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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
(See also ‘current research project’ below)

  • 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

  • ‘Introduction to Richard Rolle’, Chadwyck-Healy Medieval Authors database (2000)
  •  ‘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
  • ‘Christ as Codex: Compilation as Literary Device in Book to a Mother.’  Leeds Studies in English, New Series 35 (2004) 81-100
  • ‘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
  • ‘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
  • ‘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
  • ‘Secular Medieval Drama’, an invited contribution to the Oxford Handbook to Medieval Literature, eds. Elaine Treharne and Greg Walker. (Oxford: OUP, 2010)
  • ‘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 (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2010) 32-6.
  • ‘Staging the N-Town Plays: Theatre and Liturgy’, Clare Smout and Elisabeth Dutton, with Matthew Cheung Salisbury.  Research Opportunities in Medieval and Renaissance Drama, 49 (2010) 1-30
  •  ‘Augustine Baker and the Medieval Mystical Canon’, Elisabeth Dutton and Victoria Van Hyning, in Dom Augustine Baker 1575-1641, ed. Geoffrey Scott (Gracewing, 2012) 85-110
  •  ‘The Croxton Play of the Sacrament,’ for The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama, eds. Thomas Betteridge and Greg Walker (Oxford: OUP, 2012) 55-71
  • ‘“Whan Foly cometh, all is past”: Revisiting the Drama of Fools in Magnyfycence’, Theta X, Théâtre Tudor (2013 for 2011) 53-68
  • ‘John Heywood, Henry, and Hampton Court Palace’, in Performing Environments: Site Specificity in Medieval & Early Modern English Drama, ed. Susan Bennett and Mary Polito (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014) 36-55
  • ‘Lydgate’s Mumming for the Mercers of London’, Meg Twycross and Elisabeth Dutton, in The Medieval Merchant: Proceedings of the 2012 Harlaxton Symposium, eds. Caroline M. Barron and Anne F. Sutton.  Harlaxton Medieval Studies, XXIV (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2014) 310-49
  • ‘Performing and Filming John Bale’s Three Laws’, Elisabeth Dutton, Maria Sachiko Cecire and James McBain, in Shakespeare Bulletin 32.1 (2014) 65-84
  • ‘A neglected witness to Chaucer’s Boece in a medieval devotional commentary on The Consolation of Philosophy’, in Carmina Philosophiae (forthcoming, 2014) 

Academic Reviews  

  • For The Times Literary Supplement: A commentary piece based on the Globe conference, Outside In / Inside Out: Shakespeare, the Globe and the Blackfriars (Dec. 19th 2008); review of 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 (vol. 58, 2011)
  • For The Journal of the Early Book Society: Edith Snook, Women, Reading and the Cultural Politics of Early Modern England (2007)
  • For Review of English Studies: Peter Happé, The Towneley Cycle (July 24th, 2008)
  • For English, Mike Pincombe and Cathy Shrank, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature 1485-1603 (Spring 2012, vol. 61 (232) pp. 1-5)
  • For Journal of English and Germanic Philology: Penny Granger, The N-Town Play: Drama and Liturgy in Medieval East Anglia (April 2012, vol. 111 no. 2, pp. 246-8)
  • 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)
  • For Medium Aevum, Joanne Findon, Lady, Hero, Saint: The Digby Play’s Mary Magdalene, (LXXXII.2 (2013) pp. 339-40
  • For Speculum: Theresa M. Kenney and Mary Dzon, eds., The Christ Child in Medieval Culture: “Alpha es et O!” (89.4, Oct. 2014)

Theatre Reviews:

  • Marlowe’s Dido and Aeneas, Angels in the Architecture, dir. Rebecca McCutcheon, Marlowe Society Newsletter 31 (Autumn 2008)
  • Dekker and Webster’s Westward Ho!, Edward’s Boys, dir. Perry Mills, Cahiers Elisabéthains

Research through performance 

  • 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

  • John Bale, Three Laws, at Magdalen College, Oxford (March 2012) – an EDOX production
  • John Lydgate, Mumming for the Mercers of London, Harlaxton Manor (July 2012)
  • Robert Tailor, The Hogge Hath Lost His Pearle, for the Malone Society Conference, Corpus Christi College, Oxford (September 2012)
  • Anthony Minghella, Two Planks and a Passion, The University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford (February 2013)
  • The Diaries of a Christmas Prince, St John’s College, Oxford (September 2013) – a performance devised as part of the Early Drama at Oxford (EDOX) project, based on contemporary accounts of plays performed at St John’s in 1596.
  • William Gager, Dido, Christ Church, Oxford (September 2013) – a staging of Gager’s play of 1583, performed in its original setting and with an all-male cast, in a new translation from the Latin, as part of the EDOX project.  Sponsored by the British Academy. This production was revived for the Drama and Pedagogy conference, University of Fribourg, September 2014, when it was staged in the Salle de la Grande Société.  
  • The Chester Shepherds’ Play, at the University of Fribourg (December 2013)
  • The Croxton Play of the Sacrament, a professional production sponsored by the Wellcome Trust for the Oxford Blood Conference, St John’s College, Oxford (Jan. 2014)
  • Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost: the Fribourg adaptation – a production incorporating original translation of Shakespeare’s script into six different languages, reflecting the linguistic diversity of Switzerland. Aula Magna, University of Fribourg, and on tour. Funded by the Fribourg Jubilee Committee as part of celebrations for the University of Fribourg’s jubilee. (April-May, 2014).  Subsequent sponsorship from the Institute of Multilingualism has funded a professional film-maker to shoot the script, this time in various locations around the city: the film is currently in post-production.

Current research project

Early Drama at Oxford (EDOX)

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 staged within Colleges to celebrate festive occasions and to honour important visitors; Elizabeth I and subsequently James I and Charles I visited Oxford and saw plays organized by the Vice Chancellor and deputies.  Each College and Hall, including the students, had to contribute financially, and the expenditure was increasingly lavish: for the visit of James I, Christ Church built the first perspectival theatre in England, designed by Inigo Jones. Most College productions were not on this scale, but were nonetheless serious undertakings, involving plenty of work for carpenters, and the hiring of elaborate costumes, props and wigs.  They were written by Fellows and by students - a good script could contribute to a Master’s degree.

            The EDOX project, which I have initiated, is a collaborative project with the aim of 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 – materials which have previously been difficult to access can then be widely studied. This body of resources, together with conferences and volumes of essays reflecting on the insights offered, will explore the role of Oxford in the history of English theatre.

            EDOX has begun its College-by-College study with Magdalen, where plays were certainly staged from the 1480s onwards (these are the earliest Oxford records). In 1551-2 Magdalen, possibly in response to the growing theatrical tradition at Christ Church, paid for the construction of a theatre.  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, which is hugely significant for the wider history of early theatre because it represents the first recorded performance of Bale’s work following his return from exile. But it is also more immediately fascinating at Magdalen for its possible role in the ousting of Thomas Coveney as President and the return to the College of Laurence Humfrey, his replacement, who had worked alongside both Bale and John Foxe whilst himself in exile on the Continent.  With my collaborator Dr James McBain I won funding from the John Fell Fund and Magdalen Annual Fund for a pilot project with three major outcomes: a film about John Bale’s Three Laws, an Occasional Paper on Early Drama at Magdalen, and a project website to disseminate research and serve as a database for both editions and films. The Three Laws film, which I produced and which was directed by film-maker Maria Sachiko Cecire, Fellow of Bard College in New York, is now available on the EDOX website, . The play’s themes of fanaticism and martyrdom, clerical sexual corruption, and the competing power of word and image were given resonance as scenes were shot on location in the modern city, and our stagings sought to draw out the conflict which I believe underlies Bale’s exaggerated rhetoric – for example, the vices’ desecration of the Ten Commandments was played as an exuberant, colourful act in an artist’s studio – a suggested reversal of the Reformation’s destruction of works of art.  At the same time, the film is rooted firmly in the city’s history, with footage of the martyrs’ memorial, Madgalen College Chapel, and the ruined Abbey of Godstow.

            The Magdalen study and the staging and filming of Three Laws were pilot projects designed to enable EDOX to make larger funding applications to other UK and European funding agencies. EDOX next won funding from the British Academy for a ‘Performing Dido’ conference, which was held in September 2013 at Christ Church, Oxford.  The conference included juxtaposed stagings of Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage, performed by a boys’ company (Stratford’s ‘Edward’s Boys’), and an example of University Drama, William Gager’s Virgilian adaptation, Dido: these productions were staged in the Christ Church dining hall, as part of a feast – the circumstances of the original staging of Gager’s play.  I directed the Gager play with an all-male cast, and Maria Sachiko Cecire made a documentary film about the event which will soon be available on the EDOX website.  With James McBain, I am editing a collection of essays, including papers from the conference and some further invited contributions, which will help situate Gager’s university play among other dramatic representations of Dido in the European tradition.  My Dido production was revived for the September 2014 conference ‘Drama and Pedagogy’, in Fribourg, and James and I will also be editing a collection of papers from that conference which will illuminate connections between teaching and theatre relevant to EDOX themes. 

            A major grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation has enabled me, from September 2014, to employ James McBain and Stephanie Allen to work full-time on the EDOX project: James is now working on digital editions of the Oxford plays listed in REED Oxford, and Stephanie is translating Latin texts.