Rachel Willie

My research covers seventeenth century literary history and culture. My first book, Staging the Revolution: drama, reinvention and history, 1647-72 (shortlisted for the University English Early Career Book Prize, 2016) offers a reappraisal of drama, both in terms of live performances and performances on the paper stage. My book argues that, far from 1660 marking a watershed moment as is often asserted in the texts transmitted in the Restoration and assumed to be true by later critics, late seventeenth-century England was concerned with the continuing legacies of recent history and this is revealed in literature printed and disseminated in the period. While researching this book, I became intrigued by the number of anonymous scurrilous pamphlets ‘by the man in the moon’ and I have begun a wider study on ‘long seventeenth-century’ responses to the moon as an embodied and as a philosophical construct. With Kevin Killeen and Helen Smith, both based at the University of York, I co-edited The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, c. 1530-1700 (winner of the Roland H. Bainton Prize in Reference Works, 2016). More recently, my research has broadened to consider emotions and the senses by drawing from my interests in material cultures and the relationship between literature and the epistemologies that underpin politics, religion and natural philosophy; this is supported by considering the relationship between literature and history. I have ongoing interests in early modern drama, music, cheap print, publicness, the early modern soundscape, history and cultural history, and the history of ideas.

Before joining LJMU in 2016, I taught at Bangor University, the University of Manchester and the University of York. I have taught extensively across all periods of English literary history and interdisciplinary modules on the relationship between music and text. My teaching is fundamentally dialogic, encouraging students to explore ideas through discussion and analysis as a way to extend and stimulate critical thinking. I would be happy to receive proposals for postgraduate research on early modern literature and culture, especially on early modern drama; early modern prose; seventeenth century political thought; early modern science and religion; performance and the paper stage; adaptation; myth and cultural memory; writing history; materialities.



University of York, PhD in English
King’s College London, MA in English
University of Roehampton, BA (hons) in English Literature and Music


Staging the Revolution: Drama, Reinvention and History, 1647-72 (Manchester University Press, 2015)

The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, c. 1530-1700, ed. Kevin Killeen, Helen Smith and Rachel Willie (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Sensing the visual (mis)representation of William Laud‘, SPELL: Swiss Papers in English Language and Literature, 34 (2017), 183-210

Sacrificial Kings and Martyred Rebels: Charles and Rainborowe Beatified’, Etudes Epistémè special issue Poétique de la catastrophe? Représentations du régicide aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles en Europe, 20 (2011)

‘Spiritual Union and the Problem of Sexuality’, Milton Studies, 47 (2008), 168 -184

 Chapters in Edited Collections

‘Translation’ in The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Literature and Religion ed. Andrew Hiscock and Helen Wilcox, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming c. 2017), 119-34

‘“All scripture is given by inspiration of God”: Dissonance and Psalmody’ in The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England c. 1530-1700 ed. Kevin Killeen, Helen Smith and Rachel Willie (Oxford: Oxford University Press, August 2015), 287-302

‘Viewing the Paper Stage: Civil War, Print, Theatre and the Public Sphere’ in Making Space Public in Early Modern Europe: Performance, Geography, Privacy ed. Angela Vanhaelen and Joseph Ward, (New York and London: Routledge, 2013), 54-75

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