My research examines early modern women’s involvement in translation. Translations, appearing in both print and manuscript, make up a significant proportion of women’s literary output, and represent diverse and influential engagements with contemporary literary and intellectual culture. My research contends that these translations might be best understood in light of devotional practices, like biblical paraphrase, in which women commonly participated. In evaluating this overlooked body of works, I seek to understand how translation functioned for women as intellectual exercise and social practice. In addition, I have research interests in complaint and petitionary writing, especially by women, and the use of gardens in conceptualising nationhood in early modern Britain.
My work explores the interaction between Catholic missionaries, primarily the Society of Jesus, and religiously-diverse local populations in sixteenth and seventeenth century southern India under the Portuguese Empire, focusing on proselytization methodologies and the subsequent cultural and epistemological exchange. In analysing missionary tactics and activities, I look at why certain methods produce converts while others fail, and how local individuals exhibit agency in the face of coercion. My general research interests include the history of global Catholicism, the Society of Jesus within and outside Europe, global religion, and conversion.
I am a second-year DPhil candidate in English working on a project titled 'Early Modern Literature and the Invention of Atheism'. I am interested in how fictive representations of characters who deny the existence of God in late sixteenth-century plays and dialogues contributed to emergence of atheism as a distinct, recognisable concept. Given the small number of 'real' people who openly rejected God during this period, I contend that fictional atheists were the product of authorial invention, rather than mimetic representation. Because writers used rhetorical techniques like prosopopoeia to imagine how notional unbelievers would speak, the atheist stereotype that had become popular by the turn of the seventeenth century was highly stylized , and inflected by anti-atheist prejudice. My thesis aims to explain and document the literary processes that led to the 'invention' of this stereotype.
In 2018/19 I am the Research Coordinator for CEMS.
I am a DPhil student in History working on the early modern Philippines, with a special interest in religious conversion, the circulation of knowledge, and the understanding of difference. My project explores how the expectations and perceptions of missionaries were shaped by classical texts, knowledge, and ethnographies, and how this common, classical frame of reference was used to convey and describe their experiences to an audience back in Europe and America. I am also interested more broadly in the intellectual culture of the Spanish Empire and am currently involved in a project to translate Juan de Solórzano y Pereira's De Gubernatione at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History.
My thesis examines the office of the Papal Vice-Chancellor through the example of Rodrigo Borgia who held the office from 1457 until his election as Pope Alexander VI in 1492. Despite the Vice-Chancellor's control over key Curial offices including the Sacred Roman Rota and the College of Abbreviators, the office has received little attention from scholars. As this part of Rodrigo's ecclesiastical career coincided with one of the most important periods of the church's history, the recovery from the Western Schism and the lead up to both the Reformation and Counter Reformation a study will reveal the importance of the role and improve our understanding of the Curia at one of its most turbulent times.
I am a DPhil candidate in History, studying the circulation of knowledge in printed books and manuscripts in sixteenth-century Italy. My doctoral research is specifically concerned with the role of the poligrafi – a group of writers, editors and translators – in said circulation. I am especially fascinated by their importance in the spread of religious deviance, obscenity, and humanist culture (broadly speaking), as well as the relationships between poligrafi and their patrons, printers, and audiences. More generally, I am interested in the intersections between the social, intellectual, and religious history of the book in early modern Italy and Europe.
I am a second-year DPhil student in Spanish, and am currently writing about the representation and construction of gender in contemporary, English-language performances of early modern Spanish drama by the playwright-friar Tirso de Molina. I hold an MFA in Dramaturgy from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) and a BA in English from the University of North Carolina (Charlotte). I have also worked as a dramaturg in the literary departments and on productions in several theatres, including SoHo Rep in New York, Hartford Stage, Denver Center Theatre Company, and Georgia Shakespeare.
I research the material culture of pilgrimage in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy, with a focus on the Este family and the ways in which the practice and concept of pilgrimage impacted patronage in the courts of Ferrara and Mantua. My dissertation will investigate the development of pilgrimage past the medieval into the early modern period, and will raise questions about the multifaceted motivations behind undertaking a pilgrimage, the place of popular devotional practices in the lives of the Italian nobility, the role of public performances of piety in cultivating a ruler's image, as well as how and why pilgrimage was represented or alluded to in the artistic commissions and collections of Italian courts. In addition to pilgrimage and court culture, my broader academic interests include medieval and early modern cross-cultural exchange, travel, and diplomacy; the history of scientific inquiry and instruments; and the ideal built environment, in terms of both architecture and urbanism.
I am a working towards a DPhil on the life and political thought of Pierre de Belloy (c. 1550-1611), the toulousain advocate, jurist, and polemicist in service of Henri de Navarre. Belloy's several controversial works, the most famous of which is the Apologie Catholique of 1585, came at a formative time for French political thought; one of the questions of my research is how far Belloy contributed to the developing construct of 'absolutism'. As well as considering Belloy as a political thinker in his own right, I am concerned with the intellectual traditions in which he was working. More generally, I am interested in European intellectual history from c. 1250 to the early seventeenth century, and (increasingly) in history of the book.
My research seeks to examine the development of social relations between merchants of the English and Dutch East India Companies, and their Japanese hosts at the port of Hirado, 1609-1640. By examining the diaries of the English factors and Dutch opperhoofden, I look in particular at the notion of cross-cultural commensurability, examining how participation in social rituals, discovery of common customs and exchange of cultural norms shaped the encounter between the English, Dutch and Japanese, and how we are therefore to understand the nature of early modern transnational contact more generally.
I am a fourth-year DPhil student in English at the University of Oxford (Lincoln College). My thesis, entitled Dramatic Extracting and the Reception of Early Modern English Drama, focuses on the study of English dramatic extracts in printed and manuscript collections from the first half of the seventeenth century. In particular, my thesis aims to revise the argument that the practice of dramatic extracting elevated vernacular drama to a ‘literary’ status by offering a detailed analysis of how drama was appropriated, presented, used and valued in these collections using a large corpus of archival evidence.
I am also the associate editor of the digital project DEx: A Database of Dramatic Extracts and I have contributed to the Folger Shakespeare Library project Shakespeare Documented. For the year 2017-2018 I am co-convening the EM graduate forum (programme available from the CEMS page, and also on Facebook). On Twitter I am @BMontedoro.
I am a DPhil researcher in French and Italian at Balliol College, working on a comparative study of French and Italian comic theatre in the sixteenth century. I document the move from classical drama employed only as a scholarly exercise to drama reinvented in print and performance in France. Concurrently, I consider attempts to position comic theatre as an autonomous genre with a specific status in relation to other literary genres, evaluating also the factors which impeded this transition.
My doctoral research explores the relationship between women’s writing and writing surfaces between 1580 and 1830. Much has been written about the importance of female writing tools (needles, pens). However, little critical attention has been given to their associated writing surfaces (paper, fabric, stone). My project is the first full-length study of women’s writing surfaces, and seeks to trace how women’s interactions with a variety of different writing surfaces developed across the period.
Outside of my work as feminist literary historian, I am also a contributing editor working on Swift’s later political writings for the Cambridge Works of Jonathan Swift, and a regular reviewer for Journal of Eighteenth Century Studies.