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Humanities and Social Science

Dr Rachel Willie


My research covers seventeenth century literary history and culture. My first book, "Staging the Revolution: drama, reinvention and history, 1647-72" (shortlisted for the University English Early Career Book Prize, 2016) offers a reappraisal of drama, both in terms of live performances and performances on the paper stage. My book argues that, far from 1660 marking a watershed moment as is often asserted in the texts transmitted in the Restoration and assumed to be true by later critics, late seventeenth-century England was concerned with the continuing legacies of recent history and this is revealed in literature printed and disseminated in the period. While researching this book, I became intrigued by the number of anonymous scurrilous pamphlets ‘by the man in the moon’ and I have begun a wider study on ‘long seventeenth-century’ responses to the moon as an embodied and as a philosophical construct. With Kevin Killeen and Helen Smith, both based at the University of York, I co-edited "The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, c. 1530-1700" (winner of the Roland H. Bainton Prize in Reference Works, 2016). More recently, my research has broadened to consider emotions and the senses by drawing from my interests in material cultures and the relationship between literature and the epistemologies that underpin politics, religion and natural philosophy; this is supported by considering the relationship between literature and history. I have ongoing interests in early modern drama, music, cheap print, publicness, the early modern soundscape, history and cultural history, and the history of ideas.

Before joining LJMU in 2016, I taught at Bangor University, the University of Manchester and the University of York. I have taught extensively across all periods of English literary history and interdisciplinary modules on the relationship between music and text. My teaching is fundamentally dialogic, encouraging students to explore ideas through discussion and analysis as a way to extend and stimulate critical thinking. I would be happy to receive proposals for postgraduate research on early modern literature and culture, especially on early modern drama; early modern prose; seventeenth century political thought; early modern science and religion; performance and the paper stage; adaptation; myth and cultural memory; writing history; materialities.


University of York, United Kingdom, PhD in English
King's College London, United Kingdom, MA in English
University of Roehampton, United Kingdom, BA (hons) in English Literature and Music

Academic appointments

Senior Lecturer, Liverpool John Moores Unversity, 2016 - present


Highlighted publications

Killeen K, Smith H, Willie R. 2015. The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, C. 1530-1700 Oxford University Press. Oxford 9780199686971

Willie R. 2015. Staging the Revolution Drama, Reinvention and History, 1647-72 Manchester University Press. Manchester 9780719087639


Willie RJ. 2020. Inscribing Textuality: Milton, Davenant, Authorship and the Performance of Print Depledge E, Garrison J, Nicosia M. Making Milton: Writing, Publication, Reception Oxford University Press >Public Url

Willie RJ. 2017. Translation Hiscock A, Wilcox H. The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern English Literature and Religion Oxford University Press. Oxford 9780199672806 >Public Url

Willie RJ. 2015. 'All Scripture is given by inspiration of God' : Dissonance and psalmody Killeen K, Smith H, Willie R. The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, C. 1530-1700 Oxford University Press, USA. Oxford 9780199686971 >Public Url

Willie RJ. 2013. Viewing the Paper Stage: Civil War, Print, Theatre and the Public Sphere Vanhaelen A, Ward J. Making Space Public in Early Modern Europe Performance, Geography, Privacy Routledge 9781135104665


Willie R. 2018. 'SRS in Wales' Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies :11-12

Willie R. 2016. 'The Great Fire of London' as part of ‘Roundtable: Annus mirabilis 2016 Anniversiaries’ The Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies :5-7

Willie RJ, Gelléri G. 2016. Travel and Conflict in the Medieval and Early Modern World Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies :14-15

Willie RJ. 2015. Rediscovering the Sounds of the Renaissance Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies :30-32

Book review

Willie RJ. 2018. Thomas Traherne in Seventeenth Century Thought, edited by Elizabeth Dodd and Cassandra Gorman (DS Brewer) MLR, :224-226 >DOI

Willie RJ. 2017. Paul D. Stegner, "Confession and Memory in Early Modern English Literature: Penitential Remains" Renaissance Quarterly, 70 :399-401 >DOI

Willie RJ. 2016. Sophie Chiari (ed.), "The Circulation of Knowledge in Early Modern English Literature" Renaissance Quarterly, :1572-1574 >DOI

Willie RJ. 2016. Michael Bryson, "The Atheist Milton" Modern Language Review, 111 :540-41 >DOI

Willie RJ. 2016. Neil Rhodes (ed.) with Gordon Kendal and Louise Wilson, "English Renaissance Translation Theory" Modern Language Review, 111 :536-538 >DOI

Willie RJ. 2016. Cary DiPietro and Hugh Grady (eds), "Shakespeare and the Urgency of Now" Modern Language Review, :849-850 >DOI

Willie RJ. 2016. Richard Meek and Erin Sullivan, The Renaissance of Emotion: Understanding Affect in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries Shakespeare Bulletin: a journal of performance, criticism, and scholarship, 34 :187-192 >DOI

Willie RJ. 2015. Maria Teresa Micaela Prendergast, "Railing, Reviling and Invective in English Literary Culture, 1588-1617: The Anti-Poetics of Theater and Print" Modern Language Review, 110 :526-527 >DOI

Willie RJ. 2012. Review of West Yorkshire Playhouse’s production of William Shakespeare’s "King Lear", dir. by Ian Brown Shakespeare, 8 :97-91 >DOI

Willie RJ. 2010. Kathryn Lowerre, "Music and Musicians on the London Stage, 1695-1705" NTQ: New Theatre Quarterly, 26 :302-303 >DOI

Willie RJ. 2009. Review of The Mooted Theatre Company’s production of John Ford’s "’Tis Pity She’s a Whore", dir. by Mark France Shakespeare, 5 :194-197 >DOI

Willie RJ. 2008. Ayanna Thompson, "Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage" Cahiers Elisabethains: late medieval and renaissance English studies, 74 :87-88 >DOI

Willie R. Leah Orr, "Novel Ventures: Fiction and Print Culture in England, 1690-1739" (The University of Virginia Press, 2017) Modern Language Review,

Willie R. Dennis Austin Britton and Melissa Walter, eds, "Rethinking Shakespeare Source Study: Audiences, Authors and Digital Technologies" (Routledge, 2018) Renaissance Quarterly,

Internet publication

Willie RJ. 2017. SRS at English Shared Futures

Willie RJ. 2014. Edmund Spenser, "The Shepherdes Calendar"

Willie R. 2014. William Shakespeare, "The Two Gentlemen of Verona’"

Journal article

Willie RJ. 2017. Sensing the visual (mis)representation of William Laud SPELL: Swiss Papers in English Language and Literature, 34 :183-210 >Public Url

Willie RJ. 2011. Sacrificial Kings and Martyred Rebels: Charles and Rainborowe Beatified Études Épistémè, 20

Willie RJ. 2008. Spiritual Union and the Problem of Sexuality Milton Studies, 47 :168-184


Killeen K, Smith H, Willie R. 2015. The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, C. 1530-1700 Oxford University Press. Oxford 9780199686971

Willie R. 2015. Staging the Revolution Drama, Reinvention and History, 1647-72 Manchester University Press. Manchester 9780719087639

Engagement & Impact

Conference presentation:

‘“His Time was short, and yours is coming on; Old Oliver had his”: remembering and forgetting the civil war’, Bangor Conference on the Restoration, Bangor University, Oral presentation 30/07/2019

‘“both of one humour”: excess passion in The Rover’, Approaches to Aphra Behn’s The Rover: Text, Teaching and Performance’, Shakespeare Association of America 47th Annual Conference (invited speaker), Washington DC, Oral presentation 17/04/2019

‘William Cavendish, Virtue, Virtuosity, and the Image of the Courtier’, Literature and the Early Modern State (invited speaker), Magdalene College Cambridge, Oral presentation 04/04/2019

Under the Rose: Architecture and Secrecy at Speke Hall, Public lecture with Serena Korda, The Bluecoat, Oral presentation 30/03/2019

Chair, moderator and closing remarks, roundtable discussion, The Architecture of the Soundscape Workshop, University of British Columbia, Oral presentation 22/03/2019

‘Voices, Books and Music’s Effects’ panel, Early Modern Global Soundscapes’, University of York, Chair and Respondent 25/01/2019

‘Rogues, Roundheads and Royalist Satire: Singing the Restoration’, Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies Research Seminar (invited speaker), University of York, Oral presentation 24/01/2019

Early Modern Sermons: Performances and Afterlives, closing roundtable discussion, Early Modern English Preaching c.1500-c.1700, University of Sheffield, Roundtable 02/11/2018

‘“I found then by this experience that which no Philosopher ever dreamed of”: Knowledge, Doubt and the Moon’, Plague, Pastors and Lunatics: Religion and the Circulation of Knowledge panel, Society for Renaissance Studies 8th Biennial Conference, University of Sheffield, Oral presentation 03/07/2018

‘“These be the humours that content me best”: time and [e]motion in John Lyly’s "The Woman in the Moon"’,, Time and Emotion Seminar, Shakespeare Association of America 46th Annual Conference, Los Angeles, Oral presentation 28/03/2018

Inscribing Textuality: Milton, Davenant, Authorship and the Performance of Print, Making Milton: Print, Politics and Genre, Renaissance Societry of America Annual Conference, New Orleans, Oral presentation 22/03/2018

Rumps, Songs and Revelry: the Stuart Restoration and Arbitrary Period Boundaries, CUSO Workshop: Restoration and the Long Eighteenth Century: Concept and Metaphor (Invited Speaker), University of Geneva, Switzerland, Oral presentation 04/11/2017

‘he must be a Prelate as the Beast is’: Pope Laud, Remembering the Reformation, University of Cambridge, Oral presentation 07/09/2017

‘he must be a Prelate as the Beast is’: Anti-Laudian Revelation, English Research Seminar (invited speaker), LJMU, Oral presentation 07/03/2017

Private Grief and Public Passions: Anatomising the King's Two Bodies, QMCRLE / joint Research Seminar (invited speaker), Queen Mary, University of London, Oral presentation 14/12/2016

”Were not their eares to them, as pretious as your nostrils can be to you”: Sensing Trust, Sensing Authority, Trust and Risk in Literature network meeting (invited speaker), University of Yamanshi, Kofu, Japan, Oral presentation

'Against his better knowledge not deceived': Trust, risk and the rhetoric of affect in "Paradise Lost", Trust and Risk in Literature network meeting, Aarhus University, Denmark, Oral presentation

Lunar Travel and Lunacy: Reading the Early Modern Moon, School of English Literature Research Seminar (invited speaker), Bangor University, Oral presentation

The past, present and future of Milton Studies Roundtable Discussion, British Milton Seminar (invited speaker), Birmingham, Oral presentation

:‘New-Modelled Masques: (Re)presenting Colonialism in Late Seventeenth Century Entertainments, Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS), (invited speaker), Wales-wide videolink, Oral presentation

:Inscribing Textuality: Milton, Anti-theatricalism and the Performance of Print’, British Milton Seminar, Birmingham, British Milton Seminar (invited speaker), Birmingham, Oral presentation

Primates and portraits: the Visual (Mis)representation of William Laud, SAMEMES Conference: What is an Image in Medieval and Early Modern England?, University of Zurich, Oral presentation

Family Ties and Textual Ruptures: Representing Rupert of the Rhine in the English Civil War, Society for Renaissance Studies 7th Biennial Conference, Glasgow University, Oral presentation

Anatomizing the King’s Two Bodies: Regicide and Bloody Passions, Bloody Passions: Extreme Emotions in Early Modern Literature and Culture, University of Portsmouth, Oral presentation

Private Grief and Public Passion: Remembering and Reinventing the English Civil War, Compassion in Early Modern Culture conference (1550-1700), University of Amsterdam, Oral presentation

“Without meditation all reading is vaine”: Hearing, Seeing and Sensing Words, Voices and Books 1500-1800, University of Newcastle, Oral presentation

Re/De-Polluting the Body Politic: Ballads on the Stage and Page, Shakespeare Association of America 43rd Annual Conference, Vancouver, Oral presentation

Old/New World Immunity: Mediating Kingship in "The History of Sir Francis Drake" (1659), Renaissance Society of America 61st Annual Conference, Berlin, Oral presentation

‘“this reading of books is a pernicious thing”: Journeys of the Mind in The Emperor of the Moon (1687), Society for Renaissance Studies 6th Biennial Conference, University of Southampton, Oral presentation

Restoring Rogues: Tudor Vagabonds and Roundhead Reputations, Early Modern Soundscapes, Bangor University, Oral presentation

Allegorical Uncertainty in "The Cruelty of the Spaniards in Peru" (1656), Images of Kingship in Britain and Ireland, 1649-1714, Bangor University, Oral presentation

Pope Laud, Popes and the Papacy in Early Modern English Culture, University of Sussex, Oral presentation

“The isle is full of noises”: Reconceptualising The Tempest, Shakespeare Association of America 41st Annual Conference, Toronto, Oral presentation

“Of two good playes to make one bad”: Restoring Shakespeare, On Page and Stage: Shakespeare, 1590-1890, Bangor University, Oral presentation

Reformed Drama: William Davenant and Literary Aesthetic, Society for Renaissance Studies 5th Biennial Conference, University of Manchester, Oral presentation

The Royal Actor Revisited: Regicide, Narrative and Cultural Memory, Shakespeare Association of America 40th Annual Conference, Boston, Oral presentation

Two Kings and No Bodies: Debating the Body Politic, The Royal Body conference, Royal Holloway, University of London, Oral presentation

Conference organisation:

Performance and the Paper Stage, 1640-1695 seminar, Shakespeare Association of America 45th Annual Meeting, Atlanta

Early Modern Soundscapes, Organiser

Travel and Conflict in the Medieval and Early Modern World, co-organiser

Early modern Wales: Space, Place and Displacement, Co-organiser,

The Bible in the Seventeenth Century, Co-organiser

Editorial boards:

Etudes Epistémè, Member of Scientific Committee,

Renaissance Studies, Book Reviews Editor,

External collaboration:

Lancaster University, ESSE Bid-Writing Workshop: Trust and Risk: Early Modern Experiences, McGill University, Making Publics Project (joined project in 2009), UCL, The Academic Book of the Future (individual collaborator), Aarhus University, Trust and Risk in Literature Research Network (funded by the Danish Research Council)

External committees:

Council, Society for Renaissance Studies, Trustee,

Council, Society for Renaissance Studies, Web Editor


MaPs Summer Fellow, McGill University, Montreal

Folger Short Term Fellowship, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC

Membership of professional bodies:

Member, Renaissance Society of America

Member, Shakespeare Association of America

Member (and Council Member), Society for Renaissance Studies

Other invited event:

CUSO Workshop: Restoration and the Long Eighteenth Century: Concept and Metaphor, University of Geneva, Switzerland, Lecture and the facilitating of a seminar mainly for PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers as part of a workshop organised under the auspices of the Conference Universitaire de Suisse Occidentale (CUSO) network of Swiss Universities.

Research Grants Awarded:

Arts and Humanities Research Council, Soundscapes in the Early Modern World, Emilie Murphy, University of York, Grant value (£): 45,474, Duration of research project: 19 Months

Teaching qualification: