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, 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
- 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
- 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,
- April 2017: Plenary lecture, ‘Authorization and Reform’, German
Shakespeare Society conference, Weimar, ‘Shakespeare and the
- May 2017: Guest lecture, ‘Shakespeare’s Hybrid Texts’,
Università del Salento, Lecce.
- 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 +
- In press: From Republic to Restoration:
Legacies and Departures (contracted MUP, publication
- 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.
Selected articles and chapters contributed to books
- In press, ‘The Dramaturgy of The
Revenger’s Tragedy ‘ Arden Shakespeare Series,
- 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),
- ‘Tracings and data in The Tempest: author, world and
representation’, Shakespeare Survey, 68, (2015),
- '"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),
- ‘“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,
- ‘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),
- ‘The Theatre and Political Control’ in Thomas
Middleton in Context, ed. Suzanne Gossett, Cambridge, 2011,
- ‘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,
- ‘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’, in
History and Memory, edited by Marta Gibińska and Agnieszka
Romanowska, Krakow: Jagiellonian University Press, 2008,
- ‘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,
- "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),
- `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.
- 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),
- `"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),
- `"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),
- 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),
- ‘“Greater Themes for Insurrection’s Arguing”: Elizabethan and
Jacobean Censorship’, Review of English Studies, 38
- 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,
- ‘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
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:
- 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'.
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