Shakespeare’s Elizabeth

I am rapidly approaching completion of a PhD at University College London which examines the intellectual and literary life of Elizabeth I, focusing on her decision in 1593 to translate from Latin, during her leisure hours, Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy. As this page’s title suggests, my work is also about how Elizabethan poets and playwrights imagined Elizabeth – and how Elizabeth’s learning allowed her to influence that representation. As a feminist scholar, I’m interested in the trope of the ‘learned lady’, as it emerged out of Erasmian humanism – and whether Elizabeth sought to distance herself from the feminine limitations of the model. I remain fascinated by Shakespeare’s queens.

I originally studied classics at Oxford, before continuing my studies at Yale in comparative literature and eventually working on Shakespeare at UCL, and I have always been interested in the broad sweep of European intellectual history. This space on my website is mainly for me to post updates on the more academic side of my life, including responses to scholarly discussions online, but I’m also cross-posting any of my more general writing that seems particularly relevant.

Learn from Elizabeth I, Cameron: a named successor is a shroud

Posted on Mar 24, 2015 | 0 comments

written for The Spectator, 24th March 2015   As Fraser Nelson says on this morning’s Spectator podcast, David Cameron will likely be regretting yesterday’s announcement for the rest of his premiership. He’s not a ripe watermelon; highlighting that he has a best before date won’t encourage...

Read More

In an age of ISIS, we need to think critically about saints like Thomas More

Posted on Feb 19, 2015 | 0 comments

written for The Spectator, 19 February 2015 Next week, in the final episode of the BBC’s Wolf Hall, we’ll see Anne Boleyn face death by beheading. But if you watched last night’s episode, you’ll know – accurately – that in her final months, she grew to fear something far worse, death by burning....

Read More

Wolf Hall, BBC Two review: ‘no heart of darkness, just bad lighting’

Posted on Jan 22, 2015 | 0 comments

Wolf Hall, Episode One, reviewed for The Spectator, 22 January 2015   It starts in darkness. And no, it’s not a metaphor for the crooked timber of the human heart, it’s just bad lighting. Stanley Kubrick sourced his cameras from NASA in order to capture candlelight in his eighteenth-century...

Read More

Wolf Hall / Bring Up The Bodies, Aldwych Theatre

Posted on May 25, 2014 | 0 comments

Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, Aldwych Theatre, reviewed for The Spectator, 25 May 2014. In Hilary Mantel’s Tudor England, it never stops raining. As she writes in her evocative programme note for the RSC stage adaptation of  Wolf Hall, she first envisaged the life of Henry VIII’s political fixer,...

Read More

The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Shakespeare’s Globe

Posted on Feb 27, 2014 | 0 comments

reviewed for The Spectator, 27 February 2014 If Monty Python were working in 1607, they might have come up with something like Francis Beaumont’s raucous The Knight of the Burning Pestle. A parody of popular chivalric romances of the day, the play follows the adventures of Rafe, an oafish grocer’s...

Read More

Ssssh! Can someone shut up the chattering oldies in the British Library?

Posted on Feb 13, 2014 | 0 comments

written for The Telegraph, 13 February 2014 The oldsters in the Manuscripts Room are as bad as Mrs Richards I’m spending today – and most of the next month – in the Manuscripts Room of the British Library, poring over the clear italic handwriting of the first English writer to translate Euripides, the...

Read More