Personal profile

Research interests (short)

Early modern culture and politics, historiography, performance studies, Shakespeare, book history and textual studies, editing

Biographical details

View my profile through the English Department here

I received my first degree in English Literature from the University of London in 2013, an MA in English (Shakespeare in History) from University College London in 2014, and a PhD in English Literature (Producing the history play: The agency of repertory companies, stationers, and patronage networks in early modern England) from King's College London in 2017, which was funded by the LAHP/AHRC. During the 2017/18 academic year, I worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at KCL and as a Lecturer in Early Modern Literature at Brunel University. In September 2018, I joined King's as a Postdoctoral Research Associate on a Leverhulme-funded project called Wartime Shakespeare: The Fashioning of Public Opinion through Performance. I was also appointed as a Postdoctoral Fellow (2018/19) at the Society for Renaissance Studies.

Research interests

My principal research interests are in Shakespeare and early modern literature, with an emphasis on the conditions of theatrical and textual production and practices of historiography. In my position as a Postdoctoral Research Associate on Wartime Shakespeare, I am exploring how Shakespeare has been used in performance to inform and mobilize public opinion during periods of war and war-threatening crises from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century. My research investigates the position of Shakespeare's plays as part of wartime propaganda over the longue durée, showing how these appropriations relate to narratives of conflict, to developments in war reporting, to Shakespeare's changing cultural capital as a figure of national and global significance, and to popular attitudes towards war efforts. I am preparing a monograph based on my findings - tentatively called Wartime Shakespeare: Performing Narratives of Conflict. With the project's PI, Sonia Massai, I am also co-editing a collection of essays and curating an exhibition at The National Army Museum, to be held between November 2023 and April 2024. 

 

Another monograph, Publishing the History Play in the Time of Shakespeare: Stationers Shaping A Genre, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press and derives from my doctoral research. It explores the relationship between the publishing of history plays and the different ways in which these plays were read and used during the early modern period. The book draws attention to the assumptions that underlie discussions of the history play as a genre, particularly in relation to the critical dominance of Shakespeare's English histories. It concentrates on publishers and argues that these agents and their networks have controlled the survival of history plays from the commercial stages and shaped the plays’ presentation in print in ways that both disclose and direct readings of the plays. History playbooks reveal their publishers’ readings and also influence the experiences of early modern and modern readers. The strategies of production agents in selecting, editing, and marketing history plays provide untapped evidence about how ideas and uses of history were negotiated, how history plays were read alongside non-dramatic materials, and how they were applied by their readers to contemporary political contexts. 

 

I am developing the research from my SRS Postdoctoral Fellowship (more details here) into a third monograph - Challenging Authorship in Early Modern Playbook Paratexts - which concentrates on ideas of authorship, authority, and authorization as they are explored in the paratexts of playbooks published in England between 1500 and 1660. It considers how plays from the commercial stages, re-presented as books, variously engage with questions of what it means to be an author, a reviser, a publisher, or a patron of a play and conceptualizes how a range of different agents act as ‘authorizers’. My book argues that the idea of the author (as it refers to the individual(s) who wrote a play) is subsumed within discussions of other forms of authorization – the author is one among many agents. But there is also clarity within this fragmentation of ‘authority’: some dramatists and stationers were consistently invested in putting forward their own distinctive views about playbook authorization and the monograph concentrates in particular on the influence and lasting significance of these individuals. 

 

In addition to these three main projects, I am co-editing Edward III with Sonia Massai for Internet Shakespeare Editions. I have also published in Shakespeare SurveyShakespeare Studies, and English: Journal of the English Association, and, in July 2019, I co-organized a conference called Changing Histories: Rethinking the early modern history play at King's College London. More details are available through the conference website. 

Twitter: @amy_lidster

Website: https://amylidster.hcommons.org 

 

Selected online blogs:

'Casting Henslowe's Histories' - from Changing Histories, conference website (2019)

'Collecting Histories' - from Changing Histories, conference website (2019)

'Shakespeare at War' - from Wartime Shakespeare, funded by The Leverhulme Trust (2018)

'"A taking part in without being part of"': Categorizing early printed playbooks' - from Changing Histories, conference website (2018)

'The influence of St Paul's on Shakespeare's work' - from These are the Youths that Thunder, Shakespeare's Globe (2017)

'Texts and Paratexts: Assessing the transformative role of publication' - Guest post as winner of the John Edward Kerry Prize from The Malone Society (2016)

 

Selected podcasts:

'Old St Paul's Cathedral'; Episode 62 of That Shakespeare Life. Also available through iTunes

'Henslowe and His Diary'; Episode 86 of That Shakespeare Life. Also available through iTunes

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

English Literature, Doctor of Philosophy, Producing the history play: The agency of repertory companies, stationers, and patronage networks in early modern England, King's College London

Oct 2014Sept 2017

English: Shakespeare in History, Master of Arts, UCL University College London

Sept 2013Sept 2014

English Literature, Bachelor of Arts, University of London

Sept 2010Jun 2013

External positions

Guest Lecturer, University of Roehampton

Nov 2017 → …

Lecturer, Brunel University London

20172018

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