School of Arts

Prof. Janet Clare

BA (Leeds), MA, PhD (Birmingham)


Professor Janet Clare

Professor of Renaissance Literature

Co-Director of the Andrew Marvell Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Email: j.clare@hull.ac.uk

Room: Larkin Building, Room L273


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 Stuart period.

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 Commonwealth.

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, Shakespeare’s Stage Traffic: Imitation, Borrowing and Competition in Renaissance Theatre (Cambridge University Press, 2014) re-situates Shakespeare’s dramaturgy within the flourishing and competitive theatrical trade of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. I demonstrate how Shakespeare worked with materials that had already entered the dramatic tradition, and how, in the spirit of Renaissance theory, he moulded and converted them to his own use.

Recent activities

  • July 2016: Co-convenor of ‘Transcultural Shakespeare’ seminar, World Shakespeare Congress, Stratford-upon-Avon and London.
  • August 2016: Lecture, “’Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane’: moving to and from wild places’, summer course at the Globe theatre, ‘Into the Woods’.
  • October – November 2016: Visiting Professor, Dipartimento di Lingue, Letterature e Studi Interculturali, Università di Firenze.
  • November 2016: Guest lecture, ‘Transcultural Shakespeare’, Università di Pisa.
  • December 2106: Plenary lecture, international conference, ‘New Perspectives on Censorship in Early Modern England’, Maisons des Sciences de l’Homme, Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand.
  • April 2017: Plenary lecture, ‘Authorization and Reform’, German Shakespeare Society conference, Weimar, ‘Shakespeare and the Reformation’.
  • May 2017: Guest lecture, ‘Shakespeare’s Hybrid Texts’, Università del Salento, Lecce.

Selected Publications

Janet Clare Shakespeare's Stage TrafficJanet Clare Revenge TragediesDrama of the English RepublicArt Made Tongue Tied by Authority


  • Shakespeare’s Stage Traffic: Imitation, Borrowing and Competition in Renaissance Theatre (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).
  • Revenge Tragedies of the Renaissance, Writers and their Work (Tavistock: Northcote House/British Council, 2006). Pp. xii + 148.
  • Drama of the English Republic 1649-1660, The Revels Plays Companion Library (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002; pbk. 2005). Pp. xiv + 311.
  • Art Made Tongue-tied by Authority’: Elizabethan and Jacobean Dramatic Censorship (revised 2nd edition), The Revels Plays Companion Library (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999). Pp. viii + 242.
  • ‘Art Made Tongue-tied by Authority’: Elizabethan and Jacobean Dramatic Censorship, The Revels Plays Companion Library (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1990). Pp. xiii + 224.

Books Edited

  • In press: From Republic to Restoration: Legacies and Departures (contracted MUP, publication 2018).
  • Shakespeare and the Irish Writer, edited with Stephen O’Neill (Dublin: UCD Press, 2010).
    Pp. xii + 201.
  • Literature, Readers and Dialogue: Essays by and in Reply to Douglas Jefferson, co-edited (with Veronica O’Mara) with an introduction (Dublin: UCD Press, 2006). Pp. xi + 226.
  • Contexts of Renaissance Comedy, edited with Roy Eriksen (Oslo: Novus Press, 1996). Pp. 184.

Journals edited

Selected articles and chapters contributed to books

  • In press, ‘The Dramaturgy of The Revenger’s Tragedy ‘ Arden Shakespeare Series, Bloomsbury.
  • In press, ‘Acts of Oblivion: Reframing Drama, 1649-1665’ in From Republic to Restoration: Legacies and Departures, ed. Janet Clare (Manchester University Press)
  • ‘Licensing the King’s Men: From Court Revels to Public Performance’, Brave New Theatres: 1616 in China and England, Arden Shakespeare Series (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), 108-120.
  • ‘Tracings and data in The Tempest: author, world and representation’, Shakespeare Survey, 68, (2015), 109-17.
  • '"Of Seditions and Troubles”: Censorship and the Late Elizabethan Crisis’ in Enforcing and Eluding Censorship, British and Anglo-Italian Perspectives, ed. Giuliana Iannaccaro and Giovanni Iamartino, (Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2014), 1-14.
  • 'Introduction', Four Revenge Tragedies, New Mermaids (London: Methuen Drama, 2014).
  • ‘“Buried in the Open Fields”: Early Modern Suicide and the Case of Ofelia’, Journal of Early Modern Studies, 2 (2013), 241-52.
  • ‘“His bruised helmet and his bended sword”: Henry V, Essex und das Aufleben des Heldenkults im Jahr 1599’, Heroen und Heroisierungen in der Renaissance, ed. Achim Aurnhammer and Manfred Pfister, Wolfenbütteler Abhandlungen zur Renaissanceforschung, 28 (Harrassowitz Verlag: Wiesbaden, 2013), 267-82.
  • ‘Shakespeare: Revising and Re-visioning’, Alicante Journal of English Studies, 25 (2012), 19-32.
  •  ‘Countering Anti-theatricality: Davenant and Drama of the Protectorate’ in The Oxford Handbook of Literature and the English Revolution, edited by Laura Lunger Knoppers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 498-515.
  • ‘Shakespeare and Paradigms of Early Modern Authorship’, Journal of Early Modern Studies, University of Florence Press, 1, 1 (2012), 137-53.
  •  ‘Censorship’ in Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare, edited by Arthur Kinney (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 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, 68 (2010), 102-14.
  •  ‘The “histories” of I Henry VI’ in Shakespeare in Europe: History and Memory, edited by Marta Gibinska and Agnieszka Romanowska (Krakow: Jagiellonian University Press, 2008), 79-89.
  • ‘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, 2008, 234-46.
  • ‘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), 53-68.
  • ‘The "Histories" of Henry VI in Shakespeare in Europe’, in History and Memory, edited by Marta Gibińska and Agnieszka Romanowska, Krakow: Jagiellonian University Press, 2008, 79-89. 
  • Hamlet and the Modernist Paradigm: T.S. Eliot and G. Wilson Knight’ in Shakespeare and European Politics, edited by Dirk Delabastita, Jozef de Vos and Paul Franssen (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2008), 234-46.
  •  ‘"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, 19, English Studies in Italy (2007), 355-72.
  • Negotiating the Boundaries: English Renaissance Dramatic Censorship’, Anglistica Pisana, III.2 (2007).
  • 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), 194-212.
  • `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) 28-48.
  • `New Historicism and the Question of Censorship in the Renaissance', English Literary Renaissance, (1997), 155-77.
  • `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.
  • Chapter on ‘Marlowe and Elizabethan Theatre’, Annotated Bibliography of English Studies,
    CD-Rom (Swets and Zeitlinger, 1997).
  • ‘Transgressing Boundaries: Women’s Writing in the Renaissance and Reformation’, Renaissance Forum, 1, 1 (1997), 1-23.
  • `"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), 135-53.
  • 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, 1995).
  • `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), 46-59.
  • Critical essays on Marston, The Malcontent, Marlowe, Edward II, Beaumont, The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Beaumont and Fletcher, The Maid's Tragedy and Chapman, Bussy D'Ambois in the International Dictionary of the Theatre (London: St James's Press, 1992), pp. 94-96;
    213-15; 400-402; 458-60; 462-64.
  • ‘The Censorship of the Deposition Scene in Richard II’, Review of English Studies, 41 (1990), 89-94.
  • ‘“Greater Themes for Insurrection’s Arguing”: Elizabethan and Jacobean Censorship’, Review of English Studies, 38 (1987), 169-83.
  • Theatre of the Air: A Checklist of Radio Productions of Renaissance Drama, 1922-1986, with an introduction, Renaissance Drama Newsletter, Supplement 6 (University of Warwick, 1986).
  • ‘Beneath Pomp and Circumstance in Henry VIII’, Shakespeare Studies, 21 (1985), 65-81.
  • ‘Foreign Affairs on the Elizabethan and Jacobean Stage’, Ferris Studies, 19 (March 1984), 53-70.
  • ‘The Impact of Censorship on Sir Thomas More’, Ferris Studies, 18 (March 1983), 35-48.



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.

Current Research

I contributed a paper on early modern revels and court performance for a symposium 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. Cosmography also fed into my paper, ‘”Art to enchant”: The Tempest, sources and sorcery’ delivered at the International Shakespeare Conference, Stratford-upon Avon, 2014 and is evolving into a major new research project.

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, political, cultural, religious and scientific continuities as well as ruptures across the ideological divide of the English Republic and the Restoration.

2015-2020: edition of John Marston’s What You Will for the AHRC funded Complete Works of John Marston, Oxford University Press; general editors: Martin Butler and Matthew Steggle.


I have taught on the following undergraduate modules:

  • Shakespeare
  • 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 for the module, 'Medieval to Early Modern: Continuity and Change'.

Postgraduate supervision

I am supervising a PhD 'Tragedy, Republicanism and the Birth of the Early Modern Self'.

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

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