and
Competition in Renaissance Theatre (CUP, 2014) re-situates
Shakespeare’s dramaturgy within the flourishing and competitive
theatrical trade of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth
centuries. The book demonstrates how Shakespeare worked with
material that had already entered the dramatic tradition and, how
in the spirit of Renaissance theory, he moulded and converted them
to his own use. Overall, I argue for a more conjoined study of
Shakespeare, beyond generic study, which takes into account
dramaturgical as much as literary influences and the evolution of
play texts as they enter into dialogue with neighbouring plays.
I have more recently been working on revels and court
performance for a symposium and a book project on Brave New
Theatres: 1616 in China and England organized jointly
by SOAS, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and National Chung Cheng
University. In May 2014 I delivered a plenary lecture,
‘Cosmography: mapping lands and mapping texts’ at the conference of
the Italian Association of Shakespearean and Early Modern
Studies in Lecce, Apulia. Research on cosmography
also fed into my paper, ‘”Art to
enchant”: The Tempest, sources and sorcery’ delivered at
the International Shakespeare Conference, Stratford-upon Avon,
2014. I am editing and contributing to a collection
of interdisciplinary essays, From Republic to Restoration:
Legacies and Departures, contracted with MUP. This volume
will examine the literary, cultural (art and music), religious and
scientific continuities as well as ruptures across the ideological
divide of the English Republic and the Restoration.
I have taught on the following undergraduate modules:
- Introduction to Renaissance Literature
- Jacobean Drama
- Writing the Revolution: Sex, Religion, and Politics in the
Literature of Seventeenth-Century England (course convenor)
- Shakespearean Transformations
MA convener, Medieval to Early Modern Culture. I convene the
core module, 'Medieval to Early Modern: Continuity and Change'.
I welcome PhD applications in any fields of Shakespeare studies,
Renaissance and early modern literature and drama, censorship and
anti-theatricalism, and early modern women's writing.
Director of Research