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Dr Jennifer Edwards

FAB 5.10

Faculty of Arts Building

University of Warwick

Coventry CV4 7EQ


Dr Jen Edwards is Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies. She joined the department in September 2023, and has taught at The Queen’s College, Oxford, Shakespeare’s Globe, and Royal Holloway, University of London. She is convener of the joint-honours degree QW34 English and Theatre Studies.


My research focuses on the intersections of early modern literature (primarily Shakespearean), medicine, and philosophy, with a particular interest in emotion and embodiment. More specifically, I am interested in the ways that literature and medicine participates in the formation of early modern conceptions of the mental interior and philosophical models of subjectivity, particularly in regard to distracted, emotional, and disturbed states.

My current book project, provisionally titled Ecstatic Subjects: Ecstasy in the Work of Shakespeare and his Contemporaries, considers how ecstatic experience captured the early modern imagination. Informed and intrigued by ‘ecstasy’ as a word and state that encompasses a wide range of senses, this study explores what it meant to ‘suffer ecstasy’ in early modern culture, and what is at stake for the Shakespearean subjects who encounter this altered state of consciousness. A connected research project on experiences at the edge of consciousness is also underway, which has been supported by The Huntington Library (California), the Osler Library of the History of Medicine (Montreal), and TORCH (Oxford).

I am also interested in issues of affect, environment, and embodiment in modern Shakespeare performance. Work on this topic underpins my recent book, This Distracted Globe: Attending to Distraction at Shakespeare’s Theatre, as well as an interdisciplinary project exploring the phenomenon of fainting and illness in this theatre, in collaboration with colleagues in the department of Biology at Oxford.

Other ongoing work explores Shakespeare’s narrative poems, including a new introduction to the Oxford World’s Classics edition.


This Distracted Globe: Attending to Distraction in Shakespeare’s Theatre (Cambridge University Press, Elements in Shakespeare Performance: May, 2023)

‘The Art of Medicine: Shakespeare and the out of body experience’, The Lancet (2023)

‘“Suffering Ecstasy”: Diagnosing Displacement in Othello’, Shakespeare Survey, vol. 75 (2022)

‘“Mark how he trembles in his ecstasy”: Space, Place, and Self in The Comedy of Errors’, Shakespeare Studies, vol. 28 (2020)

‘“Amorous pinches”: Keeping (in)tact in Antony and Cleopatra’, in Shakespeare/Sense: Contemporary Readings in Sensory Culture, ed. Simon Smith (Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2020)

‘Metaphorically Speaking: Shakespeare and the Limits of Utterance’, in Titus Andronicus: The State of Play, ed. Farah Karim-Cooper (Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2019)

‘Shakespeare’s Textual Bodies’, Discovering Shakespeare, British Library (2016) <>

Office Hours

Mondays and Fridays, 5-6. You can sign up for a slot here.


EN3D7 - Shakespeare: Text and Performance, Now and Then

EN22D8/EN3D8 - European Theatre