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Elisabeth Dutton

MIS 5127 - Office hours Tuesday 15:00-16:00 - tel 026 300 78 05



Elisabeth Dutton holds a doctorate (2002) and BA, MA and MSt degrees in English from the University of Oxford, as well as an MA from the University of Durham. 

Academic Positions

  • 2005 - 2011 Fellow of Worcester College, University of Oxford.  Senior Research Fellow in English; Tutor for Women; Director of Visiting Students
  • 2002 - 2005 Lecturer in Old and Middle English and History of the English Language, Magdalen College, University of Oxford
  • 2000 – 2002 Lecturer, University College, London

Academic Awards and Fellowships

  • 2009 Arts and Humanities Research Council UK research grant, with Ewan Fernie (Shakespeare Institute) and Simon Palfrey (Brasenose College, Oxford), for project ‘The Faerie Queene Now: remaking religious poetry for today’s world’
  • 2004 Apgar Prize, for excellence in teaching and research, Magdalen College
  • 1999 International Federation of University Women Scholarship
  • 1998 Margaret Roper research prize, St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford
  • 1997 - 2002 British Academy studentship
  • 1996 Brookes-Johnston Prize, University of Durham
  • 1992 Bousfield Scholarship, Somerville College, University of Oxford



  • John Gower: Trilingual Poet, ed. Elisabeth Dutton, with John Hines and R.F. Yeager (Cambridge, 2010).
  • Julian of Norwich: the Influence of Late-Medieval Devotional Compilations (Cambridge, 2008).
  • Julian of Norwich’s Revelation of Love, edited, modernized and introduced by Elisabeth Dutton (Yale, 2008).
  • Hadewijch: Writer, Beguine and Love-Mystic, Paul Mommaers, with Elisabeth Dutton (Leuven, 2004).

Articles and Entries

  • “‘John Heywood, Henry, and Hampton Court Palace’, an invited contribution to Performing Environments: Site Specificity in Medieval & Early Modern English Drama, ed. Susan Bennett and Mary Polito (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming)
  • ‘The Croxton Play of the Sacrament,’ for The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama, eds. Tom Betteridge and Greg Walker (forthcoming, 2011).
  • ‘A neglected witness to Chaucer’s Boece in a medieval devotional commentary on The Consolation of Philosophy’, in Lectures exégétiques I: Exégèses et commentaires vernaculaires au Moyen Age en France et dans les Iles Britanniques (XIIe - XVe s.) –manuscrits, textes et contexts, eds T. Hunt & J.-P. Pouzet (Brepols, forthcoming) 
  • ‘Augustine Baker and the Medieval Mystical Canon’, Elisabeth Dutton and Victoria Van Hyning, in Proceedings of the English Benedictine History Symposium, Sep. 2009, a volume in honour of James Hogg, editor of Analecta Carthusiana.  (forthcoming)
  •  ‘Secular Medieval Drama’, an invited contribution to The Oxford Handbook to Medieval Literature, eds. Elaine Treharne and Greg Walker. (Oxford: OUP, 2010) 384-94
  • ‘The Blood Libel: Literary Representations of Ritual Child Murder in Medieval England’, an invited contribution to Children and Violence, ed. Laurence Brockliss and Heather Montgomery (Oxbow Books, 2010) 32-8.
  • ‘Staging the N-Town Plays: Theatre and Liturgy’, Clare Smout and Elisabeth Dutton, with Matthew Cheung Salisbury.  Research Opportunities in Medieval and Renaissance Drama XLIX (2010) 80-109.
  • ‘The Seventeenth-Century Manuscript Tradition and the Influence of Augustine Baker’, an invited contribution to A Companion to Julian of Norwich, ed. Liz Herbert McAvoy (Cambridge, 2008) 127-38
  • ‘Henry Medwall’s Fulgens and Lucres: Words and Sense in the Staging of Late Medieval Drama’.  The Medieval Translator 10.  (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007) 435-48
  • Invited response to Elizabeth Archibald, ‘Incest between Adults and Children in the Medieval World,’ in Children and Sexuality from the Greeks to the Great War, ed. George Rousseau. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) 103-8.
  • ‘Augustine Baker and Two Manuscripts of Julian of Norwich’s Revelation of Love,’ Notes and Queries, New Series 52, no.3 (Sep. 2005) 329-37
  • ‘Christ as Codex: Compilation as Literary Device in Book to a Mother.’  Leeds Studies in English, New Series 35 (2004) 81-100
  • ‘Textual disunities and ambiguities of mise-en-page in the manuscripts containing Book to a Mother.’  Journal of the Early Book Society, 6 (2003) 140-59
  • ‘Introduction to Richard Rolle’, Chadwyck-Healy Medieval Authors database (2000)

Academic Reviews  

  • For The Times Literary Supplement: Katherine Zieman, Singing the New Song: Literacy and Liturgy in late medieval England (July 31st, 2009)
  • For The Times Higher Education Supplement: Yves Bonnefoy, Shakespeare and the French Poet, ed. John Naughton (April 15th, 2005); The New Penguin Shakespeare Series, General Ed. Stanley Wells, (Aug. 5th 2005); Blackwell Companion to Shakespeare, ed. Richard Dutton and Jean E. Howard, in THES, Textbook Review (May 25th 2006); Henry S. Turner, The English Renaissance Stage (Aug. 24th, 2006); David Crystal, Think On My Words: Exploring Shakespeare’s Language (July 31st, 2008)
  • For Notes and Queries: Julia Crick and Alexandra Walsingham, eds., The Uses of Script and Print, 1300-1700 (Dec. 2005); Kim M. Phillips, Medieval Maidens: Young Women and Gender in England, 1270-1540 (Dec. 2005); Naoë Kukita Yoshikawa, Margery Kempe’s Meditations (March 2009); Marilyn Corrie, ed. Concise Companion to Middle English Literature (forthcoming)
  • For The Journal of the Early Book Society: Edith Snook, Women, Reading and the Cultural Politics of Early Modern England, in (2007)
  • For Review of English Studies: Peter Happé, The Towneley Cycle: Unity and Diversity, (July 24th, 2008)
  • For The Journal of English and Germanic Philology: Penny Granger, The N-Town Play: Drama and Liturgy in Medieval East Anglia (forthcoming)
  • For The Heythrop Journal: F.C. Bauerschmidt, Julian of Norwich and the Mystical Body Politic of Christ, (April 2000); C.L.Carlson and A.J. Weisl, eds., Constructions of Widowhood and Virginity in the Middle Ages (April 2002)

Theatre Review:

  • Marlowe’s Dido and Aeneas, Angels in the Architecture, dir. Rebecca McCutcheon, Marlowe Society Newsletter 31 (Autumn 2008)


  • A commentary piece based on the Globe conference, Outside In / Inside Out: Shakespeare, the Globe and the Blackfriars, TLS (Dec. 19th 2008)


Research through performance

I recently won sponsorship, from the Foundation for Sports and the Arts, Historic Royal Palaces, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, and the John Fell Fund of the University of Oxford, for a professional production of John Skelton’s Magnyfycence which was staged at Hampton Court Palace in May, 2010 and which I directed.  The production concluded a year of events at Hampton Court to mark the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession and coronation.  A short film about the rehearsal process, by Maria Sachiko Cecire and Mike LaRocco, is on the web ( this focuses on the actors’ experience of the Tudor script and performance space.

Staging of productions involving students and local residents of

  • Henry Medwall, Fulgens and Lucres, (Magdalen College, Dec. 2002)
  • Thomas Middleton, The Changeling (Magdalen College, March 2003)
  • Rituals in Blood: Drama of medieval anti-semitism, a double-bill of the late-medieval Croxton Play of the Sacrament with Steven Berkoff’s Rituals in Blood (Magdalen College, Nov. 2005), a performance which Berkoff attended.
  • John Skelton, Magnyfycence, a production which I had been invited to stage at the Medieval English Theatre conference (Sheffield, March 2007); production subsequently also staged at Worcester College (Dec. 2007).

This production was reviewed by Peter Happé in Ben Jonson Journal vol.15 no. 1 (2008) pp.100-106.

  • ‘B.J.’, The Tragical History of Guy of Warwick, the play published 1661 but probably written in the 1590s: at the request of the Malone Society, I staged this play for the Malone Society Conference, Magdalen College, Sep. 2008.

This production was discussed by Adam Smyth in the Times Literary Supplement, Nov. 28th 2008.  I have written a short piece reflecting on the production for Research Opportunities in Medieval and Renaissance Drama, at the request of the editors.

  • The Mary Plays from N-Town, with members of the choir of Worcester College, Oxford (Worcester College Chapel, Dec. 2009)
  • The Passion Plays from N-Town, with members of the choir of Worcester College, Oxford (Worcester College Chapel, March 2010)
  • A double-bill of the late-medieval Croxton Play of the Sacrament with Steven Berkoff’s Rituals in Blood (York, March 2010). I was asked to revive my 2004 production, this time with a cast from the University of York, for the conference ‘York 1190: Jews and Others in the Wake of Massacre’.  Funded by York Centre for Medieval Studies.
  • Magnyfycence, at Hampton Court Palace, May 2010 (see Research Grants and Sponsorship, above)
  • Henry Chettle, The Tragedy of Hoffman.  I staged this play, using a mixed cast of professional actors and Conference delegates, for the Malone Society Conference, Magdalen College, Sep. 2010.

This production is discussed by Peter Kirwen at    Footage of the production is available at


Work in progress


EDOX: Early Drama at Oxford

Documentary evidence as collected by the Records of Early English Drama attests to a rich and varied tradition of theatrical performance in late-medieval and early modern England.  Unfortunately, our understanding of this tradition is hampered by the scarcity of surviving texts, both because some theatrical events would have been improvisational or largely dependent on unscripted spectacle, and because many scripts have simply been lost.  However, there is a body of scripts and records of performance which has remained largely unstudied by scholars – those relating to the lively tradition of drama within the University of Oxford.  Plays were written by Fellow and students and staged within Colleges to celebrate festive occasions and to honour important visitors; the performances were serious undertakings, involving plenty of work for carpenters, and the hiring of elaborate costumes, props and wigs.

The EDOX project, headed by Elisabeth Dutton in collaboration with Dr James McBain (Magdalen College, Oxford) is beginning a systematic study of plays written and/or performed in Oxford Colleges between 1480 and 1650. The project will find and edit these plays, freshly translate those that survive in Latin, and make editions available online.  Archival research will illuminate the plays’ historical contexts – social, political, religious, educational – as well as details of physical staging.  Plays which have particular interest to the history of theatre will be staged, and the experiment of staging will further illuminate the plays’ significance: films will be made of these staging experiments and the films will also be available online.  EDOX will, over time, create a body of informative resources about theatre at Oxford which will be internationally available on the web.  This body of resources, together with conferences and volumes of essays reflecting on the insights offered, will establish for an international audience the role Oxford in the history of English theatre. 

EDOX will begin its College-by-College study with Magdalen.  The earliest records of plays performed within Colleges relate to Magdalen College, where plays were certainly staged from the 1480s onwards.  In 1559-60 a new term, ‘spectaculorum’, enters the Oxford College records and in 1560-1 the spectacle at Magdalen is likely to have been John Bale’s Three Laws. McBain and Dutton have applied for sponsorship from Magdalen’s Annual Fund and the from John Fell Fund for a week long run of performances of John Bale’s Three Laws, which Dutton will direct, with accompanying lectures and workshops, an Occasional Paper on Early Drama at Magdalen, and a project website to disseminate research, editions and filmed performances.


The Magdalen study and the production of Three Laws will serve as pilot projects to demonstrate the relevance of this research for a wider understanding of the history of English theatre.  For the second phase of the project, EDOX and Oxford’s Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama are currently discussing a ‘Dido’ conference as part of the AHRC-funded ‘Performing Epic’ project, which would consider another example of University Drama, Gager’s Virgilian adaptation Dido.