School of English

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Dr Harry Newman

Lecturer in Early Modern Literature

School of English

(BA and MA, Leeds; PhD, Birmingham)

Office: W4.E4 (Rutherford College)


Dr Harry Newman's research interests in the early modern period include drama (especially Shakespeare, Middleton and Jonson), material culture, book history, paratexts, epistolary culture, gender and sexuality studies, and the history of science and medicine. Among other publications, he is currently working on a monograph which develops his PhD thesis, Impressive Shakespeare: Identity, Authority and the Imprint in Shakespearean Drama. The book investigates the language and material culture of three interrelated impressing or imprinting technologies in Shakespearean drama: wax sealing, coining and printing. Combining book history and material culture with rhetorical theory, it explores how Shakespeare’s figurative language draws on the materiality of the imprint in its various manifestations in order to engage and subvert concepts of identity and authority. The book also considers critical and public perceptions of Shakespeare both in his period and beyond, analysing the rhetorical and cultural phenomena that have combined to construct Shakespeare as 'impressive', an author whose supposed genius and universality is still thought to lie in his work's capacity to impress, imprint and stamp our minds, hearts and souls.

This interest in public engagement with Shakespeare is largely what drives "The Paper Stage", Canterbury's public Renaissance play-reading society, which Harry runs in collaboration with Dr Clare Wright. Monthly events bring together students and members of the wider community for lively and experimental readings of plays by not just Shakespeare but also Marston, Jonson and Middleton, and of course the Canterbury-born Lyly and Marlowe. It is hoped that the readings will offer insights into issues such as the pedagogical and interpretive value of communal reading, and the public accessibility of non-Shakespearean drama. For more details, check out the blog:

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Book Chapters

  • ‘“PRinter, that art the Midwife to my muse”: Thomas Freeman and the Analogy between Printing and Midwifery in Renaissance England’, in Victoria Gardner and John Hinks (eds), The Early Modern Book Trade: Perceptions and Practices (London: British Library/Oak Knoll Press, forthcoming in early 2013).



  • James Daybell, The Material Letter in Early Modern England: Manuscript Letters and the Culture and Practices of Letter-Writing, 1512-1635 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), in Reviews in History (December 2012). Link:
  • David Crystal, Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices. An Illustrated History of the English Language (London: The British Library, 2010), in: Journal of the Printing Historical Society, New Series 18/19 (Winter 2012).
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During the Academic Year 2014/15 Harry will be teaching:

EN692 Early Modern Literature 1500-1700 (Stage 2)

EN694 Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama (Stage 2)

EN660 Writing Lives in Early Modern England: Diaries, Letters and Secret Selves (Stage 3)

PL821 Medical Humanities: An Introduction (Postgraduate, MA in Medical Humanities)

I am also the convenor for EN694 and EN660 and joint convenor of PL821.

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School of English, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NX

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 823054

Last Updated: 02/10/2014