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Harry Newman


  • Phone+44 1784 276423
  • TW20 0EX

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Personal profile

Personal profile

I joined Royal Holloway in 2015 after lecturing at the University of Kent for two years. My primary research interests are in early modern literature, gender & sexuality, language & rhetoric, material culture, theatre & book history, and the history of medicine and technology. My first book, Impressive Shakespeare: Identity, Authority and the Imprint in Shakespearean Drama, was published by Routledge in 2019. (See examples of reviews in Renaissance Quarterly 73.3, Early Theatre 23.1, Shakespeare Studies 48, and The Review of English Studies 71.299.) Other publications include articles in the journals ShakespeareShakespeare BulletinRenaissance Drama, The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies and Lives and Letters, a special issue on "Metatheatre and Early Modern Drama" for Shakespeare Bulletin (co-edited with Sarah Dustagheer, vol. 36 no. 1, 2018), and book chapters in The Book Trade in Early Modern England: Practices, Perceptions, Connections, ed. John Hinks and Victoria Gardner (Oak Knoll Press/British Library, 2014), and Medical Paratexts, Medieval to Modern: Dissecting the Page, ed. Diane Scott and Hannah Tweed (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

My current project, The Birth of Character, investigates the rise of character as a concept and a commodity in early modern literature, theatre, art and culture, as well as its central role in the history of criticism. It aims to interrogate and diversify the stories we tell about the development of virtual humanity across time, creating new cultural histories of character and characterisation. I've won fellowships to research the project at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. I recently edited a special issue on "Character Beyond Shakespeare" for the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies (vol. 21 no. 2, 2021), and am currently co-editing (with Eoin Price) Reprints and Revivals of Renaissance Drama: Repetition and Renewal in Print and Performance (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press, 2023).

You can watch me being interviewed about some of my latest research by Andy Kesson here. And click here to watch my short video on "Life Behind the Paywall: How fictional characters became commodities, from Shakespeare to Netflix," which won the Modern Language Association "Humanities in Five" competition in 2021.

I am particularly interested in supervising PhD projects on Shakespeare and early modern literature that focus on the canon and literary/cultural history; gender & sexuality; character and selfhood; language, rhetoric & metaphor; material culture; theatre history; book history; the history of medicine; or the history of technology.

At present, I teach and lecture on the following modules:

  • EN1106 Shakespeare
  • EN2010 Renaissance Literature
  • EN3011 Advanced Shakespeare: The Problem Plays
  • EN3125 Character and Selfhood in Early Modern Literature
  • EN5733 The Tempest (MA in English Literature programme)
  • EN5734 King Lear (MA in English Literature programme)

Education/Academic qualification

Shakespearean Drama, PhD, University of Birmingham


English Literature, MA, University of Leeds


English Language and Literature, University of Leeds