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Dr Esther Osorio Whewell

Early modern literature, poetry, religious writing

Esther Osorio Whewell is a Junior Research Fellow, working mostly on poetic writing in the early modern period.

Academic interests

My research thinks about different ways that prayer and poetry – printed, spoken, sung – overlap in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century writing. I am interested in how styles and strategies of teaching at school and university might produce particular forms of literary writing, and how recovering the historical ins and outs of education in a specific time and place (say, Cambridge in the 1590s) might help us read literary texts by its students.

My PhD asked these questions of the poet Edmund Spenser and the bishop Lancelot Andrewes, two writers who attended the same school and then the same university college in Cambridge (Pembroke) at the same time. In it I thought about books with curly braces in, praying by poetic stanzas, and the theological potency of little words like ‘This’, ‘That’ and ‘And’.

More widely, I am interested in: the history of the book and material texts (and immaterial ones); histories of reading (especially with punctuation marks – on the page, and in performance); cognitive approaches to literature; modernist and contemporary poetry and poetics.

Degrees obtained

  • BA, Cambridge.
  • MSt, Oxford.

Publications, links and resources

  • ‘For the Sake of the Arguments: Reading the Headnotes to The  Faerie Queene, Review of English Studies, 71.300 (2020): 460-485 (article).
  • ‘A Doctor of another facultie: Robert Aylett and Early Modern Interdisciplinary Poetics’, English Literary Renaissance (article, forthcoming 2020).
  •  ‘Souvenir: Lucie Brock-Broido’s True Kitsch’, in Forms of Late Modernist Lyric, ed. Edward Allen (Liverpool University Press, forthcoming 2020) (book chapter).
  • ‘Prose Rhythm’, in The Oxford Handbook of Thomas Nashe, ed. Kate De Rycker, Andrew Hadfield, and Jennifer Richards (Oxford University Press, forthcoming c.2021) (book chapter).
  •  ‘Like This: Jeff Dolven, Senses of Style: Poetry before Interpretation (University of Chicago Press, 2017)’, The Cambridge Quarterly 47.3 (2018): 285-90 (book review).

Hear from students


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