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R.King@soton.ac.uk

Professor Ros King 

Professor Emeritus

Professor Ros King's photo

Professor Ros King is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Southampton.

I joined Southampton as Professor of English Studies in 2006, becoming founder/director of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture. For four years, I was Head of English, with the department enjoying great success in all the league tables. Prior to that I was at Queen Mary, University of London. I became Professor Emeritus in 2018, and Visiting Plumer Fellow (2018) at St Anne’s, University of Oxford.

I have served on the academic committee of Shakespeare’s Globe, London, and on the Boards of Directors of the English Shakespeare Company, and Nuffield Southampton Theatres. I am a longstanding member of the AHRC Peer Review College— a panel member and chair, and a Strategic Reviewer.

My writing combines standard archival academic research in the history and culture of Early Modern England with practical skills in performance. I have run a professional theatre company and directed many early modern plays (Middleton, Webster and Shakespeare) with both student and professional actors. I am also a musician; I sing, and play the cello (ARCM performers), piano, and lute. My books (including The Works of Richard Edwards: Politics, Poetry and Performance in Early Modern England; Cymbeline: Constructions of Britain; and Shakespeare: a Beginner’s Guide) have been variously reviewed as ‘of interest to any humanities researcher’, ‘surprising but suggestive’, and ‘ebulliently pluralistic’.

I have a long-standing interest in applied theatre, both in education and in therapeutic settings. For many years, I ran an innovative module for undergraduates at Queen Mary, enabling them to lead practical performance and creative writing workshops centring on a Shakespeare play (usually King Lear) with whole, mixed-ability classes in local inner London primary and secondary schools. At Southampton, I have contributed to the Medical Humanities module for first year medical students by using The Winter’s Tale to inspire the students’ creative thinking about mental health, body language, and doctor/patient interactions.

Current writing projects include: music in the theatre of John Marston; applied arts, in education, prisons, and interventions for military veterans suffering from PTSD; and a large, more wide-ranging project on human need for both play and repetition.

Research interests

My research interests are primarily in drama and the Renaissance, in particular in Shakespeare and pre-Shakespearean drama. I am interested in the way in which great plays are constructed so that sound and necessary gesture contribute to the meanings of words both in reading and in performance.

I am also interested in the ways in which art, particularly music and drama, contributes to public life and debate. This includes the political and cultural significance of works when first written and performed, their potential for reinterpretation so as to reflect contemporary issues, and their potential for education and development.

I would therefore be interested in supervising PhD theses and MA/MRes dissertations in the following areas:

  • music and poetry
  • language, sound and gesture
  • drama and performance
  • staging and theatre history
  • literature, religion and politics in 16th century England
  • Shakespeare
  • Tudor interludes and other pre-Shakespearean drama
  • Jacobean drama
  • textual editing
  • the arts in education
  • literature and material culture

As a member of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture at Southampton, I am passionately committed to interdisciplinary research and welcome applications from suitably qualified students wishing to combine work in English and any of the other disciplines offered by the University.

Research projects

I have recently completed A Beginner's Guide to Shakespeare. I am preparing a book of essays on silence, sound and gesture in Shakespeare, and beginning a project on cognition and emotion in early modern drama.

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by Ros King
A Beginner's Guide to Shakespeare

Edited book

Ros King and Paul Franssen (eds.) Shakespeare and War (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). 
ISBN 0 230 20508 9

Additional articles and book sections

‘‘Teaching Shakespeare: indoctrination or creativity?’, in Shifting the Scene: Shakespeare in European Culture, Balz Engler and Ladina Bezzola, eds. (Newark,: Delaware University Press, 2004), pp. 205-18

‘The Case for the Earlier Canon’, in Shakespearean Continuities: Essays in Honour of E.A.J. Honigmann, John Batchelor, Tom Cain, Claire Lamont, eds. (London and New York: Macmillan, 1997), pp. 108-122

‘The Form and Function of Drama: Drama, Dreaming and Make-believe’, Drama 2. 2 (1994)

Rosalind King and Nigel Alexander, ‘Shakespeare, Zeami, Brecht’ in Text-Culture-Reception. Cross-cultural Aspects of English Studies (Heidelberg, 1992), pp. 401-9

‘“The Citizens are Mum, Say not a Word”: Forms of Address in Richard III’, Shakespeare Bulletin 16. 4 (1998), pp. 13-16

‘“Then Murder’s Out of Tune”: The Music and Structure of Othello’, Shakespeare Survey39 (Cambridge, 1987), pp. 149-158. Reprinted in Othello: Critical Essays, ed. Philip C. Kolin (Garland/Routledge, 2005)

‘“Black Vesper’s Pageants”: Emblematic Stagecraft in Shakespearean Tragedy’, in Shakespearean Tragedy, ed. D. J. Palmer, Stratford-upon-Avon Studies, vol. 20, Edward Arnold, London, 1984

Other outputs

‘“Her foot speaks”: Sensuality and Consciousness in Troilus and Cressida’

Articles for the on-line Literary Encyclopedia,www.litencyc.com, ed. Robert Clark.

Professor Ros King
Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

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