Renaissance Research School

The Renaissance Research School at York comprises scholars and students working on many aspects of European literature, culture, and history, from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries and beyond.

This is an expanding School which is working towards increased cross-disciplinary collaboration and the provision of cutting-edge resources for research. Members of the School are also involved in a wide range of events. The Department is host to a number of ongoing projects including The Thomas Browne Seminar and The Bible in the Seventeenth Century.

Renaissance School

Renaissance School

CREMS provides a stimulating interdisciplinary environment for students taking postgraduate research degrees within the period and welcomes visiting academics.

The Renaissance School welcomes applications from students wishing to read for research degrees in this field.

The School also offers an MA in Renaissance Literature, 1500-1700.


The Renaissance Research School also has strong links with the Centre for Renaissance & Early Modern Studies (CREMS), which was launched in October 2005 to complement the university's flourishing Centres for Medieval and Eighteenth Century Studies.

The centre provides a forum for thirty academic staff and their postgraduates, from the departments of English & Related Literature, History, History of Art, Politics, Archaeology and Music.

The centre is also forging links with the  , the National Centre for Early Music and other local resources for studying the cultures of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe.



Staff in the Research School include:

Judith Buchanan, who works on Shakespeare and film, with a particular interest in silent film adaptations.

Brian Cummings, who works on Shakespeare and Renaissance literature, and also writes on the history of religion, the history of the book, modern poetry, and the philosophy of literature; he recently edited the Book of Common Prayer, and is currently writing on Shakespeare and religion.

Kevin Killeen, whose research looks at intellectual history of the seventeenth centuries, focusing on the centrality of the Bible in early modern thought and politics, and Renaissance encyclopaedism.

Jane Raischwho works on the reception of the classics, especially Greek, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and whose research interests include the history of scholarship, the history of the book, and Renaissance literature. 

John Roe, editor of The Narrative Poems for the Cambridge Shakespeare and author of Shakespeare and Machiavelli (2002).

Richard Rowland, editor of plays by Marlowe, Jonson and Chapman, who has just completed a major book on the theatre of Thomas Heywood.

Erica Sheen, who writes on Shakespeare, film and Renaissance law and who is the author of, most recently, Shakespeare and the Institution of Theatre: The Best in this Kind (2009).

Helen Smith, whose research interests include the transmission of texts in manuscript and print, the history of the book, Renaissance literature, and feminist theory.

Geoff Wall, who is best-known as the author of a critically acclaimed biography of Gustave Flaubert but who has also written on Shakespeare and Rabelais, and who brings to the study of Renaissance texts a rich awareness of linguistic and psychoanalytic theory.



York Minster library 

Members of the School have access to a wide and expanding range of research resources. Our most recent acquisition is the stunning Early English Books Online (EEBO), which offers digitized facsimiles of the vast majority of books published in England between 1475 and 1700. The University also supports 'Literature Online', the MLA and BIDS online bibliographical services, the Short-Title Catalogue on CD-ROM, and a variety of electronic journals.

As well as enjoying free access to the Brotherton Library at the University of Leeds, they can also use two major local collections. The York Minster Library is the largest cathedral library in the country, with over 120,000 volumes, of which approximately 20,000 are early printed books, including 115 pre-1500 titles (the library catalogue is available online). The Skipton Library is a collection of around 2,000 sixteenth- and seventeenth-century books; it is an excellent resource for the study of the philosophy, theology and politics of the period. In addition, the new Raymond Burton Humanities Research Library on campus has enabled us substantially to increase our special collections and research facilities.

A regular bus service runs from York to the British Library Document Supply Centre at Boston Spa - the largest lending library in Europe - which houses the most up to date resource for critical literature.






The School, working with the York Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (CREMS), runs a regular programme of research seminars, conferences and public lectures.

Regular and upcoming events include:

CREMS has also hosted the fourth National Conference of the Society for Renaissance Studies (2010), international conferences on 'Shrews on the Renaissance Stage', 'Renaissance Paratexts', and 'Rethinking the Baroque' (the last of these in association with Castle Howard), and a public event called 'Remember, Remember the Fifth of November' to mark the 400th Anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot and assess the role of Guy Fawkes - one of York's most infamous sons.

The School sponsors the annual Patrides Lecture, in commemoration of the great Renaissance scholar C. A. Patrides, a founder member of the York English Department. Roy Porter, Patrick Collinson, Lisa Jardine, Peter Holland, Peter Stallybrass, Quentin Skinner, Stephen Orgel, Stanley Wells and Anthony Grafton are some of our most recent speakers at this event.

Every year in May we host a one-day colloquium which provides a forum for graduates, staff and outside speakers to present papers on related themes. Recent topics have included 'A Day Out In Early Modern London', 'The Invention of Writing', 'The Bloody Renaissance' and 'Exile/Exiles'. Occasionally we play host to larger events; in July 1999, the Sixth International Milton Symposium, was hosted by York, and was attended by more than 300 scholars from 22 different countries.


The Centre is also collaborating with the UK's other centres for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies: it is sponsoring the first session in the revived White Rose Early Modernists Group (with the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield), and it is developing a series of master-classes on textual and archival themes with Queen Mary, University of London.