Creative Arts

Staff research

Early Modern

The research group is a forum that develops projects, and supports researchers, whether established or early career, where the specialism is an aspect of Early Modern culture or literature.

The Early Modern Research Group is engaged in practising historicised, interdisciplinary, research. Our individual and collaborative projects incorporate the following:

  • Editing Early Modern and Eighteenth-Century Texts
  • Literature and the Public Sphere
  • Shakespeare and his Contemporaries
  • Early Modern Medicine, the Body and Sexuality
  • Religious Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy
  • Early Modern Dietary Culture

Two recent conferences reflect the group’s well-established interest in gender studies: Early Modern Women, Religion, and the Body (Loughborough, 2014), Aphra Behn in her Seventeenth-Century Contexts (Loughborough, 2012).

Recent publications by the group include, Sara Read’s, Flesh and Spirit (edited collection of women’s writing, with Rachel Adcock and Anna Ziomek, 2013), and Claire Bowditch and Elaine Hobby’s special issue of Women’s Writing (an edited collection of essays on Aphra Behn 2015), Joan Fitzpatrick's Three Sixteenth Century Dietaries: A Critical Edition, Revels Companion Library (Manchester University Press, 2017) and her co-authored book A History of Food in Literature from the Fourteenth Century to the Present ( Routledge, 2017).

The group meets on average four times a year, fairly informally, often to hear new research from staff and post-graduates within the group, as well as external speakers, and we are always happy to welcome new members too. Enquiries as to the program should be directed to Catie Gill.

Projects that have developed as a result of individual members’ research interests, their collaborations, and their engagement with groups both inside and outside HE, include:

Editing Aphra Behn in the Digital Age

Prof Elaine Hobby and Dr Claire Bowditch are two of the project leaders of the AHRC-funded project Editing Aphra Behn in the Digital Age, which will produce new editions  of the playwright’s works for Cambridge University Press.

Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre

Dr Catie Gill and Prof Elaine Hobby are on the advisory board for Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre’s projects, including Quaker Studies and the Quaker Studies Research Association.

Women’s Studies Group 1557-1877

Dr Sara Read is WSG’s outreach officer, and has given talks for Tamworth Literary Festival and Loughborough Heritage groups.

Connected Communities

Prof Nigel Wood is an advisor on the AHRC ‘Connected Communities’ scheme.

British Shakespeare Association

Prof Nigel Wood is an advisor on the British Shakespeare Association.

Early Modern Dietary Culture

Dr Joan Fitzpatrick has been involved in a number of projects relating to her expertise on early modern dietary culture, Shakespeare, and his contemporaries. These include 'ExpoShakespeare: Food Onstage' organized by Milan State University (2013- 2016) where she served as a member of the project’s Advisory Board. Dr Fitzpatrick is regularly invited to speak to the media about Shakespeare and dietary culture and was part of BBC Radio Three's 'Big Essay' series in 2016 to mark 400 years since Shakespeare's death. She is on the editorial boards of the peer-reviewed journals Early Modern Culture and Global Food History and is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College.


2000 - 2016

Read, Sara, Menstruation and the Female Body on Early Modern England (Hounslow: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

Read, Sara, Maids, Wives, Widows: Exploring Early Modern Women’s Lives, 1540-1740 (Barnsley: Pen and Sword, 2015)

Fitzpatrick, Joan, A History of Food in Literature from the Fourteenth Century to the Present co-authored with Charlotte Boyce, London: Routledge, 2017,  313pp.

Fitzpatrick, Joan, Shakespeare and the Language of Food: A Dictionary, Continuum/Arden Shakespeare Dictionaries, London: Bloomsbury (formerly Continuum), 2010, 480 pp.

Fitzpatrick, Joan, Food in Shakespeare: Early Modern Dietaries and the Plays, London: Routledge (formerly Ashgate), 2007, 176 pp.

Fitzpatrick, Joan, Shakespeare, Spenser, and the Contours of Britain: Reshaping the Atlantic Archipelago, Hatfield, Hertfordshire: University of Hertfordshire Press, 2004, 208 pp.

Fitzpatrick, Joan, Irish Demons: English Writings on Ireland, the Irish, and Gender by Spenser and his Contemporaries, Lanham MD: University Press of America, 2000, 200 pp.





Adcock, Rachel, Sara Read and Anna Ziomek, eds., Flesh and Spirit: An Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Women’s Writing (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014)

Overton, Bill, ed., The Collected Verse of John, Lord Hervey (1696–1743), with Elaine Hobby and Jim McLaverty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016)

Hobby, Elaine, ed., The Birth of Mankind: Otherwise Named, The Woman's Book Newly Set forth, Corrected, and Augmented. Whose Contents Ye May Read in the Table of the Book, and Most Plainly in the Prologue (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009) 

Fitzpatrick, Joan, ed., Three Sixteenth Century Dietaries: A Critical Edition, Revels Companion Library, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017, 331 pp.

Fitzpatrick, Joan, ed., Renaissance Food from Rabelais to Shakespeare: Culinary Readings and Culinary Histories, London: Routledge (formerly Ashgate), 2010, 170 pp.

Fitzpatrick, Joan, ed.,The Idea of the City: Early Modern, Modern, and Postmodern Locations and Communities, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009, 235 pp.

Book chapters

2010 - 2017

"'Primo Devo Mangiare'. Il Cibo in Shakespeare, Dalle Mele ai Trichechi." Exposhakespeare. Il Sommo Gourmet, Il Cibo e i Cannibali. Edited by Paolo Caponi, Cristina Cavecchi and M. Rose, Milano: Ledizioni, 2016, pp. 17-14, Trans. Paolo Caponi, ISBN 9788867054381. [Italian translation of my book chapter from my edited collection Renaissance Food from Rabelais to Shakespeare (Routledge, formerly Ashgate, 2010) commissioned by Milan State University ].

"Sidney and Spenser." The Year's Work in English Studies. vols. 89-92: Covering Work Published from 2008-2011 (4 publications in 4 years) Edited by William Baker and Kenneth Womack, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010-2013.

Fitzpatrick, Joan, ‘“To lick thy fingers greasy or to dry them upon thy clothes be both unmannerly”: Napkins and Handkerchiefs in early modern drama’, in Food and Material Culture: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2013 (Totnes: Prospect, 2014), pp. 113-122

Fitzpatrick, Joan, ‘Food and Literature: An Overview’, in Routledge International Handbook of Food Studies, ed. by Ken Albala (London: Routledge, 2012), pp. 122-134

Fitzpatrick, Joan, ‘Body and Soul’, in A Cultural History of Food, Volume 3, The Renaissance: 1300-1600, ed. by Ken Albala (Oxford: Berg, 2012), pp. 151-170, 207-209

Fitzpatrick, Joan, ‘The Critical Backstory’, in King Lear: A Critical Guide, Continuum Renaissance Drama, ed. by Lisa Hopkins and Andrew Hiscock (London: Continuum, 2011), pp. 26-55

Fitzpatrick, Joan, "'I Must Eat my Dinner”: Shakespeare's Foods from Apples to Warden-Pies’, in Renaissance Food from Rabelais to Shakespeare: Culinary,  ed. by Joan Fitzpatrick, Readings and Culinary Histories (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010), pp. 127-143.

Fitzpatrick, Joan, ‘The Sixteenth Century (The Renaissance)’, in The English Literature Companion, Palgrave Student Companions, ed. by Julian Wolfreys (London: Palgrave, 2010), pp. 80-86

Gill, Catie, ‘Introduction’, in Theatre and Culture; From Leviathan to Licensing Act. 1650-1737, ed. by Catie Gill (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010), pp. 1-10

Gill, Catie, ‘“Bad Catholics”: Anti-Popery in This is a Short Relation (Katherine Evans and Sarah Cheevers, 1662)’, in Expanding the Canon of Early Modern Women’s Writing, ed. by Paul Salzman (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010), pp. 234-247

Gill, Catie, ‘English Radicalism in the 1650s: The Quaker Search for the True Knowledge’, in Radical Voices, ed. by Laurent Curelly and Nigel Smith (Manchester: Manchester University Press, October 2016)

Gill, Catie, ‘Quakers’, in The Oxford Handbook of Literature and Religion, ed. by Helen Wilcox and Andrew Hiscock (Oxford: Oxford University Press, December 2016).

Hobby, Elaine, ‘Afterword’, in An Collins and the Historical Imagination, ed. by W. Scott Howard (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2014), pp.191-200

Hobby, Elaine, ‘Early-modern Midwifery Manuals and Herbal Practice’, in Critical Approaches to the History of Western Herbal Medicine, ed. by Susan Francia and Anne Stobart (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014), pp.67-86.

Hobby, Elaine, '“Some Things More Material to be Known”: Reading Some Books for the Recovery Project’, in Expanding the Canon of Early Modern Women's Writing, ed. by Paul Salzman (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars, 2010), pp.12-32.

Read, Sara, ‘“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 (Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave, November 2016)

Read, Sara, ‘“Only Kept up by the Credulous and Ignorant”: Eighteenth-Century Responses to the “Poisonous” Nature of Menstrual Blood’, in Great Expectations: Futurity in the Long Eighteenth Century, ed by Mascha Hansen and Jürgen Klein (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2012), pp. 205-222

Wood, Nigel, ‘Pope's Horatian Voice’, in Voice and Context in Eighteenth-Century Verse, ed. by Allan Ingram, and Joanna Fowler, eds (Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2015), pp.11-28

Wood, Nigel, ‘Spleen in Shakespeare's Comedies’, in The Renaissance of Emotion, ed. by Erin Sullivan and Richard Meek (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015), pp.109-129

Wood, Nigel, ‘The Public Sphere and Worldliness’, in English Studies: the State of the Discipline, Past, Present, and Future, ed. by Aymo Brunetti, et al. (Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan), pp.48-66

Wood, Nigel, ‘Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759:Spectatorship, Duty, and Social Improvement’, in Reading 1759: Literary Culture in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain and France, ed. by Shaun Regan, (Lewisberg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2012), pp.76-99

Wood, Nigel, ‘Chasing Allusions in Pope's Fifth Pastoral, "Messiah"’, in Shakespeare, Satire, Academia: Essays in Honour of Wolfgang Weiss, ed. by  Sonja Fielitz and Uwe Meyer (Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Press, 2012), pp.203-215

Wood, Nigel, ‘Civic Humanism: Said, Brecht and Coriolanus’, Towards a New Literary Humanism,  ed. byAndy Mousley (Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp.212-227

Wood, Nigel, ‘Satire’, in The English Literature Companion, ed. by Julian Wolfreys (Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp.181-186

Wood, Nigel, ‘Lyric’, in The English Literature Companion, ed. by Julian Wolfreys, (Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp.177-181

Wood, Nigel, ‘Epic’, in The English Literature Companion, ed. by Julian Wolfreys, (Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 171-177

Wood, Nigel, ‘The “Official” and “Unofficial” Spleen’, in Figures et Culture de la Depression (1660-1800), ed. by Clarke Lawlor and Valérie Maffre (Montpellier: Presses Universitaires de la Mediterranee, 2011), pp.129-141

Journal articles

2010 - 2017

Bowditch, Claire and Elaine Hobby, eds. Women's Writing , Aphra Behn New Contexts and Questions, 22:1 (2015), 1-113

Evans, Jennifer and Sara Read, ‘“Before Midnight she had Miscarried”: Men, Women and Miscarriage in Early Modern England’, Journal for Family History, January (2015) , 3-22

Fitzpatrick, Joan, ‘Diet and Identity in Early Modern Dietaries and Shakespeare,  Shakespeare Studies, Special Issue: 'Food and Identity in Shakespeare's England', 42 (2014), 75-90

Fitzpatrick, Joan, ‘Shakespeare's Sir John Oldcastle and Jonson's Ursula the Pig Woman’, Cahiers Élisabéthains, 79 (2011), 45-46

Fitzpatrick, Joan, ‘Reading Early Modern Food: A Review Article’, Literature Compass, 8 (2011), 118-129

Fitzpatrick, Joan, ‘Teaching and Learning Guide for Reading Early Modern Food’, Literature Compass,  8 (2011), 151-153

Fitzpatrick, Joan, ‘“The 'sweet-gorged Maw”: Feeding and Physic in the Elizabethan Dramatic Life of Sir Thomas More’, Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme, 31: 3 (2008), 51-67

Hobby, Elaine, ‘Introduction: Aphra Behn, New Questions and Contexts’, Women's Writing, 22:1 (2015), 1-12

Hobby, Elaine, 'The World Was Never without Some Mad Men': Aphra Behn, Jane Sharp and the Body’, Women's Writing, 19:2 (2012), 177-191

Hobby, Elaine, ‘"As melancholy as a sick parrot": Depressed(?) Women at the Beginning of the Long Eighteenth Century', Studies in the Literary Imagination, 44:2 (2011), 23-40

Read, Sara, ‘“My Medicine and Methods”: Mary Trye, Chemical Physician’, Early Modern Woman: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 11 (2016), 137-148

Read, Sara, ‘Gushing out Blood’: Defloration and Menstruation in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, Journal for Medical Humanities, (2016)

Read, Sara, ‘When Menopause is not Climacteric’, Notes and Queries, 59.2 (2012),  224-6

Read, Sara, ‘“An Expected Gift”: Literary Resumption of Marital Intimacy from Donne to Updike’, Notes and Queries, 60. 2 (2013), 200-303

Read, Sara, 'A women's revoltHistory Today, August 2015, 6 (2015)

Wood, Nigel, ‘Goldsmith's English Malady’, Studies in the Literary Imagination, 44:1 (2011), 63-83Read, Sara, '"Gushing Out Blood": Defloration and Menstruation in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure'Journal of Medical Humanities, 26 Dec 2016 (2016) 1-13




Gill, Catie and Elaine Hobby, This I Warn You in Love, The Kindlers, (2013). ISBN: 978-0-9562245-5-2.

Public Engagement

Read, Sara, ‘The Age of Purges’, Discover your Ancestors, Issue 2, February 2013, pp. 134-38

Read, Sara, ‘Travail Tales’, Discover your Ancestors, Issue 3, February 2014, pp. 58-63

Read, Sara, ‘The Truth about Beauty’, Discover your Ancestors, Issue 4, February 2015, pp. 141-45

Read, Sara, 'A Women's Revolt', History Today, August 2015, p.6.

Read, Sara, ‘Digging Your Grave with Your Teeth’, Discover your Ancestors, Issue 5, March 2016, pp. 88-93

Read, Sara, 'The Play's the Thing' Discover Your Ancestors Issue 6, December 2016, pp. 127-131

Sara Read is also the co-editor of a blog about gender and medicine in early modernity: Anyone wishing to write a guest post is welcome to contact Sara on

Fitzpatrick, Joan, Public lecture on Shakespeare and Dietary Culture at Harlaxton Manor, Lincolnshire, March 2019.

Fitzpatrick, Joan, Interviewed by Ben Jackson on BBC Radio Leicester's Morning Show, first broadcast September 26, 2018. Discussion about honey and its history and Loughborough Gold honey as part of the university's ongoing sustainability strategy.

Fitzpatrick, Joan, Interviewed by the journalist and food writer Leigh Chavez-Bush and cited as an authority in her article published in the online journal 'Atlas Obscura' ('In Shakespeare, food references are a window to the soul’), December 10, 2018. (

Fitzpatrick, Joan, ‘Charles Dickens and the birth of the classic English Christmas dinner’. Piece commissioned by 'The Conversation' and their lead piece in the week before Christmas, 2018.

Fitzpatrick, Joan, ‘In Conversation with Celebrity Food Writer William Sitwell’. A public event in coordination with RADAR's Arts Festival, 6-15 June 2018.

Fitzpatrick, Joan, Commissioned to write a piece on food and eating habits in early modern England for the 'Ideas' Sunday supplement to the Spanish newspaper EL País (Spain’s best-selling newspaper), August 2016.

Fitzpatrick, Joan, Public talk ('Wolf All?' Shakespeare and Food in Renaissance England’) for BBC Radio Three's 'Big Essay' series to mark 400 years since Shakespeare's death. Delivered to a live audience, recorded by the BBC Outside Broadcast team on 20 April, and broadcast on BBC Radio Three on 24 April 2016. Fee Paid. (BBC Radio 3 has an average of 2.12 million listeners).

Fitzpatrick, Joan, Plenary Lecture (open to the public) on 2 April 2014 as Part of the 'ExpoShakespeare: Food Onstage' project, Milan State University, 2013- 2016.

Fitzpatrick, Joan, Consulted and interviewed on-air in October-November 2011 by the BBC for British Museum Director Neil MacGregor's BBC Radio 4 programme "Shakespeare's Restless World" broadcast on Radio 4 on 18 April 2012. This was a sequel to MacGregor's "A History of the World in 100 Objects", which won the 2011 Art Fund Prize. The 2012 programme in which I was involved led to the publication of a book in which I am cited as an authority (Neil MacGregor, Shakespeare's Restless World, Penguin 2012).

Fitzpatrick, Joan, Public lecture on food in Shakespeare's England at the Globe Theatre, London, November 2011.


Catherine Armstrong, Ahmed Alshuraimi, Claire Bowditch, Lyndsey Bakewell, Catie Gill, Joan Fitzpatrick, Elaine Hobby, Richard Johnson, Julia Kelly, Mick Mangan, Sara Read, Gillian Spraggs, Jenna Townend, Nigel Wood.