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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 no biological destiny and the rise of scientific 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, http://www.dispositio.net, as well as the Before Shakespeare project, on the earliest years of the London playhouses, for which Holger is an advisor, BeforeShakespeare.com.

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

ABL #56,  3 July, 2020

John Heywood played, wrote and worked for Henry Tudor and each of his three legitimate children. Greg Walker has written the first full literary biography of Heywood, and shows us how he engaged directly with the politics of his period. We also hear about Heywood’s later celebrity reputation and the importance of using performance to explore early Tudor plays.

ABL #55,  2 July, 2020

David McInnis and Matt Steggle tell us about their work on the lost plays of Shakespeare’s period, when plays are much more likely to be lost than to survive. They share insights into the wealth of information we have on lost plays and the theatrical culture they were part of.

ABL #54,  1 July, 2020

Happy Canada Day! In celebration, Canada’s finest and wisest queer poetics professor tells us about his new book, Shakespeare and Queer Representation and literature as an art of construction and decoration, an ‘aesthetically-ambitious art made out of words’.



ABL #43,  4 June, 2020

When is a coconut not a coconut? When it’s a cup! Kathleen Kennedy explores the history of coconuts and their uses as drinking vessels in Renaissance Europe. Yes we have migrating coconuts. Yes there is a Monty Python reference.

ABL #18,  17 April, 2020

Sarah O’Malley chats to Emma Whipday about the Jamestown ‘Massacre’, domestic violence today, and how literature can help us rethink our future.

ABL #15,  14 April, 2020

Sarah Grange tells us about Moll Frith (also known as Mary Frith), an early modern crossdresser, queer and transgender history and performance: ‘how to meet those people who lie outside of the cishet, white male trajectory of progressive history: not the dudes on horses’.

ABL #14,  9 April, 2020

Sydnee Wagner describes the experience of researching Roma history in early modern English archives, and explores how the concepts of whiteness and race were created.

ABL #12,  8 April, 2020

Mathew Lyons puts the current lockdown into historical perspectives, and suggests that ‘though we are separated by space, we aren’t necessarily separated by time’.

ABL #11,  7 April, 2020

Michael Lewis of the British Museum and Liz Oakley-Brown of Lancaster University talk about the importance of things in the classroom and in writing history: how can we learn more about cultures of the past through metal detector finds or site visits?

ABL #10,  3 April, 2020

Catherine Richardson tells us about early modern English everyday life, material culture and literature, and the challenges of working between the worlds of literature and history and the worlds of texts and objects.

ABL #9,  3 April, 2020

Rebecca Rideal talks to us about diversity and representation in both historical topics and the people who get to tell those stories.

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’.

ABL #6,  27 March, 2020

Travis Chi Wing Lau tells us about the long history of disability pride and the ethics of collaboration, showing how the eighteenth century is an unusual but useful place for thinking about disability, before the category emerges or becomes ‘an identifiable marker of bodily self’.

ABL #5,  27 March, 2020

Brandi Adams tells us about the history of reading and the history of the book, literature, race and the canon. She asks us to think about what gets pushed to the margins of the page, the margins of literary history and the margins of conversation about literature.

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