Adam Smyth

A.C. Bradley-J.C. Maxwell Tutorial Fellow in English Literature 1350-1660, and University Lecturer in the History of the Book 1450-1650

  • Core subject area: English literature.
  • Teaching: Papers on English literature from 1350 to 1660; graduate teaching in early modern literature, including the history of the book 1450-1650.
  • Research interests: I work on the literature and culture of England in the 16th and 17th centuries, and in particular the intersection of the literary and the material, the archival and the canonical. My books include Autobiography in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press, 2010); Profit and Delight: Printed Miscellanies in England, 1640-1682 (Wayne State University Press, 2004); Book Destruction from the Medieval to the Contemporary (edited with Gill Partington, for Palgrave, 2014); and A Pleasing Sinne: Drink and Conviviality in Seventeenth-Century England (edited, Ashgate, 2004). I’ve also written recent chapters and articles on Shakespeare and laughter; George Herbert and Little Gidding; authorship; William Strode; Ben Jonson’s creative practices; early modern jokes; diaries; commonplace books; almanacs; reading practices; textual transmission; and satire. I’m currently editing A History of English Autobiography for Cambridge University Press, and a special edition of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies on ‘Renaissance Collage’, exploring knives, scissors and glue as tools of reading. My current book project examines the inventive materiality of early modern texts, and the remarkable things readers did to books in the name of reading (cutting, pasting, annotating, burning). I am the co-editor of Ashgate’s book series Material Readings in Early Modern Culture: we have published nine books in the last two years. I also enjoy discussing my work both inside and outside the academy: I write regularly for the Times Literary Supplement (for example, here and here) and the London Review of Books (for example, here, and on the LRB blog, here, and here), and have appeared on TV and radio in the UK and abroad (for example, here). I host a series of podcasts on work on the history of the book currently going on here at Oxford University: you can listen to this here.

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