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Dr Alice Leonard

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

I am researching error in the seventeenth century and how it related to the development of the scientific method. I am interested in how new technology demanded accuracy and evidence which precipitated a different attitude towards error by natural philosophers. Thomas Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1646) is greatly concerned with error but also demonstrates careful attention to correction, in the revisions he made to subsequent editions and his 'correcting' readers. See the conference I organised on this here. This is the topic of my second monograph, which is in preparation, and is provisionally titled The Invention of Error and the Scientific Method, 1500-1800. I am also Co-editor on the Notebooks volume of The Complete Works of Thomas Browne (OUP)

My first monograph, entitled Shakespeare in Error: Error in Shakespeare, is in press with Palgrave Macmillan's Shakespeare Studies series (full manuscript submitted, in production stages). 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.

In September 2019 I will be a Short-Term Fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC. I previously held a Swiss National Science postdoctoral fellowship at the Houghton Library, Harvard University, and the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, and 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. I was the convener for 'Shakespeare: Text and Stage' at Warwick CLL and 'Error and Failure in Early Modern Culture' at the University of Neuchatel, and I have taught a variety of modules including 'Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of His Time' and 'Modes of Reading' at Warwick English Department, and 'Critical Issues in Law and Management' at Warwick Business School.

Research Interests:

Seventeenth century prose; metaphor; error; accident; print culture; history of the book; early modern language; experiment; history of the Royal Society

Selected Publications:

Error in Shakespeare: Shakespeare in Error, under contract, final manuscript submitted, in press (full manuscript submitted, publication under contract for September 2019), Palgrave Macmillan Shakespeare Studies Series

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 in Renaissance Drama, Vol. 47 Issue 7 2019

Book Chapter: 'Error in The Comedy of Errors', under contract in Oxford Companion to Printing and Misprinting (OUP), eds., Geri Della Rocca de Candal, Paolo Sachet and Anthony Grafton

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

Article: ‘“Enfranchised” Language in "The Dutch Courtesan" and "Henry V"’, Cahiers Élisabéthains, vol. 84, Autumn, 2013, pp. 1-13

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, pp. 44-61

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: 'Pleasure in Spenser's Vale of Error', Shakespeare Association of America Conference, Washington DC (US), April 2019

Paper: 'Thomas Browne's Errors', STVDIO seminar series, University of Warwick, April 2019

Invited speaker, University of Geneva, 'Colonial Travel Writing and the Rise of Prose Fiction in the Long Seventeenth Century', 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



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