School of the Arts, English and Drama

School staff

Dr Sara Read PGCAP, FHEA

Photo of Dr Sara Read

Lecturer in English

I am a specialist in early modern literature and medicine, specifically focussed on women’s reproductive health, and completed my PhD in 2010 under the supervision of Professor Elaine Hobby. This project was funded by both the Arts and Humanities Research Council (2 years) and Loughborough University (1 year). I have been teaching at the University since beginning my doctoral studies in 2006. After being awarded my PhD I won a post-doctoral research fellowship from the Society for Renaissance Studies (2012-13). I have an MA in early modern writing and an English degree from Loughborough.

In addition to teaching at Loughborough, I have taught as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Worcester (Renaissance Verse), Birmingham City University (Shakespeare Studies), and Newman University (Introduction to Drama). 

Over the years I have taught on a wide range of undergraduate modules. I team teach on our first year introductory modules. This year I contribute to the second year Renaissance Writings module with lectures on early modern plays. I’m co-convening an exciting new third year module The Return of the King: Literature of the Restoration.  In addition I contribute to the MA programme.

I am always happy to receive proposals for PhD topics in areas related to my research interests.

To date, my academic research has focussed on matters relating to women’s reproductive and spiritual health in the early modern era. Although founded in literature studies, my work is very much interdisciplinary, linking literary, cultural, and historical research. My current research expands this to investigate ‘Rhetoric in Early Modern Medical Writing: The Classics, Humour, Politics, Religion’, a book-length study which is a cultural study of how medical writers, both in published texts and in manuscripts, use allusions to Classical stories, humour, and religion to convey their messages, and to make reference to the era’s turbulent politics.

I am concurrently working with departmental colleagues to co-author a volume on humour in the seventeenth century.

My doctoral research was developed into a monograph, Menstruation and the Female Body with Palgrave Macmillan (2013). I then co-edited an anthology of women’s writings about their feelings about their bodily and spiritual health, Flesh and Spirit: An Anthology of Early Modern Women’s Writings for Manchester University Press (2014). This volume included some women whose writing is anthologised and so made available to a wider audience for the first time. I contributed twenty entries to A Biographical Encyclopaedia  of Early Modern Englishwomen: Exemplary Lives and Memorable Acts, 1500-1650 (Routledge, 2016).

My most recent articles and book chapters give a good flavour of my research interests and the outcomes this supports and includes:

‘“Pregnant Women Gaze at the Precious thing their Souls are Set on”: Perceptions of the Pregnant Body in Early Modern Literature’, in Perceptions of Pregnancy from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century, ed. by Jennifer Evans and Ciara Meehan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2 January 2017), pp. 133-160

‘Lady Elizabeth Delaval (1648-1717): Toothworms and Intertextuality’, Notes and Queries, (September 2017)

‘“Gushing out Blood”: Defloration and Menstruation in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure’, Journal for Medical Humanities (26 December 2016)  DOI  10.1007/s10912-016-9426-0

‘“My Medicine and Methods”: Mary Trye, Chemical Physician’, Early Modern Woman: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 11 (Fall 2016), 137-48

“‘Thanksgiving after Twice Miscarrying”: Divine Will, Women, and Miscarriage in Early Modern England’, Women’s History: The Journal of the Women’s History Network, 2.5 (Summer 2016), 11-15

‘“Before Midnight she had Miscarried”: Men, Women and Miscarriage in Early Modern England’, co-authored with Jennifer Evans, Journal for Family History 40.1 (January 2015), 3-23

‘“An Expected Gift”: Literary Resumption of Marital Intimacy from Donne to Updike’, Notes and Queries (June 2013)

‘When Menopause is not Climacteric’, Notes and Queries (June 2012)

One of the joys of my research topics is how much it interests the general public and so leads to substantial works for a general reader. Coming from a foundation of lots of articles in various history magazines (including, History Today, Discover Your Ancestors, Who Do You Think You Are?, Your Family History)in 2015 I published a popular history Maids, Wives, Widows: Exploring Early Modern Women’s Lives, 1540-1740 I have given talks on this book up and down the country and have appeared on BBC regional radio several times. 

In 2017 I co-authored a follow on book Maladies and Medicine: Exploring Health and Healing, 1540-1740 with the founder of the blog I co-edit www.earlymodernmedicine.com.

I have acted as a consultant to a theatre company in a production of Romeo and Juliet

More details of my engagement work can be found on my personal website www.sararead.co.uk

I have been commissioned to write reader reports for books submitted for publication with major academic publishers such as Manchester University Press 

I am on the committee of the Women's Studies Group 1557-1837. At the moment I am co-editing a book to celebrate the group’s thirtieth anniversary.