ABL #58,  7 July, 2020

Julia Ftacek tells us about her work on trans literature in the eighteenth century and beyond, including ‘a surprisingly trans-feminine’ Gulliver’s Travels. She emphasises this period as the moment of transition between the idea of gender as having┬áno biological destiny and the rise of┬áscientific rationality and the idea of sexual anatomy dictating gender.

ABL #57,  6 July, 2020

Last month, archaeologist Stephen White of University College London announced the discovery of the Red Lion site, an often-forgotten Elizabethan playhouse that is the earliest we know of. Theatre historian Holger Syme discusses the implications of this discovery, especially the way that archaeological discoveries of the past thirty-five years seem to be cumulatively disproving the idea of the thrust stage.

For more on the earliest years of the London playhouses, see Holger’s theatre history posts on his website,, as well as the Before Shakespeare project, on the earliest years of the London playhouses, for which Holger is an advisor,

Like so many early modern performances, this film guest stars his very excited dog…

ABL #7,  31 March, 2020

Eleanor Janega tells us about medieval European sex positivity, Black Death and revolution, and argues that the fourteenth century was ‘the best century’.