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Dr Tamara Atkin, BA (Dublin), MSt (Oxford), DPhil (Oxford)


Senior Lecturer



I joined Queen Mary in 2008 while completing my doctorate on medieval and renaissance drama at Oxford University under the supervision of Professor Vincent Gillespie and Dr Emma Smith. My thesis explored the relationship between drama and religion before and during the English Reformation; from it I developed my first book, The Drama of Reform: Theology and Theatricality, 1461-1553(Brepols, 2013). With Ruth Ahnert and Francis Leneghan (Oxford University), I run the Psalm Culture network, which organised a major, international conference at Charterhouse Square in July 2013. I am also on the editorial board for Westfield Medieval Studies, an interdisciplinary medieval studies series published by Boydell and Brewer.


QM’s location offers unique opportunities for teaching in and around various London sites, museums, libraries and galleries, and I like to promote learning strategies that take students out of and beyond the classroom. Most of the modules I teach involve trips and study sessions at a number of off-campus locations, and recent visits have included: the National Portrait Gallery; the Victoria and Albert Museum; Sutton House; the Museum of London; the Wellcome Library; the British Library; and Senate House Library.

Undergraduate Teaching

In the 2015-16 academic year, I am on leave.


Research Interests:

  • Medieval and renaissance drama
  • Religious writing from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
  • Histories of the book and reading before during and after the introduction of print
  • The periodization of medieval and early modern literature and the making of the canon

Recent and On-Going Research:

My current book project Drama, Reading, and the Invention of the Literary in Tudor England (under contract with Ashgate) explores the use and abuse of playbooks written and printed before the establishment of commercial theatres in London in the 1570s. Research for this book has lead to collaboration with other scholars like Emma Smith (Oxford University), and taken me to libraries and rare book collections across the UK and US. It shows that reading drama as a leisure-time pursuit considerably predates both the rise of professional playing and the publication of self-consciously literary playtexts like Jonson’s Works (1616). With Francis Leneghan (Oxford University), I am also co-editing a collection of essays, The Psalms and Medieval English Literature, which will be published by Boydell & Brewer in 2016.



Selected Publications:

'Playing Space: Reading Dramatic Title-Pages in Early Printed Plays’, in Spaces for Reading in Later Medieval England, ed. by Carrie Griffin and Mary Flannery (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), forthcoming

‘Reforming Sanctity: The Digby Mary Magdalen and Lewis Wager’s Life and Repentaunce of Mary Magdalene’, Sanctity as Literature in Late Medieval Britain, ed. by Anke Bernau and Eva von Conzten (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015)

'"The Personages that Speake": Playing with Parts in Early Printed Drama, Medieval English Theatre, 36 (2015), 48-69

with Emma Smith, ‘The Form and Function of Character Lists in Plays Printed before the Closing of the Theatres’, Review of English Studies, 65 (2014), 647-72

with A. S. G. Edwards, 'Printers, Publishers and Promoters to 1558', in A Companion to the Early English Book, ed. by Vincent Gillespie and Susan Powell (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2014)

'Playing with Books in John Bale's Three Laws', Yearbook of English Studies, 43 (2013), 243-61

The Drama of Reform: Theology and Theatricality, 1461-1553 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013)

'Manuscript, Print, and the Circulation of Dramatic Texts: A Reconsideration of the Manuscript of "The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom"', English Manuscript Studies, 100-1700, 15 (2009), 152-165

'Playbooks and Printed Drama: A Reassessment of the Date and Layout of the Manuscript of the Croxton Play of the Sacrament', Review of English Studies, 60, 244 (2009), 194-205

See also my Queen Mary Research Publications profile.

PhD Supervision

I am currently co-supervising (with Julia Boffey) Joel Grossman’s doctoral research into the rhetoric of form in the court poetry of the Henrician age.  

I would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in any of the areas of my research.

Public Engagement

With Ruth Ahnert, I recorded two podcasts about psalms:

You can read about some of my other media and public appearances here.

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