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Michelle O'Callaghan



Early Modern Literature


EM 109

Building location

Edith Morley

Areas of interest

 My primary research interest is early modern literature and culture, including print and manuscript culture, literary networks, poetic forms, and women’s writing.


Within the department I convene modules in:

· Renaissance Texts and Cultures

· Renaissance Women's Writing

I also contribute to courses in:

· Genre and Context: The Renaissance Stage

· Poetry in English

Research centres and groups

Early Modern Research Centre

Research projects

I research and publish on a range of topics in early modern literature and culture. I am a specialist in literary networks, material cultures, and poetic forms. My first two books, The Shepheards Nation: Jacobean Spenserians and Early Stuart Political Culture (Oxford, 2000) and The English Wits: Literature and Sociability in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2007), explored how literary texts participated in networked social spaces. For Thomas Middleton, Renaissance Dramatist (Edinburgh, 2007), I turned to drama to study Middleton's inventive use of stagecraft. My most recent monograph, Crafting Poetry Anthologies in Renaissance England: Early Modern Cultures of Recreation (Cambridge, 2020), extends the study of materiality from books-as-artefacts to their embodiedness - their crafted, performative, recreational and expressive capacities. I am currently co-writing a book with Sarah Ross and Rosalind Smith, Early Modern Women and the Poetry of Complaint, which comes out of my research into poetic forms and women’s writing. Along with Emma Rhatigan and Jackie Watson, I run a seminar series, Mapping the Early Modern Inns of Court, which is part of a wider research project that explores the Inn as networked social spaces.

Digital humanities are an ongoing area of research interest for me. I co-edited, with Alice Eardley, a searchable digital edition of selected verse miscellanies printed in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Verse Miscellanies Online, and contributed to Early Modern Women’s Complaint Index, along with Sarah Ross, Rosalind Smith, Jake Arthur, and Mitchell Whitelaw.


I am general editor, along with Professor Andrew Hadfield, of the Palgrave Macmillan book series, ‘Early Modern Literature in History’.

I have supervised dissertations on a range of early modern topics, and welcome enquiries from those interested in pursuing early modern studies at postgraduate level.



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