Dr Rachel Stenner

Contact Dr Rachel Stenner

Room 4.04C
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA

Internal extension: 20193
Tel: +44 (0)114-222-0193
email : rachel.stenner@sheffield.ac.uk

Office hours 2017-18: Monday 12-1, Wednesday 9-10, or email for an appointment


I joined the School of English in 2015 and specialise in early modern literature. Previously I was based at the University of Bristol, where I was a Teaching Fellow and Research Associate in Early Modern Literature after finishing my PhD there in 2014. I hold a masters in English Literature from Bristol and one in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent, where I also did my BA. I have broad research and teaching interests in late medieval, early modern, and postcolonial literature.


I research literature and culture from the late medieval period to the middle of the eighteenth- century; within that, my main area is mid-Tudor literature. I am particularly interested in authors who worked in the print trade, and the ways that proximity to the printing press shaped their writings and authorship. Currently, I am developing a new book project on William Baldwin, author of, amongst other things, a satire about speaking cats. I am also writing about the uses of the dialogue form, and the self-writing of early printers.

Most of my research is shaped by book history and printing history. I convene Book History @ Sheffield, an interdisciplinary collective of researchers working on the History of the Book from the Middle Ages to the present day (you can read our posts on the Sheffield Centre for Early Modern Studies blog). I am also the founder of Print Culture, Agency, Regional Identity, which is a multidisciplinary network established to explore the ways that the print trade contributed to the development of regional identities in the hand press period (up to around 1850).

These interests extend my doctoral research, which is now my first monograph, The Typographic Imaginary in Early Modern English Literature. Here I write about figures including Geoffrey Chaucer, William Caxton, Robert Copland, William Baldwin, Christopher Plantin, Thomas Nashe, George Gascoigne, Edmund Spenser, Joseph Moxon, Ned Ward, and Alexander Pope. This work argues that writers developed shared aesthetic strategies to fictionalise the technology and milieu of printing. These fictionalisations, in turn, offer important insight into the writers’ analyses of textuality, technology, authorship, and cultural change.

My research is also about the relationship between the medieval and the early modern periods, and the continuities between their literatures. I have edited (together with Tamsin Badcoe and Gareth Griffith) a collection of essays that explores these issues through readings of the relationship between Chaucer and Spenser: Rereading Chaucer and Spenser: Dan Geffrey with the New Poete.

I am on the advisory boards for the Sheffield Centre for Early Modern Studies, and the Centre for Archival Practices. I am a member of the Society for Renaissance Studies, an associate member of the Centre for Printing History and Culture, and Membership Secretary for the Printing Historical Society.

You can read more about my research here.



I teach in several areas of the undergraduate and postgraduate English Literature degrees, within
and outside my specialisms. I am particularly interested in working with students to develop their
research skills and their engagement with the subject outside of traditional undergraduate teaching
spaces. To that end I developed an interdisciplinary undergraduate research conference in early
modern literature and am now extending this work through the British Conference of
Undergraduate Research
, which is taking place in Sheffield in 2018. I am the Assessment Officer
for level 2 and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Undergraduate Modules in English

LIT114 Shakespeare (as convenor)
LIT107 Studying Prose
LIT108 Studying Poetry
LIT112 Critical Contexts
LIT234 Renaissance Literature
LIT207 Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature
LIT274 The Postcolonial Bildungsroman

Postgraduate Modules in English

EGH605 The Study of Texts: Ideas, Practice, Performance (as convenor)
EGH6023 Reconsidering the Renaissance
LIT634 The Country House and English Literary Imagination

Interdisciplinary MA Modules

LIT6047 Early Modern Books
IPA670 Interdisciplinary Early Modern Studies (new for 2017-18)
IPA665 Cities and Culture in Medieval Europe, 1250-1550 (new for 2017-18)



Articles and Chapters


  • ‘Text and Image in the City: Manuscript, Print and Visual Culture in Urban Space, ed. John
    Hinks and Catherine Armstrong’, Publishing History (2018)
  • ‘Jamie C. Fumo, Making Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess: Textuality and Reception’, Papers of
    the Bibliographical Society of America (
  • ‘Matthew McLean and Sara Barker, eds., International Exchange in the Early Modern Book
    World’, The Spenser Review
    , 47.1 (2017)
  • 'J. B. Lethbridge and Paul J. Hecht (eds.), Spenser in the Moment', Renaissance Studies, 2016 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rest.12233/full'
  • 'Andrew James Johnston, Russell West-Pavlov, and Elisabeth Kempf, eds., Love, History and Emotion in Chaucer and Shakespeare', The Spenser Review, spring 2016 http://www.english.cam.ac.uk/spenseronline/review/item/46.1.9/
  • The Village by Nikita Lalwani’, New Welsh Review, 100 (2013)
  • The Shakespearean International Yearbook Volume 11 Special Issue, Placing Michael Neill: Issues of Place in Shakespeare and Early Modern Culture’, The Sixteenth Century Journal, 44.1 (2013)
  • ‘Isam Babiker The Baobab’s Covenant With Rain’, Bristol Review of Books (2012)
  • ‘Geoff Mead Coming Home to Story: Storytelling Beyond Happily Ever After’, Bristol Review of Books (2011)