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The University of Southampton

Professor John McGavin 

Professor Emeritus

Professor John McGavin's photo

Professor John McGavin is an Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Southampton.

I retired from full-time work in the Department of English in 2015, and am delighted to remain attached to it, albeit in a semi-decorative capacity. I continue to be active in the discipline. I sit on the Higher Education Committee of the English Association, of which I am a Fellow, and on the Advisory Board of the Medieval English Theatre journal. I am currently chair of the Executive Board of the Records of Early English Drama organisation (Toronto). I was a member of sub-panel 29 (English Language and Literature) for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. A past member of the Speakers For Schools charity, I continue to give talks in schools if I can be of help.

I am a member of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture.

Research interests

After earlier work on Chaucer, including Chaucer and Dissimilarity: Literary Comparisons in Chaucer and other Late-Medieval Writing (AUP 2000), I have concentrated on the primary records of early English and Scottish drama, theatricality in its widest sense, ceremony, and play. This led to Theatricality and Narrative in Medieval and Early Modern Scotland (Ashgate 2007), which won the 2009 Frank Watson Prize for Scottish History. I recently co-authored Imagining spectatorship: from the mysteries to the Shakespearean stage (OUP 2016) with Professor Greg Walker of the University of Edinburgh.

My continuing research project is ‘Records of Early Drama: South-East Scotland’. This involves the locating and editing of all records relating to drama, ceremonial, and secular music in Scotland before 1642 with my co-editor, Dr Eila Williamson, of the University of Glasgow. I was Principal Investigator for the project ‘Records of Early English Drama, Middlesex/Westminster: Eight Theatres North of the Thames'. This work was funded by the AHRC (UK) and SSHRC (Canada). It involved collaboration with colleagues in Records of Early English Drama, the University of Toronto, King's College London, Royal Holloway, the Institute of Historical Research, and Globe Education, Shakespeare's Globe. One of its main outputs is the freely accessible resource, which was launched in February 2011, and which (under different management) has now completed phase two with inclusion of theatres south of the Thames.

My most recent work has been on performativity in the Rev. David Calderwood’s 17th Century History of the Kirk of Scotland, and I am currently writing about medieval dramatisations of the Journey to Emmaus.

Research project(s)

Records of Early English Drama, Middlesex/Westminster: Eight Theatres North of the Thames - Completed

The project's aim was to generate both a primary resource, the edition, and an accessible basis for reflection on how such data was selected and transmitted in subsequent traditions, that is, a web-based bibliography.

Early Modern London Theatres

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Book Chapters

  • McGavin, J. J. (2015). Plays on the Move. In E. Dutton, & J. McBain (Eds.), Drama and Pedagogy in Medieval and Early Modern England (pp. 111-129). Narr Francke Attempto Verlag GmbH + Co. KG.
  • McGavin, J. J. (2013). Spectatorship in Scotland. In J. Hadley Williams, & J. D. McClure (Eds.), 'Fresche fontanis': Studies in the Culture of Medieval and Early Modern Scotland (pp. 289-307). Newcastle upon Tyne, GB: Cambridge Scholars Press.
  • McGavin, J. J. (2012). Nice Wanton, c.1550. In T. Betteridge, & G. Walker (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama (pp. 246-261). Oxford University Press.
  • McGavin, J. (2010). Performing communities: civic religious drama. In E. Treharne, & G. Walker (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literature in English (pp. 200-218). (Oxford Handbooks of Literature). Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
  • McGavin, J. J. (2007). Thomas Ker of Redden’s trip to the Low Countries, 1620. In S. Carpenter, & S. M. Dunnigan (Eds.), "Joyous Sweit Imaginatioun": Essays on Scottish Literature in Honour of R.D.S. Jack (pp. 155-175). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Rodopi.
  • McGavin, J. J. (2007). Working towards a reformed identity in Lindsay’s Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis. In P. Happé, & W. Hüsken (Eds.), Interludes and Early Modern Society: Studies in Gender, Power and Theatricality (pp. 239-260). (Ludus: Medieval and Early Renaissance Theatre and Drama; No. 9). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi.
  • Willimason, E., & McGavin, J. J. (2006). Crossing the border: the provincial records of south-east Scotland. In A. Douglas, & S-B. MacLean (Eds.), REED in Review: Essays in Celebration of the First Twenty-Five Years (pp. 157-177). (Studies in Early English Drama). Toronto, CA: University of Toronto Press.
  • McGavin, J. J. (2004). Faith, pastime, performance, and drama in Scotland to 1603. In J. Milling, & P. Thomson (Eds.), The Cambridge History of British Theatre: Origins to 1660 (pp. 70-86). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • McGavin, J. J. (2001). Secular music in the burgh of Haddington, 1530-1640. In F. Kisby (Ed.), Music and Musicians in Renaissance Cities (pp. 45-56). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Professor John McGavin
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton. SO17 1BF United Kingdom

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