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Dr Alice Hunt 

Associate Professor of Early Modern Literature and Culture

Dr Alice Hunt's photo

Dr Alice Hunt is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Southampton.

I completed my BA at Balliol College, Oxford and my PhD at Birkbeck College, London. I joined Southampton in 2006, after having taught at Birkbeck and King's College London.

I convene and teach the undergraduate modules Queens, Devils and Players in Early Modern England, Radical England: From Shakespeare to Milton, and Shakespeare: Then and Now, as well as the MA module Shakespeare and His World.

I am a member of Southampton’s Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture.

I have supervised PhD projects on early modern European queenship, Elizabeth I, the career of William Davenant in the 1650s, Shakespeare. I am happy to offer supervision on any aspect of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature, politics and culture.

Research interests

My research focuses on early modern monarchy and politics. I am particularly interested in the legitimization of power and the role of ceremony and ritual. I am currently working on the period of the English republic, 1649-1660. I have published on Tudor and Stuart coronations, Mary I, Elizabeth I and female rule, and various aspects of early modern ceremony and drama as well as literature and culture in the 1650s (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 sixteenth-century 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, including at Hampton Court (released as a podcast), the Tower of London, local schools and branches of the Historical Association. 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. I recently recorded a podcast for On the Tudor Trail.

Before becoming a full-time academic, I worked for several years in trade book publishing, at Weidenfeld & Nicolson and Atlantic Books.

Research Projects

I am currently working on the period of the English Republic and the ‘reign’ of Oliver Cromwell. The project was supported by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship, and the book, England’s Republic: The Lost Decade, 1649–1660, will be published by Faber and Faber. I am represented by Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates.  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 abolished 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 and new art forms. In particular, the book reconsiders how and why Oliver Cromwell began to rule, dress and live like a king. He refused the crown, but as Lord Protector he established a household on a royal model and 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.

I am also developing a collaborative, interdisciplinary research project with colleagues at RHUL, UCL and the University of the West Indies on the continued presence of the British monarchy in the Caribbean. Its title is ‘The Visible Crown: Elizabeth II and the Caribbean, 1952-present’.

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Book Chapters

Dr Alice Hunt
Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

Room Number NNN: 65/2023

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