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Dr. Alice Leonard

I am a Marie Curie Cofund Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study and the Department for English and Comparative Literary Studies.

I am currently on 12 months' research leave funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (FNS). From 1 December - 1 June 2019 I am a Visiting Member of the Faculty of English, University of Oxford and a member of Oriel College's SCR. Email:

My current research focuses on Richard Hakluyt's The Principal Navigations (1598-1600), one of the most important works of English travel literature ever published. I aim to situate The Principal Navigations in the formation of global systems, such as trade, mobility and colonialism. Hakluyt founded a form of colonial travel discourse which finds its way into the writing of the following century, specifically seventeenth-century prose fiction.

My monograph, entitled Shakespeare in Error: Error in Shakespeare, is in press with Palgrave Macmillan's Shakespeare Studies series (May 2019). Its central work is to re-value error not just in the material text but as a way of interpreting Shakespeare’s literary style as heavily digressive and figurative, reconnecting error to its earlier meaning not just of mistake but wandering. It examines the different aspects of error to be found within Shakespeare's drama, including the politics of attributing error to particular social groups such as women and foreigners, and the editorial history of the treatment of error in the texts of Shakespeare.

I am also interested in error in seventeenth-century literature, specifically Thomas Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1646) (Common Errors). I am organising a conference on this topic, see here.

I previously held the position of Postdoctoral Fellow in Early Modern English Literature at the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland. I hold a joint PhD in English Literature from the University of Warwick and the University of Neuchatel (awarded 2015). I have taught in the English Department since 2011, on modules such as 'Modes of Reading' and 'Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of His Time'. I convened 'Shakespeare: Text and Stage' at Warwick Centre for Lifelong Learning and 'Error and Failure in Early Modern Culture' at the University of the Neuchatel.

Research Interests:

Seventeenth-century prose; Hakluyt; colonial rhetoric; trade; metaphor; error; accident; scientific error and correction; print culture; history of the book; early modern language; Shakespeare; metaphor

Selected Publications:


Error in Shakespeare: Shakespeare in Error, under contract and final manuscript under review (May 2019) Palgrave Macmillan Shakespeare Studies Series

Articles/Book Chapters:

Article: 'To Nell and Back: Revisiting Mistress Quickly', collaborative research paper, co-authors: Rosemary Gaby (University of Tasmania, Australia), James Mardock (University of Nevada, Reno), Helen Ostovich (McMaster University, Canada) and Alice Leonard, forthcoming with Renaissance Drama

Book Chapter: 'Error in The Comedy of Errors', under review in OUP edited collection, Printing and Misprinting: Typographical Mistakes and Publishers’ Corrections (1450-1600), eds., Geri Della Rocca de Candal, Paolo Sachet and Anthony Grafton

Article: ‘“Enfranchised” Language in "The Dutch Courtesan" and "Henry V"’, Cahiers Élisabéthains, vol. 84, Autumn 2013

Article: ‘“Enfranchised” Language in Mulcaster's "Elementarie" and Shakespeare's "Henry V"’, Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses, University of Alicante, January 2013

Article: Co-authored with Dr. Johann Gregory, ‘Assuming Gender in "Hamlet" and "Troilus and Cressida": “Are we to assume that there were women in the audience?”’, in Assuming Gender, vol. 1, 2, 2010


Peer-reviewer for Harvard Library Bulletin, Houghton Library, Harvard University

Guest blog: 'Shakespeare's Mother Tongue' Beyond Shakespeare blog, Folger Shakespeare Library, September 2017

Review article: ‘How Can a Book Tell Its Own Story?’, response to Emma Smith, Shakespeare's First Folio (OUP, 2016) Cambridge Quarterly, vol. 46, issue 2

Founder of blog of Shakespeare and early modern academic and public activities in Switzerland, Swisspeare 2015-2017

Routledge Annotated Bibliography of English Studies (ABES) permanent reviewer of books and articles on Renaissance and early modern literature, 2010-13

Selected Conference Papers:

Paper: 'Richard Hakluyt and the Rhetoric of Colonialism', Global History and Culture Centre Seminar Series, University of Warwick, January 2018

Invited speaker, University of Geneva, 'Colonial Travel Writing and the Rise of Prose Fiction in the Long Seventeenth Century', Early Modern and Medieval Seminar Series, December 2016

Paper: 'Mists of Error: A Reformation Image', Conference at the University of Zurich, 'What is an Image?', September 2016

Paper: ‘Metaphor: Failure or Poetry in Midsummer Night’s Dream?’, Renaissance Society of America Conference, Boston (US), March 2016

Invited speaker, 'Metaphor in Shakespeare', Queen's University, Canada, Satellite Campus Herstmonceux Castle, UK, January 2016

Paper: ‘Error in The Comedy of Errors’ at the Shakespeare Association of America Conference, Vancouver, Canada, April 2015

Panel Convener and paper at ‘Economies of English’ Conference at the University of Geneva. Paper entitled ‘The Economy of Foreignness’. Panel included Professor Lukas Erne (Geneva), April 2015

Paper: ‘Shakespeare’s Error’, at ‘Wrong Shakespeare’ seminar at the Shakespeare Association of America Conference, Toronto, Canada, April 2013