Centre for Early Modern and Medieval Studies


Faculty in the Centre publish on a wide range of subjects across medieval and early modern literature and culture. Our key research specialisms include:


Early modern religion and the sectarian imagination; racial and religious difference, particularly in reference to Islam; the Bible; late-medieval devotional literature and practices; vernacular theology.

Science, Medicine and the Body

Cultural theory of the body; prostheses; medicine, science and literature; lifecycle stages; anthropomorphism; Hermeticism and alchemy; Neoplatonism; Paracelsianism; the English and Dutch East India Companies and scientific advancement; the history of science; the history of the senses; literary practices and the body.

Literature, Politics and Nation

Republicanism; Irish literature; rhetoric and poetic theory; literature in the English civil war; writing by women; the political stage; travel writing and colonialism; Britain and Britishness; Restoration culture and the Glorious Revolution; literature and law. 

Visual and Material Cultures

Drama and visual culture; iconoclasm and Reformation word and image; visual perception and spectatorship; patronage and the transmission of continental influences; music, sound and domestic space; 16th- and 17th-century architecture; concepts of ‘making’ and materiality. 

Book History and the Archive

Libraries and intellectual culture; histories of reading, including affective and embodied reading practices; history of the book; the archive and periodization; the archive in ruins; literary remains, relics and reconstruction; antiquarianism; manuscript culture; editing. 

Animal Studies and the Posthuman

Premodern ideas about the nature of the human alongside other forms of animal life; environmental humanities; posthuman theory in the premodern field; Renaissance humanism. 


Faculty specialisms include Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton, Marlowe, Lanyer, Middleton, Bacon, Donne, Ficino, Montaigne, Newton, Baldwin, Nashe, Gascoigne, Caxton, Chaucer, Lydgate and Pecock.

Other research news and information

The Centre organises a regular programme of evening speakers on a range of literary, art history and history topics. Additionally we hold one day events, postgraduate conferences and international conferences. See our events page for more information.

See the links on the left for further information about projects, publications and PhD research within the Centre.

Angela's perspective

I was Marie Skłodowska Curie-IE fellow at Sussex from 2014 to 2016. Working in the School of English in close contact with the Centre for Early Modern and Medieval Studies was an invaluable experience. From the rich fortnightly CEMMS seminar series to the annual lectures, to the excellent 2015 Literature and Philosophy 1500-1700 conference and the fierce annual Christmas pub quiz I have felt a welcome member of a dedicated community of scholars. I have benefited greatly from being part of an active network of links with research institutions and scholars in Ireland, Europe and the US. I will keep a continuing relationship with the scholars of the centre working towards further collaborations.


The centre has been the ideal base of my research, which included much travelling to archives in England and Ireland, and work with a sheer variety of early modern sources and documents. My work was nurtured and supported superbly by a distinguished community of academics, fellows, doctoral students and visiting scholars. The aspect I treasure the most were discussions, exchange, and solid teaching culture. I never failed to find colleagues interested in my research and eager to discuss their own, and have often been surprised by the generosity of senior members with their time and advice.


Dr Angela Andreani 

Marie Curie Intra-European Research Fellow in English 2014-2016


University of Sussex Centre for Early Modern and Medieval Studies: https://t.co/kTwaaXwBUF

RT @EHopeDoherty: Fascinating, beautiful lecture 'Shakespeare's Textile Imagination' by @starcrossed2018 @SussexCEMMS elucidating sym… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

RT @avoiding_bears: Had to check that my mic was off because I just yelled HESTER YOU ARE BRILLIANT at my laptop @starcrossed2018 @SussexCEMMS

Thanks to the wonderful folks at The Spenser Review for posting our cfp 'Spenser & Animal Life' (looks much more be… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

RT @meganlcook: If you* were going to teach a first year writing course on the history of artificial intelligence in literature, wh… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

RT @ezkolkovich: Early modernists: can you think of 16th-17th c. literary examples of “untimely” (premature) births, besides Shakesp… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

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