Professor Adam Smyth
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.
I work on the intersection between literary and material forms, primarily (but not exclusively) in terms of texts from 16th- and 17th-century England. I have written three monographs – Material Texts in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press, 2018); Autobiography in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press, 2010); Profit and Delight: Printed Miscellanies in England, 1640-1682 (Wayne State University Press, 2004) – and I have edited or co-edited three collections: A History of English Autobiography (Cambridge University Press, 2016); Book Destruction from the Medieval to the Contemporary (Palgrave 2014, with Gill Partington); and A Pleasing Sinne: Drink and Conviviality in Seventeenth-Century England (Boydell and Brewer, 2004). I also co-edited, with Juliet Fleming and William Sherman, a special edition of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (2015) on ‘Renaissance Collage: Towards a New History of Reading’, exploring knives, scissors and glue as tools of reading. I am currently editing a collection of essays with Dennis Duncan entitled Book Parts, with chapters on the history of parts of a book (title-page, errata list, chapter heading, blurb, index, etc.). I’ve also published on Shakespeare and laughter; George Herbert and Little Gidding; authorship; William Strode; Ben Jonson’s creative practices; jokes; diaries; commonplace books; almanacs; reading practices; textual transmission; and satire. With Professor James Daybell, I am the co-editor of Routledge’s (formerly Ashgate’s) book series Material Readings in Early Modern Culture: the series currently has 19 titles.
I enjoy presenting my work both within the academy (in 2017-18, I will give talks at Yale, Johns Hopkins, Cambridge, Exeter, and UEA) and beyond: I write regularly for the Times Literary Supplement (for example, 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. With literary journalist James Kidd, I am the co-host of the literary podcast and radio show, Litbits, described by the Guardian as one of the best three literary podcasts.