Northern Centre for the History of Medicine and Medical Humanities

Jennifer Richards




BA Honours (University of London, 1987), PhD (Edinburgh, 1995)

(From 1988-1990 I taught English at the Univerity of Silesia, Gliwice, and the Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw.)


I was Head of School from 2007 until 2012. I serve on University Promotions Committee.

I am currently on research leave, 2013-2015 (Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship).

External Roles

Editor of Renaissance Studies, and a member of Council for the Society of Renaissance Studies (2012-2017). 

Member of the AHRC Advisory Board (2012-2015)

Chair of AHRC Strategic Theme Advisory Group, 'Care for the Future'.

Chair of the AHRC's Research Careers and Training Advisory Group (RCTAG) 

Chair of English Association Higher Education Committee (2015-18).

I am external examiner for English Literature at Oxford University.


I have broad interests in early modern culture and literature, including the works of Spenser, Shakespeare and Milton, but I specialise on the writers of the mid to late sixteenth century. I work across several fields: the history of ideas (and political thought), the history of reading, the history of rhetoric and the medical humanities.

Current Projects

I am writing a new monograph, 'Shared Reading in the English Renaissance'. This book has two aims: first, to explore the evidence we might use to recover the history of reading aloud; second, to explore how this evidence affects the histories we tell about Renaissance books and their readers/hearers and also how we  might read and interpret Renaissance texts. Topics I am researching include: the 'sound' of print; the role of the voice in humanist education; the lost faculty of rhetoric, pronuntiatio; emotions and political reading; the relationship of prose to drama (especially for Thomas Nashe). This project is supported by a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship (2013-15). With Professor Richard Wistreich, Royal College of Music, London, I am leading an AHRC-funded Research Network 'Voices and Books in Early Modern England, 1500-1800' (2014-2015).

The Voices and Books Network is hosting a Conference in Newcastle July 16th-18th 2015.

I am an associate editor of the Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities (Edinburgh University Press) with Sarah Atkinson and Jane Macnaughton of the Centre for Medical Humanities at the University of Durham. The general editors are Anne Whitehead (Newcastle) and Angela Woods (Durham).

With Joe Black (Massachusetts), Andrew Hadfield (Sussex) and Cathy Shrank (Sheffield) I will be editing 'A New Critical Edition of the Complete Works of Thomas Nashe' in 6 volumes for Oxford University Press. We start this project in September 2015.  Listen to the podcasts of a recent Tudor Editing Workshop hosted at Newcastle University. For updates on The Thomas Nashe Project please visit our website.

Postgraduate Supervision

I welcome research proposals from students interested in any aspect of early modern reading and writing.

Current postgraduate students include:  (with Cathrine Degnan, GPS) Jane Nolan, (with Kate Chedgzoy) Thongrob Ruenbanthoeng; with (Mike Pincombe) Zhen Gong.

My past PhD students include: Peter Adegbie; Grace Jones (AHRC); Jessica Jung (AHRC); Robin Kirschbaum; Lorraine McNeill, Fahimeh Naseri. 

Esteem Indicators

Editor of 'Renaissance Studies', 2012-2017

Council Member, Renaissance Society, 2012-2017

Member of the AHRC Advisory Board, 2012-2015.

Chair of the AHRC Advisory Group for the 'Care for the Future' strategic theme.

Member of the Review Group for the Subject Benchmark Statement for English (2014)

Member of English Association Higher Education Committee (2013-16).

I am a Fellow of the English Association. I was a CRASSH Fellow, University of Cambridge, 2006


I spoke about 'Rhetoric' and John Hart, the Tudor spelling reformer on Fry's English Delight, Radio 4 (August 26th 2013 and September 2nd 2013). I was interviewed by Elizabeth Day for her article on 'Storytelling: how reading aloud is back in fashion', which was published in the Observer, 6th January, 2013. 

I chaired Michael Rosen at the London School of Economics Literary Festival in March 2014.


AHRC Research Network (2014-15) 'Voices and Books in Early Modern England, 1500-1800'. 

Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2013-15) for 'Useful Books: Reading and Talking in the English Renaissance'.

British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant (2012-13) for 21st-Century Oxford Authors: Thomas Nashe.

WellcomeTrust Small Research Grant (2012-13), for a research project on the reading aloud of Thomas Raynalde's The Woman's Book (1545).

Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2009) for 'Diet, Dialogue and the Early Modern Body Politic'.

British Academy Small Research Grant (2007) for 'Reading the Medical Regimens'.


  • Richards J, Wistreich R. The Anatomy of the Renaissance Voice. In: Anne Whitehead; Angela Woods; Sarah Atkinson; Jane Macnaughton; Jennifer Richards, ed. Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities. 2016. In Preparation.
  • Whitehead A, Woods A, Atkinson S, Macnaughton J, Richards J, ed. Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016. In Preparation.
  • Richards J. Reading and Listening to William Baldwin. In: Archer, H;Hadfield, A, ed. Reading and History in A Mirror for Magistrates. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. In Preparation.
  • Richards J. Equipment for Thinking: or why Kenneth Burke is still worth reading. Studies in Philosophy and Education 2015. In Press.
  • Richards J. Reading and Hearing The Woman's Book in Early Modern England. Bulletin of the History of Medicine 2014. In Press.
  • Richards J. Health, Intoxication and Civil Conversation in Renaissance England. Past and Present 2014, 222(Supp.9), 168-186.
  • Richards J. Diagnosing the Body Politic: Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part Two. In: R. Falconer, D. Renevey, ed. Literature, Science and Medicine in the Early Modern Period. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 2013, pp.145-165. In Press.
  • Richards J. Useful Books: Reading Vernacular Regimens in Sixteenth-Century England. Journal of the History of Ideas 2012, 73(2), 247-271.
  • Richards J. Commonplacing and prose writing: William Baldwin and Robert Burton. In: Hadfield, A, ed. The Oxford Handbook of English Prose. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. In Press.
  • Stewart A, Sullivan G, Lemon R, McDowell N, Richards J, ed. Encyclopedia of English Renaissance Literature. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.
  • Richards J. Rhetoric. In: Kewes, P., Archer, I.W., Heal, F, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Holinshed's Chronicles. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, pp.285-301.
  • Richards J. Male Friendship and Counsel in Richard Edwards’ Damon and Pythias. In: Betteridge, T., Walker, G, ed. The Oxford Handbook to Tudor Drama. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, pp.293-308.
  • Early Modern Research Group. Commonwealth: the Social, Cultural, and Conceptual Contexts of an Early Modern Keyword. Historical Journal 2011, 54(3), 659-687.
  • Richards J, Schurink F. Introduction: The Textuality and Materiality of Reading in Early Modern England. Huntington Library Quarterly 2010, 73(3), 345-361.
  • Richards J, Schurink F, ed. The Textuality of Reading in Early Modern England. California, USA: University of California Press: Huntington Library Quarterly, 2010.
  • Richards J. Gabriel Harvey's Choleric Writing. In: Pincombe M; Shrank C, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, pp.655-670.
  • Richards J. Shakespeare and the politics of co-authorship: Henry VIII. In: Armitage, D., Condren, C., Fitzmaurice, A, ed. Shakespeare and Early Modern Political Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp.176-194.
  • Richards J. Transforming 'A Mirror for Magistrates'. In: Healy M; Healy T, ed. Renaissance Transformations: The Making of English Writing, 1500-1650. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.
  • Richards J. Gabriel Harvey, James VI, and the Politics of Reading Early Modern Poetry. Huntington Library Quarterly 2008, 71(2), 303-321.
  • Richards J. Rhetoric. London: Routledge, 2007.
  • Richards J, Thorne A, ed. Rhetoric, women and politics in early modern England. London: Routledge, 2007.
  • Richards J. Part I: Beginnings - 1. Classical and Early Modern Ideas of Memory. In: Rossington M; Whitehead A, ed. Theories of Memory: A Reader. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006, pp.19-67.
  • Richards J. Roger Ascham. In: Kastan DS, ed. Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • Richards J. Eating Honestly: Fashioning a Temperate Self. In: Anglistentag 2005. 2005, Bamberg, Germany: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier.
  • Richards J, ed. Early Modern Civil Discourses. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
  • Richards J, ed. Elizabeth Singer (Rowe). Aldershot, Hants: Ashgate, 2003.
  • Rhodes N, Richards J, Marshall J, ed. King James VI and I: Selected Writings. Aldershot, Hants: Ashgate, 2003.
  • Richards J. Rhetoric and Courtliness in Early Modern Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  • Richards J. Assumed simplicity and the critique of nobility: Or, how Castiglione read Cicero. Renaissance Quarterly 2001, 54(2), 460-486.
  • Richards J. "A wanton trade of living"? - Rhetoric, effeminacy, and the early modern courtier. Criticism 2000, 42(2), 185-206.
  • Richards J, Knowles J, ed. Shakespeare's Late Plays: New Readings. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999.
  • Richards J. Social Decorum in The Winter's Tale. In: Richards JT; Knowles J, ed. Shakespeare's Late Plays: New Readings. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999, pp.75-91.
  • Richards J. Philip Sidney, Mary Sidney and Protestant Poetics. In: Protestant Men, Protestant Women: The Sidneys in Renaissance Society. 1996, University of Dundee: Sidney Journal: Sidney Society.
  • Richards J. Anna Weamys's A Continuation of Sir Philip Sydney's 'Arcadia'. Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies 1995, 12(2), 20-24.
  • Richards J. The Art of Being Persuaded: Effeminacy and Rhetoric in Philip Sidney's Writing. Sidney Journal 1995, 13(2), 3-12.


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