PhD Students PhD Students

Blessin Adams is a second year AHRC-funded PhD student (supervised by Prof. Matthew Woodcock and Dr Tom Roebuck) currently researching the legal notebooks and commonplaces of law students at the Inns of Court in the early modern period (1580-1640). Her interest lies in the legal and literary materials found within those manuscripts, and what they can reveal about the cultural, intellectual and professional practises of the men who composed them, as well as the complex relationships that existed between common law thought and humanism on both an individual and institutional level. Along with fellow PhD student Anna Wyatt, Bless is organising an interdisciplinary conference for early modern researchers across CHASE network, which is scheduled to run in the summer of 2019.   

Brett Mottram will embark on his AHRC-funded doctoral research at UEA in October 2018, and will be supervised by Prof. Matthew Woodcock and Mr Tom Rutledge.  His doctoral research will explore the rich variety of ways in which Virgil was read and used in the writings of the important Italian humanist Maffeo Vegio (1407 – 1458), situating these writings within the context of contemporary fifteenth-century responses to Virgil (critical, poetic, educational, and visual), and tracing the influence of Vegio’s works as they were responded to, in turn, in commentaries, woodcuts, and vernacular translations in the later-fifteenth and early-sixteenth centuries, especially in England and Scotland.   

Elaine Rushin's doctoral project will explore the nature of the N-town plays (a complex mix of fifteenth-century dramatic materials compiled in British Library, MS Cotton Vespasian D VIII) as a form of distinctively East Anglian drama. The plays will be examined in relation to a series of important fifteenth-century East Anglian lyric miscellanies, the majority of which remain to be published, and in comparison with the other great extant Corpus Christi cycles from York, Chester and Towneley. The project will cast new light on the relationship between drama and other forms of devotional practice, particularly those of lay piety so prominent in fifteenth-century East Anglia. The project will also respond to the urgent call in medieval drama studies for further attention to be devoted to spectatorship and the experience of local audiences.     

Eleanor Stewart-Pointing is a final year CHASE-funded creative-critical PhD student, supervised by Professor Tiffany Atkinson and Mr Tom Rutledge. Her critical thesis explores Gavin Douglas’s Eneados, a translation of Virgil’s Aeneid into Older Scots completed in 1513. It is concerned with the ways in which Douglas navigates the various tensions inherent in Virgilian sympathy, pity and pietas within the Aeneid and how his own complex ‘rhetoric of pathos’ often emerges in spite of, rather than as a result of, the mediations of the 1501 Ascensius edition from which he worked. The figure who attracts some of the most enduring and troubling sympathy in Virgil’s epic poem is Dido, whose story is re-envisioned in the creative component of the PhD: a book-length collection of poems comprising narrative poems in the voice of Dido as well as sonnets based on individual Latin, Phoenician and Older Scots words that seem in some way to be especially resonant.   

Anna Wall's doctoral project explores how nonconformist female authors directly engaged with, and responded to, the religio-political culture of post-Restoration Britain. Studying archival documents, her PhD interrogates the emergence of an intellectual form of female writing post-1660 which is recorded in the unpublished spaces of notebooks, diaries and letters. Anna is fascinated by the turbulent years of the late-1660s and early-1670s, and exploring how dissenting religious factions each sought to define doctrinal boundaries and forge their own forms of religious association in opposition to the Church of England. Her studies trace Puritanism from its roots in the Reformation - looking at Calvin and later Reformed theologians - to the Declaration of Indulgence in 1687, with a strong focus on manuscript culture and the materiality of early printed books.    

Anna Wyatt is in the first year of a AHRC-funded PhD, supervised by Prof. Matthew Woodcock and Dr Tom Roebuck. Her doctoral thesis aims to examine the note-taking practices of four seventeenth-century figures - Sir Thomas Browne, Dr. Edward Browne, Sir William Dugdale, and John Aubrey - in order to ask how far their methods of collecting and recording information are visible in their printed works; does sporadic note-taking result in an loosely organised publication? Does highly systematic note-taking result in a highly structured publication?  She is also working on a publication which will examine the little-studied notebook of Thomas Browne's daughter, Elizabeth Littleton. She is also organising a two-day conference with a fellow PhD student, Blessin Adams, with the title: 'Early Modern Matters: Materiality and the Archive', which will be held at the UEA in May 2019.