Prof. Janet Clare

BA (Leeds), MA, PhD (Birmingham)


Professor Janet Clare

Professor of Renaissance Literature

Associate 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 is Shakespeare’s Stage Traffic: Imitation, Borrowing and Competition in Renaissance Theatre (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

I will also be running a specialist session a Richard II Study Day at Shakespeare’s Globe on Saturday 25 July 2015.

Selected Publications

Janet Clare Shakespeare's Stage Traffic      Janet Clare Revenge Tragedies  Janet Clare Drama of the EnglishJanet Clare Art


  • Shakespeare’s Stage Traffic: Imitation, Borrowing and Competition in Renaissance Theatre (Cambridge University Press, 2014)
  • Revenge Tragedies of the Renaissance (Plymouth, 2006)
  • 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 edition, 1999)

Books Edited

  • (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, 2006).
  • (ed. with Roy Eriksen) Contexts of Renaissance Comedy (Oslo, 1996)

Journals edited

Selected articles and chapters contributed to books

  • '"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).
  • ‘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 (2013), 241-52
  • ‘"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, 2013), 267-82
  • 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. www.fupress.net/index.php/bsfm-jems/
  • ‘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, 2010, 102-114.
  • ‘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: History and Memory, edited by Marta Gibińska and Agnieszka Romanowska, Krakow: Jagiellonian University Press, 2008, 79-89.
  • ‘"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 (2006).
  • 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.
  • `"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.


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:

  • 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 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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