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


Senior Lecturer



I joined Queen Mary after completing my doctorate at the University of Oxford. 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). Since then I have co-edited a collection of essays, The Psalms in Medieval English Literature (Boydell & Brewer, 2017), which grew out of the conference on Psalm Culture and the Politics of Translation (2013) that I co-organised with Ruth Ahnert (QMUL) and Francis Leneghan (Oxford). My next book, Reading Drama in Tudor England is due to be published by Routledge in 2017, and I have chapters forthcoming in essay collections for Brepols, Boydell & Brewer, and Oxford University Press. I also write occasionally for the Times Literary Supplement


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 2017-18 academic year, I am convening the following modules:

Postgraduate Teaching

In the 2017-18 academic year, I am convening the following modules:

  • ESH7064: The Material Text


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 forthcoming book, Reading Drama in Tudor England (Routledge, 2018) is about the invention of drama as a legible category of text before the establishment of commercial theatres in London in the 1570s. Research for this book has lead to collaboration with academics in other institutions like Emma Smith (Oxford), 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).


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

Public Engagement

I am an occasional contributor to the TLS. You can see my most recent theatre review here. I am planning a series of podcasts on material culture and history of the book work currently going on at QMUL. 

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