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Summary: Renaissance Literature, Shakespeare, Literature and Music.
My research interests span a number of areas of Renaissance literature, areas which have intersected and combined in various ways throughout my career:
Literature and Music. The interrelationship of the 'harmonious sisters' has formed a constant thread in my work. Major publications on this subject began with Thomas Campion (1986), a book-length study of one of the most important of poet-composers, and since have included articles on music in Shakesepare and in the court masque. The book-length study, Shakespeare and Music appeared in 2006, in the Arden Shakespeare Companions series. Subsequent essays on Literature and Music, on music in Ben Jonson and a recent essay on Music in Shakespearean performance history in Shakespeare Survey, have further extended my work in this area. An essay entitled 'Words for Music Perhaps' has appeared in a collection of essays on Lyric edited by Marion Thain.
The Court Masque. In an early publication I edited a collection of essays entitled The Court Masque in 1984. Since then I have published articles on Ben Jonson and Chapman; an article on the Court Masque in the Cambridge History of British Theatre in 2005; an edition of 18 court masques which appeared in the World's Classics Drama series in 1995. I have edited eleven of Jonson's masques (from The Masque of Blackness to The Irish Masque) for the major new Cambridge edition of his Works, led by Professor Butler in the School of English, together with Ian Donaldson and David Bevington, and published in May 2012 (online edition 2014).
Jacobean court life The court masque is a genre deeply embedded in the particular history of the early Stuart court, and formed the starting point for my interest in the character of Frances Howard, involved in one of the most scandalous episodes in the reign of James I when she was found guilty of the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury in the Tower. In The Trials of Frances Howard (1993) I investigated the representation of this 'scandalous' woman, and looked at the ways in which her story can be seen as focussing many questions of gender, narrative and representation in the period. I was consulted in 2012 on the topic of Frances Howard for the BBC TV programme Who Do You Think You Are since she is a direct ancestor of the programme's subject, Celia Imrie, and then for a programme The Mysterious Mr. Webster, broadcast in 2014.
Shakespeare. In recent years a good deal of my research has focussed on The Tempest, a play which enables me to bring together my interests in music, masque, theatre and Jacobean history. A major edition of the play for New Cambridge Shakespeare appeared in 2002, and its introduction and reading lists have been thoroughly rewritten and revised in the second edition in 2013. A study of the play's performance history in the Shakespeare at Stratford series from Arden (2003) consolidated earlier work published in article form. I have also mounted a web edition of the script and some pictures of Beerbohm Tree's 1904 production of the play.
Current Research. I am contracted to prepare an edition of Q1 of Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor for the New Cambridge Shakespeare, and am undertaking, with Susan Anderson, an edition of the city pageants of Thomas Heywood for a projected Oxford complete edition. I hope to be contributing to a projected complete edition of the works of Marston, under the general editors Martin Butler and Matthew Steggle, with editions of the two 'Antonio' plays.
I participated in a 'webinar' at the Shakespeare Centre on Shakespeare's birthday, April 23rd, 2012 with Paul Edmondson and Reg Foakes (details at: http://bloggingshakespeare.com/making-shakespeare-a-birthday-webinar) and gave a pre-concert talk on April 29th 2012 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester on music in Shakespeare, as part of a whole day devoted to Shakespeare and Song. I participated in a conference/ colloquium in Turku, Finland, May 23-7 2012 on the theme of 'Community in Early Stuart Drama'. I was appointed Sam Wanamaker Fellow at Shakespeare's Globe for 2013, and gave the Memorial Lecture on January 30th, entitled 'Theatres, Audiences and Shakespearean Music'. I have contributed three articles to The Globe's in-house magazine, and, with Bill Barclay, the Globe's Director of Music, organised an international conference on 'Shakespeare, Music and Performance' in May 2013, from which it is hoped a book of essays will result.
I have now retired from teaching, and so cannot take on new research students. I am happy, however, to advise any student proposing to work, or already engaged in working, on any of the above areas.