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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 have recently stepped down from the Higher Education Committee of the English Association, of which I am a Fellow. I remain on the Advisory Board of the Medieval English Theatre journal. I have completed 6 years as chair of the Executive Board of the Records of Early English Drama organisation (Toronto), but remain as an Advisor to the project, as well as an editor. I will be a member of sub-panel 27 (English Language and Literature) in the 2020/21 Research Excellence Framework. I also remain attached to the university as a Public Contributor to the Primary Care Research Centre in the Faculty of Medicine.

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 taken the form of plenary talks on spectatorship and performativity in Scottish sources. This links my work on the Records of Early Drama Scotland to the 2016 book on Spectatorship by myself and Greg Walker. I have also published a piece on the different dramatic versions of the biblical episode known as the Peregrini or Journey to Emmaus, in order to associate the versions to likely audiences and to the historicising of medieval drama.

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

Professor John McGavin
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton. SO17 1BF United Kingdom

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