Chris Laoutaris

Colleges, School and Institutes

Biography

I pursued all my degrees at University College London where I was awarded the Morley Medal in English, the Ker Memorial Prize in English, and accorded a place on the Dean’s List for Academic Achievement. Shortly afterwards I was shortlisted for the Eric Gregory Poetry Awards and awarded a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship for Shakespeare and the Countess: The Battle that Gave Birth to the Globe, which was shortlisted for the Tony Lothian Prize for Biography (sponsored by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch).

My first book was entitled Shakespearean Maternities: Crises of Conception in Early Modern England (Edinburgh), and I have been a contributor to two of Ashgate Press’s Studies in Performance and Early Modern Drama series of books, as well as author of a survey of activist female translators and historical writers for Palgrave Macmillan’s History of British Women’s Writing: 1500-1610, which won the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women Collaborative Project Award and was called ‘a landmark volume’. I am also contributor to The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare’s First Folio, edited by Emma Smith, among other academic publications.

While at University College London I was a Renaissance Literature and Shakespeare Course Convenor, served as a member of the UCL Centre for Early Modern Exchanges Steering Committee and was a member of both the UCL Board of Studies and Board of Examiners. Following that I moved to the Shakespeare Institute, initially as a Birmingham Fellow, to pursue a project on Shakespeare’s First Folio (forthcoming from HarperCollins: William Collins). HarperCollins secured the rights for my next two books in competition with several other major commercial publishers.

Research interests

Particular areas of interest include the history of the Blackfriars and Globe theatres; Renaissance anatomy and dissection; witchcraft, ritual and superstition in early modern England; Renaissance satiric utterance; early modern natural-historical enquiry; cultures of melancholy; the literature and material culture of wonder and curiosity; early modern figurations of monstrosity; funerary monuments and the Renaissance death-ritual; connections between Renaissance portraiture and literature; the uses of emblems in dramatic literature; early modern robotics, artificial life and post-humanism; the literary and political uses of Tacitism; the circle of the Earl of Essex; Renaissance politics; Puritanism; maternity, women’s history and indomitable female figures of the Renaissance.

I particularly enjoy interdisciplinary approaches to the study of Shakespeare and Renaissance literature, combining techniques used in art-historical, archaeological, biographical, and medical forms of historical enquiry. My interest in England’s heritage and my methodological approach has involved me in direct on-site research at archaeological sites, castles, stately homes, museums, churches and cathedrals, grottoes and follies, auction-houses, private collections, galleries, English cultural heritage sites and other historic buildings.

I firmly believe that sound research grounded in palaeographical experience and training in the archives is a crucial means of learning about Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The cornerstone of all my publications/projects has always been contact with original manuscript and source material, and I have extensive experience of working with state papers, letters, diaries, wills, property deeds, heraldic documents, funerary itineraries, receipt books, medical treatises, epitaphic inscriptions, anatomical fugitive sheets, legal texts, privy council acts, and trial documents.

Willingness to take PhD students

Yes

PhD projects

I am currently supervising or co-supervising subjects as diverse as Shakespeare’s military spouses; Shakespeare in applied theatre settings; Shakespeare and the body; and the menopausal female body in Shakespeare. I have also been involved in the supervision of doctoral students in the following areas: infanticide in Early Modern England; elite female self-starvers in Renaissance England; and Shakespeare and Domestic Tragedy. I would be interested in hearing from prospective doctoral students working in any areas covering my main research interests (see ‘Research’ section below).