Dr Tessa Storey

Personal profile

Tessa was awarded a PhD in History and Civilization from the European University Institute in  Florence, in 1999. Her thesis was titled “Questo Negozio è Aromatićhissimo” A Sociocultural study of Prostitution in Early Modern Rome, supervised by Dame Professor Olwen Hufton and Prof. Laurence Fontaine. She had earlier received a first class degree in Italian Studies with History at Exeter University in 1993, followed by an MA in History from Exeter in 1994. Following her PhD she was awarded a three year Leverhulme Special Research Fellowship which she held at Royal Holloway, and subsequently taught part-time on the Early Modern European History MA.

Tessa’s book Carnal Commerce in Counter Reformation Rome, which appeared in 2008 with OUP is based broadly on her PhD research, as are six articles which explore various themes related to prostitution in early modern Rome, such as the identities of prostitutes, the material culture of prostitution, the circulation of second hand goods and concepts of masculinity. 

In 2006 she began working as research associate  for David Gentilcore at Leicester University on a Wellcome Trust funded project ‘Italian Receipts Database,’  which prompted a shift in her research interests to the history of medicine in early modern Italy, leading to an article on the making of potions  and ‘secrets’ in early seventeenth-century Rome . This was followed by her appointment in 2009 as  Research Associate for Prof. Sandra Cavallo in the Department of History at RHUL on a Wellcome Funded Project “Healthy Homes and Healthy Bodies in Late Renaissance Italy.” As a result of this research she and Sandra Cavallo have co-authored a book entitled Healthy Living in Late Renaissance Italy, which appeared with  Oxford University Press in the autumn of 2013, and was awarded the Ronald Bainton Prize for History 2014 by the Sixteenth Century Society. They have also co-authored an article on ideas of health and exercise amongst the Italian aristocracy, due to appear with Ashgate in 2015. At present they are co-editing a volume on the role of the non-naturals in early modern Italy and England to be published by Chatto and Pickering in 2016, entitled Conserving Health in Early Modern Culture: Bodies and Environments in Early Modern Italy and England, to which Tessa is also contributing a chapter comparing English and Italian health regimen.

Tessa is also jointly engaged in research into the practices and knowledge surrounding the production, use and detection of illicit substances –particularly poisons-in early seventeenth-century Rome,  with Dr. Silvia De Renzi of the Open University.

She is also intending to continue research into debates around the problem of varieties of melancholy in early modern Rome.

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