Renaissance and Early Modern Literature and Culture

The Renaissance and Early Modern research group has produced world-leading research and helped to support the scholarly structures underpinning wider study of the period. The group boasts a wealth of research expertise across the entire period, from the early Tudor era (Professor Mike Pincombe), through the sixteenth (Professor Jennifer Richards; Dr Shehzana Mamujee) to the seventeenth centuries (Professor Kate Chedgzoy, Professor Tom Cain, Dr Ruth Connolly). Since 2008, our thriving research culture has brought four Leverhulme Early Career Fellows to the School to work in this area: Dr Fred Schurink (2008-10), Dr Katherine Heavey (2010-12), Dr Shehzana Mamujee (2011-13) and Dr Harriet Archer (2013-).

Professor Pincombe's research has given important structural support to the study of Tudor literature nationally and internationally. He is the convenor of the Tudor Symposium, and his Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature has been recognised as the major reference work for the period by the award of the Ronald H. Bainton Book Prize in 2010. Professor Richards, as Associate Editor (2007-2012) then Editor (2012-), of Renaissance Studies, is another major contributor to the international research culture of the period. Her own work on the history of reading and of rhetoric is supported by a Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust (2013-2015).

Professor Chedgzoy is an expert on early modern women's writing as well as a prominent Shakespearian. Her work on the concept of a 'renaissance for children', and in particular Shakespeare for children, intersects with colleagues in the Children's Literature Unit. Professor Chedgzoy's research on the performance of Shakespeare by children connects with Dr Shehzana Mamujee's research on the cultural history of the Elizabethan Child Player and Professor Peter Reynolds' recreation of early modern performances of plays originally written for child or adolescent actors as part of the Australian Research Council History of the Emotions in Europe project. This research on renaissance-era child performers shares a border with the work of Dr Helen Freshwater, who is investigating the representation of children and childhood in contemporary British theatre.

Textual editing is another significant strength of our Early Modernists. Notable projects include Professor Tom Cain's work on Ben Jonson and, with Dr Ruth Connolly, landmark editions of the writing of Robert Herrick. These will be followed by Professor Richards' work on Thomas Nashe. Professor Richards also works on histories of reading in early modern England (for which she has received and AHRC Network Grant) and on medical humanities. She has received funding from the Wellcome Trust for investigation of early midwifery books, and, with Dr Anne Whitehead, she is co-editing the Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities (2015).