- Primary position:
- Associate Professor
I completed my BA at Balliol College, Oxford and my PhD at Birkbeck College, London. In 2006 I joined Southampton as a lecturer in early modern literature, after having taught at Birkbeck and at King's College London.
I convene the undergraduate modules Queens, Devils and Players in Early Modern England and Radical England: From Shakespeare to Marlowe. I am a member of Southampton’s Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture and teach on the MA Medieval and Renaissance Culture. I am currently supervising PhD research projects on early modern queens, performance and libel in seventeenth-century England, and the plays and masques of Ben Jonson.
My own research focuses on early modern monarchy, and the period of the 1650s. My new book, England’s Republic: The Lost Decade, 1649–1660, tells the story of life in England under the rule of Oliver Cromwell. It will be published by Faber and Faber in 2016. This research is currently being supported by a Leverhulme Fellowship.
Previously, I have published on Tudor coronations, Mary I, and various aspects of early modern ceremony and drama (see Publications). My first book, The Drama of Coronation: Medieval Ceremony in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2008), looked at the history of the coronation ceremony in Tudor England. I am the co-editor, with Anna Whitelock, of a collection of essays on Mary I and Elizabeth I: Tudor Queenship: The Reigns of Mary and Elizabeth (Palgrave, 2010).
I have given several public talks on my research, most recently at Hampton Court (released as a podcast), and I have broadcast for BBC1, BBC2 and Channel 4. My contribution (on Mary I) to the BBC2 series Fit to Rule: How Royal Illness Changed History was subsequently recorded as a podcast for Historic Royal Palaces.
Before becoming a full-time academic in 2006, I worked for several years in publishing, at Weidenfeld & Nicolson and, most recently, at Atlantic Books where I am still an executive editor.
The University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints)
My research focuses on early modern monarchy, looking in particular at the role of ceremony in early modern politics, and the problems surrounding the legitimization of power. I have published on the Tudor coronation ceremonies, Mary I and female rule, monarchical republicanism, and the role of ritual in early modern drama (see Publications). I am currently working on the period of the English republic and the rule of Oliver Cromwell.
I am happy to offer research supervision on any aspect of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature and culture, including ceremony and ritual; court culture; Cromwell and the English Republic; the cultural impact of religious and political change. I am currently supervising research projects on the queen consort in early modern Europe; performance and libel in seventeenth-century England; the plays and masques of Ben Jonson.
I am currently writing a book on the period of the English Republic and the rule of Cromwell. England’s Republic: The Lost Decade, 1649–1660 is being supported by a Leverhulme Fellowship and will be published by Faber and Faber in 2016.
The book tells the story of England's misrepresented republican years. Often referred to as the Interregnum, the republic has been treated as a pause between the acts of the Stuart kings, as a failure, and as a dull and joyless time. After all, the Puritans closed the theatres and tried to ban Christmas. My research engages with the disciplines of political, economic and social history, literature and art to reveal a strikingly different and more nuanced image of the republic. This period of political turbulence was also a time of experimentation and invention, flourishing trade, new art forms and fashions. In particular, the book focuses on how Oliver Cromwell began to rule, dress and live like a king. He refused the crown, but as Lord Protector he adapted many of the ancient ceremonies that former English kings had exploited. The book argues that England's republic is best understood as a kind of reign, less a republican failure than an astonishing attempt to reinvent kingship, whose impact on the cultural life of the country, and on the development of the British monarchy, is not yet fully understood.