This lecture will consider why thinking about books as material objects might have important consequences for the ways in which we engage in traditional literary criticism. I will consider what manuscripts were in this period (1500-1700); who made them; what they looked like; and how today we might access them. I will conclude with a case-study of Shakespeare’s sonnet 2: both close-reading this in the traditional sense, but also considering what the various copies of the poem in manuscript might tell us about what early readers thought this poem really meant.
Senior Lecturer in Late Medieval and Early Modern Literature
Late medieval literature
Early modern literature
The work of John Donne
I joined the English Department at Bristol in September 2014 after a University of Glasgow PhD, and two postdoctoral appointments at Cambridge (Scriptorium: Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts Online) and at Oxford (The Oxford Edition of the Sermons of John Donne).
My research interests are in late-medieval and early modern literature (esp. poetry), and what today is called 'the history of the book', which in more old-fashioned terms would be called 'bibliography'. I am especially interested in the intersections between the book as material text and more literary questions. I work on the literary and book culture of Scotland; have an interest in the Digital Humanities; in editorial theory and practice; and a special interest in the manuscript and print histories, and the poems and prose texts, of John Donne.