Robert Stagg



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I have joined the Shakespeare Institute from the University of Oxford for a three-year Leverhulme Early-Career Research Fellowship. I was an undergraduate at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and a masters student at Exeter College, Oxford, where I won the longstanding Charles Oldham Shakespeare Prize for best postgraduate work on a subject pertaining to Shakespeare. I then took up a Wolfson-funded PhD at the University of Southampton with associate status at the University of London (where I was a Wolfson Postgraduate Scholar in the Humanities), which I finished in 2018. During my Leverhulme fellowship, I will continue as a Senior Member of St Anne’s College, Oxford.

I have been awarded various research fellowships including a Berlin Sessions Visiting Fellowship in (unsurprisingly) Berlin (2020); a Pforzheimer Visiting Research Fellowship at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas (2019); a Wolfson Visiting Research Fellowship at the New York Public Library (2017); a Tom Jarman Research Fellowship at Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden (2017); and a Jubilee Education Fund grant to research in the Royal Shakespeare Company archives in Stratford-upon-Avon (2015).

More recently, I have been appointed to the Arden Shakespeare advisory board as one of the first Arden Fourth Series Fellows, working with the general editors and individual volume editors to shape the future direction of this prestigious series which has so many ties with the Institute. I also received an 'honourable mention' (runner-up award) in the London Renaissance Seminar's inaugural 'Contribution Awards' for "outstanding contributions to the field of the Renaissance".

Research interests

My first book Shakespeare's Blank Verse: An Alternative History will be published in 2022 by Oxford University Press. I am now at work on another book, provisionally titled Forms of Desire: Sex and the Sonnet in Early Modern Europe, as well as a number of articles.

I have published articles in The Review of English Studies (about blank verse 'bombast'), Shakespeare Survey (about supernatural metre), Essays in Criticism (about bathos) and Studies in Philology (about feminine rhyme and boy actors). I have also published peer-reviewed chapters in three edited collections, The Edinburgh Companion to Literature and Music (ed. Delia da Sousa Correa), Reading the Road: Shakespeare's Crossways to Bunyan's Highways (ed. Lisa Hopkins and William Angus), and Humorality in Early Modern Art, Material Culture, and Performance (ed. Kaara Peterson and Amy Kenny). The first is a short polemic against the notion of a 'music of poetry', the second is about the problem of representing pedestrian travel onstage, and the third is about versification and the humors. I have a further chapter forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Sir Philip Sidney (ed. Catherine Bates) which traces the intellectual and continental history of Sidney's versification, and am editing a special issue of the British Shakespeare Association's journal Shakespeare which is titled 'Shakespeare and Versification'. Finally, I sometimes review new books on Shakespeare and early modern literature for The Times Literary Supplement and a number of academic journals.

This work has been supported by major (1-3 year) research funding from the Leverhulme Trust, the Wolfson Foundation and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.


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